Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Is it Data Journalism Or Fancy Infographics? Progress Isn't Fast Enough

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 2, 2013

Art market2

On Monday Note, Frederic Filloux,  French media watcher has a nice roundup of examples of "data journalism" and his headline says it is "improving – fast."

Here is an award-winning example (graphic is above):

The French site Quoi? explored aspects of the art market. In its Art Market for Dummies (available both in French and in English), Quoi? explains who are the most bankable artists (since 2008, it’s Picasso, Warhol, Zhang Da Qian); it also shows why it is a terribly dead-male-dominated business; and it illustrates the rise of Chinese artists. It’s both entertaining and information-rich.

There more examples here: Data Journalism is improving — fast | Monday Note

Is it data journalism or as former SF Chronicle business writer Tom Abate called it recently, a fancy infographic? It might look good but it's just illustrating a single story.  

Data journalism is much more than a cool, interactive graphic -- or at least it should be. We can say that data journalism has made great improvements when it can create stories on the fly, according to solid journalistic principles, when it can help do some of the work that journalists do and help publishers make money. 

One-off stories such as these examples involve a lot of human labor, way more than writing a story. The information conveyed is excellent but what does that do towards developing a sustainable business model for quality journalism? If data journalism can get us to that point then we can say it has made great progress but it's not improving fast enough. At least not in the hands of traditional media. 

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