DATA JOURNALISM; the essential tool

Now a common fabric of journalism, Data Journalism (DJ), like all aspects in the realm of journalism practice, has to continuously adapt and keep up with the maturing digital market. This creates challenges for those invested in DJ but also excitement as it means innovation and creativity, ensuring journalism will continue to progress and adapt to its digital environment.

The creation of ‘Global Editors Network’, where ‘data journalists, editors and their teams’ come together, ensures exchanges of ‘best practice and new models’ will be shared internationally as well as challenges shared to overcome.

DJ requires updated ‘digital literacy’ by both the journalist and their audiences. Growing these skills can take time, and with digital media and technology changing rapidly, there is a greater need for us as students to be aware of these changes.

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An additional challenge is the reluctance that exists by journalists to invest financially into DJ, carrying out journalistic practice that truly enters into the more deep-rooted issues of inequalities in their countries, especially those in developing countries. The counter argument though is that there are journalists who are transforming traditional journalism, and embracing DJ to uncover ‘corruption and mismanagement hidden just below the surface and citizens are hungry for accountability’.

Data journalism provides transparency to its citizens. Just recently, Ben Wellington, a ‘quantitative analyst’ revealed that the NYPD had been issuing parking fines to cars that were legally parked. His investigative analysis brought up several other issues, including questions of ‘open data’ but also demonstrated the power that is held by a data-driven investigative journalist and what difference they can make to citizens along with consumers purchasing decisions.

 

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TO INNOVATE; NETWORK.

Innovations don’t happen in isolation. This week I’ve found that social networks are vital to new product development. Organisations must understand the various aspects and or benefits different networks can provide and where they can receive this leverage. Otherwise they’re doomed.

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We know that consumers have twenty-four hour access to their phones, in addition, the Internet and social media. This access allows consumers to easily share information and or opinions to their networks. Market research has found that there are consumers who may be ‘lead users’ as well as ‘crowdsourcing’ groups that are beneficial as their inputs and involvement create greater product prosperity in the development stage. An example of this is Nokia’s Open Innovation Challenge, an international platform that is supported by consumer-generated feedback and comments, on product requests, queries and or suggestions.

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A lead-user would be a person that has a certain level of expertise in the specific area whom I would be more likely to trust and or take opinions from. A lead-user, would have high betweenness centrality to the organisation. Meaning that their level of influence is high and their impact can have both positive or negative effects as they may ‘obstruct, meditate or facilitate knowledge flows from one actor to another’

Lead-users also act as a leverage for organisations, as they indicate and suggest ways that could help them during their product development. Listening and focusing on what they want in a product, could be the very thing that leads the organisation to identify and spark an idea of a new product For example, if lead-users on their blogs, are discussing the benefits of a phone but then state how another brand has a great feature, the company can take this as a lead, and if there is further confirmation and demands for this development, the company can take this feedback and implement changes.

Leads are leading the way, marketers must make sure, they are following that lead.