Data speaking thruth to power. Keynote at Highway Africa Conference 2013
DATA SPEAKING TRUTH TO
AMI and D3-Media
What I will be talking about! - 1
Let’ s start with a small story……
Data are not speaking; but journalists are gathering data turn
them in to stories.
Journalism is producing truth seeking stories in the public
interest based on data.
What I will be talking about! - 2
The digitalization causes an enormous increase of all sorts of
data stored by all kind of organization from governments to
NGO's and companies.
Data are very fashionable
Journalist should check policies based on data and dig in data
to find news
What I will be talking about! - 3
How strong is journalism against the powers?
Journalism can feed the public debate to help control and check
the use of power.
But: Journalism is in crisis; subscription are dropping, lot of
journalism jobs are lost.
Data journalism is quality reporting and one of directions to re
Here is some data about journalism:
Where are we going?
•From print to online
•From text to multimedia
•From news to
•Looking for a new
business model and for a
4 Year Category Trend by Quarter:
Circulation has declined annually by 5.75 % since 2008, equivalent to
•Times remain tough for all in the print industry.
•Current GDP projections indicate that we will achieve a 2.5% GDP growth
albeit that our CPI inflation is just over 6%.
•The Daily Newspaper category continues to decline with several
sharp drops in total circulation. That said, vernacular circulation
•Weeklies have posted solid growth.
•The Weekend English and Afrikaans categories continues to slide while
vernacular growth continues.
•Local Newspapers are down overall. However, several titles reflect strong
growth including Tembisan.
•Free Newspapers are stable overall, but it would be remiss not to mention
again the startling growth of the Zululand Eyethu, up 303%.
•SOURCE: GORDON PATTERSON
What is data journalism ?
• It looks like data journalism is young, but it already started
in 1968 with Philip Meyer reporting about the Detroit’s
riots using an IBM mainframe
• Is it poverty or relative deprivation?
• Other names:
• Precision journalism; analytical journalism; CARR and
now data journalism
• But all agree: Journalism can be improved by using tools
From Database: 2000
Map is the story
Hurricane Andrew and construction fraud in Miami
Classic Hurricane Andrew
How does data journalism
•Finding data sources
•Collecting data: importing
•Produce the story: visualize
•Building a measurement tool
•Fieldwork and experiment
•Test the hypothesis
•Publish in a journal
Finding Data: story idea
Turn the web in a database
National Bureau for
Web: find excel
Scraping: Outwit Hub
Mother of all Data Journalism
MS Office: excel
R project or PSPP
Cleaning data: Refine
Ordering data: top10
for key figures
Graphs: bar, pie,
Cape Town councilors
and property value
Data Journalism: team work and
More use of data for
Find hidden trends
Involvement of the
• Cooperation between hardcopy and online
• Online interactive data
• Hardcopy static picture
• Complementing approaches
Example from City Press
Visualize Story Sept 16
Council bigwigs get fat
Data “Boot Camp” Helps Kenyan Reporter
Expose School Sanitation Woes
•Simple and good by a
junior reporter of the
•Here is the link to the
• And here is
So you can start simple
•Sometimes the data are
not there, although they
•For example members of
•I wanted to run a copy
of a Dutch story about
representation of the
parliament. Here is
Advanced stories are
analysis of Twitter
contacts between 500
• There is light at the end of the tunnel…..
• But it could mean that an other train is approaching fast
• For example: sovereign debt ratings by Moody’s
• The press release of the Treasury was saying Rating is Baa1
• But did not pay much attention to the negative outlook!
• That is a nice way to get “good news”
• Battle on!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH