Is Data Journalism Supposed to Be Accurate?

Data journalism is a relatively new subject in the world of journalism. According to Appelgren and Nygren, data journalism is about stories that “are usually based on large data sets that often consist of public data or data collected with the aid of the general public.”

However, I often question whether data journalism can actually represent the actual situation that we have in real life?

Compared to traditional journalism, data journalism has certainly provided an alternative narration for news such as election news. In an article by Solop and Wonders¬†, they examine how both modes of journalism present each of their own narratives in the case of 2012’s Presidential Election in the USA. They found that traditional journalists had inconsistent data where Obama’s lead over Romney was very slim and some media even reported that Romney would win, and it was the result of different ideologies and perspectives driven by pundits. On the other hand, data journalists constructed a narrative that Obama was consistently leading and it came to no surprise that he eventually did win.

However, in another case, data journalism might not be as accurate as it might seem. A good example is the recent gubernatorial election in Jakarta, Indonesia. In this article, it is discussed that the then incumbent governor would probably lose in the first round of the election.

jakarta-gubernatorial-election-2017-who-will-be-eliminated-by-igor-dirgantara-2
source: http://www.eurasiareview.com

However, the result turned out that Ahok, as the incumbent governor, won the first round of the election as specified in this article.

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Jakarta¬†election’s first round result. Source: tirto.id

 

The different outcome could be a result of various factors, including the change of voters’ decision in the last minute. However, with two different results in two different countries, I can safely argue that we should not always take data journalism at face value. With that being said, I can also vouch for data journalism as a source of legitimate news because it presents more integrity than the politically driven traditional journalism. However

With that being said, I can also vouch for data journalism as a source of legitimate news because it presents more integrity than the politically driven traditional journalism. However, data journalists should also fully disclose their source of data in order to be trusted by the audiences.