Why data journalism is the future

In my last post I asked why data journalism wasn’t more popular. After all, the tools to do it are already there, and people are already using them for journalistic purposes.

But although it might not be universally loved at the moment, I think data journalism has a huge future. Here are just some of the reasons why.

New possibilities

With new technology come new potential stories. Particularly with more and more government data being released, if you can’t use Excel you’ll miss out on the stories. Although there will always be journalists who are content to just take the easy option, there will also always be journalists who do care and want to get new stories out.

Always changing

Are you bored of the daily phonecall routine? Of fruitlessly using your best patter while out chatting to the local shopkeepers? Well, this is something new. And once you’re bored of the data tools that are currently on offer there’ll be more that right now you can’t even imagine. The potential for using computers for journalism has barely begun to be unlocked.

Others will do it – you want to be first!

If there’s one thing that annoys hacks more than having to learn a new trick, it’s being beaten to a story by a rival hack. But if there’s one thing they hate more than *that*, it’s surely being beaten to a story by some spotty blogger in Chelmsford. Some ‘amateur’. Someone whose day job is in telesales. Professional rivalry and simple pride could yet be what turns veteran journalists on to this new world of reporting.

New generation

While it might take time for old hands – and even some new ones – to get used to data journalism, it won’t be long before every up-and-coming trainee reporter has some experience of using data. It’ll become a greater part of postgraduate journalism courses, and won’t just be hidden away in an isolated module. As they start to take the places of retiring hacks, data journalism will just seem like a natural part of life as a reporter.

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