Journalism’s “Raw Data” Future


ReadWriteWeb published an interesting article written by Zach Beauvais with Talis and editor of Nodalities Magazine on how data is increasingly key to journalism as we proceed further into the 21st century. He differentiates data from facts by pointing out that, even though data are facts, data “can be computed, analyzed, and made use of in a more abstract way, especially by a computer.” Data-driven reporting, Beauvais writes, will increasingly become second nature to reporters.

He points to the raw data evangelism of Tim Berners-Lee and links to his TED talk and interviews where he advocates for the importance of governments and institutions putting their data online. I blogged about Tim’s “raw data” gospel back in May. “Data-driven journalism could be the first step,” Beauvais wrote. “The best stories would then come from innovators who read about trends reported in news media and are then able to draw new conclusions and solve bigger problems.” Going for the low-hanging fruit, so to speak.

As Tim had them chanting at the end of the TED talk, “Raw data now!”

Sunlight couldn’t agree more.