By Ayuba John Ramadan
Journalism has been known over the years as the activity of gathering, assessing, creating and presenting news and information. The profession is distinguished from other activities and products by certain identifiable characteristics and practices. The appropriate role of journalism
varies from country to country, as do perceptions of the profession, and the resulting status.
In some nations, the news media are controlled by government and are not independent. In others, news media are independent of the government and operate as private industry. Countries may have differing implementations of laws handling the freedom of speech, freedom of the press as well as slander and libel cases. The proliferation of the internet and smartphones has brought
significant changes to the media landscape since the turn of the 21st century.
This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through readers, smartphones, and other personal electronic devices, as opposed to the more traditional formats of newspapers, magazines, or television news channels.
Amidst the emerging challenges inherent in the practice of journalism, a new trend of journalism has emerged, popularly known as data journalism. The phenomenon of data journalism has
received attention over the years as an innovation in journalism practice. This is because journalism is now seeing a quantitative turn where journalists are expected to integrate and interpret big data to tell a story- thus the increased incorporation of data-driven journalism.
Data journalism is defined as a journalism practice that employs datasets, computational tools, and
algorithms to compose news stories. Some studies have examined this phenomenon and have concluded that data journalism is a special form of journalism that is different from the traditional form of journalism practice.
These data-driven news stories make use of texts and audio-visuals as well as data visualizations. The concept of data driven journalism is still new in most parts of the world today, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. Data journalism is a new set of skills for searching, understanding and visualizing digital sources in a time that basic skills from traditional journalism just aren’t enough. It’s not a replacement of traditional journalism, but an
addition to it.
From the standpoint of a national or regional newspaper, data journalism is crucial. There is a saying that ‘a loose tile in front of your door is considered more important than a riot in a far-away
country’. A journalist must know how to find, analyse and visualize a story from data.
Today, news stories are flowing in as they happen, from multiple sources, eye-witnesses, blogs and what
has happened is filtered through a vast network of social connections, being ranked, commented and more often than not; ignored. This is why data journalism is important. Gathering, filtering
and visualizing what is happening beyond what the eye can see has a growing value.
In today’s global economy, there a visible invisible connections between these products, other people and
you. The language of today’s journalism is data. Little points of information that are often not relevant in a single instance, but massively important when viewed from the right angle.
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