Data-driven journalism tools were in the focus of the third workshop organized by the Center for Independent Journalism for journalists and media students on 25 January 2017 in Budapest. The hands-on event was led by Attila Bátorfy, journalist of Átlátszó.hu and founder of the Hungarian data blog Databánya.
Media consuming habits have definitely changed. People read shorter texts. How to introduce complicated information in the text and how to find stories that can be told without too much explanation? Data-driven journalism and visualisation tools offer good solutions for reporters.
The unprecedented availability of and access to the data today could seem overwhelming at first sight, but they provide huge opportunities for journalists. These data, cleaned, organised and interpreted carefully can lead to fascinating stories that every journalists would want to write. During the first part of the workshop, the basics of data-driven journalism was discussed with a special emphasis on the frequent mistakes. For instance, data can be manipulative and misleading, therefore all information has to be double-checked and verified. At the same time, it is also considered a common mistake when one starts cherry-picking and narrowing the data in order to confirm his/her hypothesis. It is important to be aware of these risks and find the most objective way of analyzing data.
In the second part of the one-day workshop, participants learned how to compile databases that can easily be edited and converted into an Excel table by using PDF Tables, Import.io and Tabula applications. After these steps the data visualisation can be started. For this step Attila Bátorfy presented Tableau and CartoDB. While Tableau helps create spectacular and interactive infographics, CartoDB is a tool for mapping data and visualize spatial information.
More photos about the workshop (by Eszter Kiss):