The Long History of Data Journalism (1907-2011) <ul><li>C.W. Anderson  </li></ul><ul><li>College of Staten Island (CUNY) <...
“ What reporters  know  and don’t  report  is still  news – not from the newspaper point of view, but from the sociologist...
How Are Practices of Empirical Social Research Changing in the Digital Era? <ul><li>Journalism as an “odd form” of empiric...
Three “Generations” of Journalism <ul><li>Media and the Survey Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Precision Journalism  </li></ul>...
What Was the Pittsburgh Survey? <ul><li>A pioneering social-science study of urban conditions in Pittsburgh (1907-1908). <...
An Uneasy Hybrid <ul><li>“ From the perspective of almost a century, it is possible to see the Pittsburgh Survey as an ama...
Relation to Earlier and Later Sociology? <ul><li>Survey was part of sociology’s roots in social reform.  </li></ul><ul><li...
Relation to Earlier and Later Sociology? <ul><li>Story told is usually an institutional history (ex: Turner 1996).  </li><...
Professionalization (1920’s) <ul><li>Sociology </li></ul><ul><li>Social Work </li></ul><ul><li>Policy and Planning </li></...
From the perspective of institutional history, then, the overlapping relationship between journalism, sociology, and refor...
Beyond Institutional History: Empirical Technique and Objects of Evidence <ul><li>Survey’s relation to journalism? </li></...
Fifty Years Later … <ul><li>Philip Myer and the rise of “computer assisted reporting.”  </li></ul><ul><li>Precision Journa...
Beyond CAR: Big Data and “Algorithmic” Journalism <ul><li>Algorithms: A predetermined set of instructions for solving a sp...
Research (Historical) <ul><li>Methodological discourse around empirical techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison: Park and ...
Research (Social Science) <ul><li>An institutional analysis of the Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) community  </li></ul>...
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The Long History of Data Journalism (1907-2011)

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“What reporters know and don’t report is news– not from the newspaper point of view, but from the sociologists and novelists.” (Lincoln Steffens, 1931)

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  • What does this mean? Knowing versus reporting
  • My previous research leads to a focus on the info gathering aspects of journalism Professional jurisdiction in reporting So how is reporting changed (but also, how has it changed)? Comparative study of empirical social research over history, with a central focus on journalism
  • Primary focus in this talk on the oldest of the three, the “Pittsburgh Survey,” but including some thoughts on other things in order to flesh out full scope of the project.
  • Paul U Kellogg Requested by the community itself Research based in volunteer labor “Gather all evidence”
  • Outrage and publicity (Muckraking) Normal Sociology (extensive data-gathering) (Policy): data + outrage = improved policy
  • How does the Pittsburgh survey relate to what sociology became?
  • General consensus: not muc
  • Solved the conflict? (so the story goes): each discipline found its different (1) domain of expertise, (2) it’s client base (3) and secured a credentialing position within the new university system during the period of “high professionalization in the 1920’s
  • Need to go beyond the institutional history to uncover the history of the empirical techniques that justified the institutions.
  • How being used in journalism: (1) distributing news and (2) analyzing, sense-making of news evidence.
  • Possible areas of future research along these lines.
  • Possible areas of future research along these lines.
  • The Long History of Data Journalism (1907-2011)

    1. The Long History of Data Journalism (1907-2011) <ul><li>C.W. Anderson </li></ul><ul><li>College of Staten Island (CUNY) </li></ul><ul><li>Social Science History Association </li></ul><ul><li>November 19, 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Boston, MA </li></ul>
    2. “ What reporters know and don’t report is still news – not from the newspaper point of view, but from the sociologists and novelists.” (Lincoln Steffens, 1931)
    3. How Are Practices of Empirical Social Research Changing in the Digital Era? <ul><li>Journalism as an “odd form” of empirical social research </li></ul><ul><li>Digitization </li></ul><ul><li>New Forms of Journalistic Evidence </li></ul>
    4. Three “Generations” of Journalism <ul><li>Media and the Survey Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Precision Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>“ Algorithmic” Journalism </li></ul>
    5. What Was the Pittsburgh Survey? <ul><li>A pioneering social-science study of urban conditions in Pittsburgh (1907-1908). </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by the Russell Sage Foundation. </li></ul><ul><li>One aspect of the larger “survey movement,” one cornerstone of Progressive Era reform efforts. </li></ul><ul><li>Relation to later sociology? </li></ul><ul><li>Relation to journalism? </li></ul>
    6. An Uneasy Hybrid <ul><li>“ From the perspective of almost a century, it is possible to see the Pittsburgh Survey as an amalgam of three different strands of social research.” (Anderson and Greenwald, 1996) </li></ul>
    7. Relation to Earlier and Later Sociology? <ul><li>Survey was part of sociology’s roots in social reform. </li></ul><ul><li>Most important jurisdictional conflict in professional history of field is between sociology and social work (not journalism). </li></ul><ul><li>Mania for documentation & publicity, but limited statistical rigor or analysis. </li></ul>
    8. Relation to Earlier and Later Sociology? <ul><li>Story told is usually an institutional history (ex: Turner 1996). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey movement rested on a conception of “social manager” as “social engineer.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Success would come from --> A combination of power and publicity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey movement failed in its practical goals. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And it failed to impact sociology methodologically. </li></ul></ul>
    9. Professionalization (1920’s) <ul><li>Sociology </li></ul><ul><li>Social Work </li></ul><ul><li>Policy and Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Journalism </li></ul>
    10. From the perspective of institutional history, then, the overlapping relationship between journalism, sociology, and reform found in the Pittsburgh Survey was glancing and indirect.
    11. Beyond Institutional History: Empirical Technique and Objects of Evidence <ul><li>Survey’s relation to journalism? </li></ul><ul><li>Survey’s “mania for comprehensiveness.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rise of the magazine and conceptions of journalistic deadlines. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of statistical analysis versus the “rise of the variable.” </li></ul>
    12. Fifty Years Later … <ul><li>Philip Myer and the rise of “computer assisted reporting.” </li></ul><ul><li>Precision Journalism (1973) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Meyer’s book, which sought to define new forms of journalistic work based on statistical data analysis, became a leading reference point for individuals involved in the computer-assisted reporting movement.” (Powers 2011) </li></ul>
    13. Beyond CAR: Big Data and “Algorithmic” Journalism <ul><li>Algorithms: A predetermined set of instructions for solving a specific problem in a limited number of steps. </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrids: Made up of both </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human intentionality / social structure AND </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological affordances </li></ul></ul>
    14. Research (Historical) <ul><li>Methodological discourse around empirical techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison: Park and Giddings. Two journalists who became sociologists: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>their methodological attitudes towards the survey. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>their attitudes toward “higher journalism.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comparison: local newspaper coverage of the survey vs. other forms of survey publicity (magazines, etc). </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison: Institutional discourse within professional journals. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How did Editor and Publisher talk about sociology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How did the American Journal of Sociology talk about journalism </li></ul></ul>
    15. Research (Social Science) <ul><li>An institutional analysis of the Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>its relation to “precision journalism.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ethnographic analysis of big data journalism projects. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PANDA Project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overview Project </li></ul></ul>

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