Oswego Journalism Seniors 2012
The AP Stylebook is so 2011

A new Journalism handbook has just been unveiled at the 2012 International Journalism Festival in Perugia and is expected to become a vital asset in the newsroom.  The Data Journalism Handbook will allow journalists an extensive look into what data journalism is and how to use data journalism in stories. 

The book will aid reporters in the transition from traditional reporting to online journalism, where the demand for new information is always high.  Data journalism is the ability to look further into a story to see what all the numbers and figures mean.  There is a deeper connection that can be made within the story using data. 

The Handbook explains exactly why data journalism is going to become crucial for reporters in the digital age.  “Using data the job of journalists shifts its main focus from being the first ones to report to being the ones telling us what a certain development might actually mean. The range of topics can be far and wide. The next financial crisis that is in the making. The economics behind the products we use. The misuse of funds or political blunders, presented in a compelling data visualization that leaves little room to argue with it.”

The Handbook is accessible online and is broken up into seven different subtopics.  They are the front matter, introduction, in the newsroom, case studies, getting data, understanding data, and delivering data.  Each section has its own set of subtopics as well. 

The project initially launched in the fall of 2011 at Mozilla’s Festival at a workshop.  Since its launch, hundreds of data journalists have added to the book and it was edited by Jonathon Gray, Liliana Bounegru and Lucy Chambers. 

The introduction offers an article on why Data Journalism is important.  The article includes quotes from leading data journalists on why the field is so important.  Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times believes that data journalism is an umbrella term for a completely new set of ideals within the profession, “It can include everything from traditional computer-assisted reporting (using data as a ‘source’) to the most cutting edge data visualization and news applications. The unifying goal is a journalistic one: providing information and analysis to help inform us all about important issues of the day.”

-Katherine Farrell