KDnuggets : News : 2007 : n22 : item37 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


What Will Journalist-Programmers Do?

For Northwestern's Readership Institute blog, I wrote last week about the growing number of data-driven applications being published on on news Web sites. I used the Indianapolis Star's Data Central as a case study. It's worth pointing out, though, that the paper was able to publish most of these databases without involving professional programmers. This reflects one of the driving trends in technology: the development of tools that enable data-driven publishing with modest levels of technical skills.

If the tools are getting easier for non-programmers to use, what would a person with both journalism and programming skills do at a news organization?

Level 1: Data delivery. Here a news organization obtains data and makes it available in a browsable form. ...

Level 2: Data search. ...

Level 3: Data exploration. Compare the search results page for a typical searchable database like Cincinnati home sales prices to the browse options on Adrian Holovaty's chicagocrime.org. ...

Level 4: Data visualization. Rows and columns are often not the best way to present data. For many databases, the most valuable thing a news organization can do is provide a way for people to visualize what the data show. The most obvious approaches involve mapping, at least for databases that have a geographic element. ...

Level 5: Data experiences and storytelling. When a news organization can effectively marry traditional reporting and storytelling with database development capabilities, truly new forms of journalism can emerge.

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KDnuggets : News : 2007 : n22 : item37 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

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