How to write less and still tell the same amount of information? How to find stories in a huge database? How to make an article more exciting and more compelling? Such questions were discussed during the workshops held on 23 and 29 November 2016 at the Center for Independent Journalism.
Attila Bátorfy, journalist of Átlátszó.hu and founder of the Hungarian data blog Databánya introduced the workshops by emphasising that data journalism was not a new invention. Maps, which served as the basis of governing decisions, were already made in the 19th century, for example, about the expansion of certain diseases. However, due to the unprecedented availability of and access to the data today, the popularity of data-driven journalism increased significantly in the last few years and its tools have become more diverse.
During the workshops it was discussed in detail which tools are to be used for certain data types and how to avoid frequent mistakes when visualizing the data of a story. 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 a common mistake that one starts cherry-picking and narrowing the data in order to confirm his/her hypothesis. Furthermore, it is a misbelief that data visualisation saves time, money or energy. Exactly the opposite, it is a time-consuming method, but the result is more spectacular, as well.
Beside the concept of data journalism, the practice of data visualisation was included in agenda at the workshops. Participants learned the basic steps of how to use different data converting and data visualisation applications, such as PDF Tables, Import.io, Tabula, Tableau and CartoDB. By using these programmes the participants created graphs, diagrams and pictures and they learned how to visualize spatial information on a map. Moreover, some prominent and award-winning data visualisation projects were described.
More photos about the events (by Eszter Kiss):