What does a Data journalist do?
A data journalist collects statistics, reports, and data. He concludes and writes interesting articles based on these findings. Such materials are always accompanied by visual confirmation of facts – infographics: numbers, graphs, diagrams, etc. A data journalist translates difficult information into simple language and explains it in a simple way.
Data journalists write exciting materials, widespread on different blogs, and widely discussed on the web. They know how to find and process big data and transform it into valuable articles that are in great demand among employers.
A data journalist prepares materials based on various statistical data. Unlike scientific articles and reports, their publications are less formal. It can be business analytics in a relatively traditional style and entertaining infographics. In any case, the conclusions of the author, confirmed by statistical data, acquire much more weight in the reader’s eyes.
One of the main problems that a data journalist must solve is how to make their material easy to understand. There are different ways to present a large amount of data compactly and visually through infographics, animations, etc.
However, to deal with any data, you first need to collect them. Depending on the situation, a data journalist can refer to other people’s research – reports, scientific articles, publications, analytical materials, etc., or carry out research independently, analyzing publicly available data using special software.
Data journalist: advantages and disadvantages
- access to hidden sources of information;
- the ability to investigate and broadcast it to the general public;
- easy to get feedback;
- meetings and interviews with interesting people;
- you can work remotely.
- barriers while accessing reports and statistics;
- often irregular schedule;
- traveling and business trips;
- high-stress levels;
- difficulties in finding a job.
Skills required for a data journalist
The skills of a data journalist can be divided into analytical and journalistic. Anything that helps to collect and process large amounts of data belongs to analytical skills.
- ability to find the data you need in open sources and databases;
- ability to request non-public data from their owners;
- ability to apply analysis techniques for different types of data;
- ability to own data processing programs – Google Data Studio, Power BI, Tableau, etc.;
- ability to visualize data – through programs such as BM ManyEyes, Plotly, Infogram, etc.;
- ability to identify the problem and topic of the article based on the data.
By journalistic skills, we mean anything that helps you write exciting stories directly.
- ability to develop the topic and hypothesis of the article;
- ability to monitor sources of information;
- ability to check the accuracy of facts;
- ability to find an approach to interlocutors and experts;
- ability to be in the loop of current events;
- ability to speak foreign languages is an advantage;
- ability to know the provisions of the law on the media.
Personal characteristics of a data journalist
Journalism is suitable for attentive and meticulous people who are ready to spend hours and days collecting reports to confirm their hypotheses.
Consider other qualities of a data journalist that will help while working:
- perseverance: data analysis can take a lot of time, and everything depends on your experience;
- persistence: not all specialists have a big desire to share their information with other people, be proactive;
- discipline: journalists need to follow the rules of the editorial policy;
- analytical mind: to analyze data;
- creativity: to visualize data in clear and fashionable infographics.
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