Data Journalism
in the Second Machine Age
On Networked Transparency, Algorithms and
Accountability
Alexander B. Howard
Tow...
What is the role of the Fourth
Estate in holding the use of
algorithms and data accountable?
First, some history.
Newspapers have
used data for centuries
Source: The Guardian
1960s: computer-assisted reporting (CAR)
Bob Woodward, via Cliff1066
Traditional tools applying tech to
journalism…
• Calculators and Graphs
• Mainframe and PCs
• Spreadsheets
• Databases
• T...
2010: “Data-driven journalism is the
future”
Source: Tim Berners-Lee in the Guardian
…combined with new tools & context…
• Online spreadsheets and wikis
• Data visualization tools
• Open source frameworks
• ...
2014: data journalism is the present
Gathering, cleaning, organizing, analyzing,
visualizing and publishing data to suppor...
Trendy but not new
• The collection, protection and
interrogation of data as a source,
complementing traditional “shoe
lea...
Dollars for Docs
A tangled web
Los Angeles Times
More than 36 interactive databases published
Data sets account for 75% of overall traffic
[Source: CJR]
La Nacion
Reuters: Connected China
Center for Public Integrity
Emerging trends
Networked reporting of corruption
ICIJ: Offshore Leaks
“If Stage 1 of data journalism was “find and
scrape data,” then…
Stage 2 was “ask government agencies to
release data” in ...
Sensor Journalism
Safecast
open source
Geiger counter
Networked accountability
Drones + data collection
Privacy
challenges
Security challenges
• Protect your sources? Protect your data!
Ethics & politics over media use of data
• Gun map graphic
Accountability for “personalized redlining”
• Gun map graphic
Transparency for geographic profiling
• Gun map graphic
WSJ: Websites vary prices, based upon user information
Monitoring predictive policing
• Gun map graphic
Verge: Chicago crime and profiling Geekwire: Predictive Policing
Investigating human tissue trafficking
• Gun map graphic
ICIJ: The data behind skin and bone
Data + journalism + activism +
responsive institutions = social change
Government of the
people, for the
people, by the
people, with the
people.
Data journalism in the second machine age
Data journalism in the second machine age
Data journalism in the second machine age
Data journalism in the second machine age
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Data journalism in the second machine age

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Data journalism in the second machine age

  1. 1. Data Journalism in the Second Machine Age On Networked Transparency, Algorithms and Accountability Alexander B. Howard Tow Fellow, Columbia University March 17, 2014
  2. 2. What is the role of the Fourth Estate in holding the use of algorithms and data accountable?
  3. 3. First, some history.
  4. 4. Newspapers have used data for centuries Source: The Guardian
  5. 5. 1960s: computer-assisted reporting (CAR) Bob Woodward, via Cliff1066
  6. 6. Traditional tools applying tech to journalism… • Calculators and Graphs • Mainframe and PCs • Spreadsheets • Databases • Text and code editors • Statistics • Programming
  7. 7. 2010: “Data-driven journalism is the future” Source: Tim Berners-Lee in the Guardian
  8. 8. …combined with new tools & context… • Online spreadsheets and wikis • Data visualization tools • Open source frameworks • Code sharing • Agile development • Cloud storage and processing (EC2 &Heroku) • More data and more access • Privacy and security riskss
  9. 9. 2014: data journalism is the present Gathering, cleaning, organizing, analyzing, visualizing and publishing data to support the creation of acts of journalism
  10. 10. Trendy but not new • The collection, protection and interrogation of data as a source, complementing traditional “shoe leather” investigative reporting relying on witnesses, experts and authorities
  11. 11. Dollars for Docs
  12. 12. A tangled web
  13. 13. Los Angeles Times
  14. 14. More than 36 interactive databases published Data sets account for 75% of overall traffic [Source: CJR]
  15. 15. La Nacion
  16. 16. Reuters: Connected China
  17. 17. Center for Public Integrity
  18. 18. Emerging trends
  19. 19. Networked reporting of corruption ICIJ: Offshore Leaks
  20. 20. “If Stage 1 of data journalism was “find and scrape data,” then… Stage 2 was “ask government agencies to release data” in easy to use formats. Stage 3 is going to be “make your own data”, and those sources of data are going to be automated and updated in real-time.” -JavaunMoradi, NPR
  21. 21. Sensor Journalism
  22. 22. Safecast open source Geiger counter
  23. 23. Networked accountability
  24. 24. Drones + data collection
  25. 25. Privacy challenges
  26. 26. Security challenges • Protect your sources? Protect your data!
  27. 27. Ethics & politics over media use of data • Gun map graphic
  28. 28. Accountability for “personalized redlining” • Gun map graphic
  29. 29. Transparency for geographic profiling • Gun map graphic WSJ: Websites vary prices, based upon user information
  30. 30. Monitoring predictive policing • Gun map graphic Verge: Chicago crime and profiling Geekwire: Predictive Policing
  31. 31. Investigating human tissue trafficking • Gun map graphic ICIJ: The data behind skin and bone
  32. 32. Data + journalism + activism + responsive institutions = social change
  33. 33. Government of the people, for the people, by the people, with the people.

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