Journalism in the age of data

Here’s a great clip to spend 50 minutes watching over the weekend, particularly if you teach media studies, journalism or English – titled Journalism in the Age of Data from Geoff Mcghee on Vimeo. (I can’t get the embed code to work in my blog at present, so you’ll  have to link to it :-))

This clip explains and illustrates so clearly why we need to be thinking a lot more about the visualisation of data in our school curriculum. As one of the commentators says, “the best way to learn about visualisations is to make them“m and… “making visualisations should be more like art or writing” (as opposed to being the domain primarily of computer ‘geeks’ which it seems to be currently).

They point to the Many Eyes project, a free site where you can upload data and turn it into a visualisation to help engage with it and understand it more. They also point to the ED Data Express web site that was launched recently, making a huge amount of data currently held by the US government available for people to download and manipulate as they will, including creating visualisations. The creators of the site say it is designed to improve the public’s ability to access and explore high-value state-level education data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. This site is designed to be interactive and to present the data in a clear, easy-to-use manner, with options to download information into Excel or manipulate the data within the Web site.

As the title of the talk suggests, there is quite a lot said here about the impact of data visualisation on journalism, and the various speakers provide some useful illustrations of where things are heading.

I’d be interested to hear from any teachers doing this with students, and to see examples of what is being produced.

One thought on “Journalism in the age of data

  1. Graphicacy is a key aspect of ‘functional literacy’ and UNESCO tried hard in the 1980s to alert the world to the growing need for that skill in an increasingly visual world.

    It’s one thing to see a graphic but quite another to interpret and employ the information. Bloom’s Taxonomy is relevant here.

    A posting on my blog may help to emphasise how important this is:

    “Although there are other backbenchers with scientific backgrounds, Dr Huppert is the sole MP to have practised past PhD level, specialising most recently on DNA structures.

    He said it was a real concern that the Commons – which is full of career politicians, lawyers and economists – lacked scientific expertise. Dr Huppert, a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, argued that all MPs should be obliged to take a short science training course, covering areas such as how research is conducted, numeracy and the use of statistics.” The Independent

    More here

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