What can Data Journalists and Digital Humanists Learn from Each Other?

Later this week Jonathan Gray and I will be giving a talk at the Digital Humanities + Data Journalism Symposium organised by Alberto Cairo at the University of Miami. I have been working in both areas for several years and was very pleased to see organised what I think is the first event dedicated to bringing the two communities together.

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Our talk will be based on our work both in the field of data journalism (e.g. through our work on The Data Journalism Handbook and associated data projects and training activities), ongoing research about data journalism (including on the use of networks and journalism code ecologies), as well as our work on digital methods research in the humanities and social sciences with the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam and the médialab at Sciences Po in Paris.

We are particularly interested in how we might be able to design encounters between the two groups which would enable them to learn from each other and work together on data projects with social and political impact.

In the past we used the data sprint format to bring together journalism students and Internet studies researchers and students to work together for one week to extract and analyse data from digital platforms and produce stories. This experiment took place in the context of the Digital Methods Winter School at the University of Amsterdam and was a great way to introduce journalism students without previous experience in data work to digital data collection, analysis and narrativisation, as well as to story production in a multidisciplinary team.

We would like to see more collaboration between data journalists, digital humanists and digital sociologists around data projects and to this end we’d be interested to hear more about what they’d like to learn from each other. If you work in any of these fields we’d love to hear more about what you think your field might be able to learn from others. We hope to be able to incorporate some of these ideas into future work in this area so if there’s any interest in the topic please get in touch with us via email at liliana.bounegru[at]gmail.com or leave us a note in the comments section below.

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