Introducing data in news reporting

By: Ashley Khoza

“We believe in the power of data to help us to understand the world around us and improve it”, said Tegan Bedser, project manager at Media Hack Collective, referring to how data journalism can help bring about additional colour in journalism.

“We collect, analyse and visualise data to tell engaging and effective stories,” said Bedser.

She was speaking at the second day of the 18th edition of the Africa Investigative Journalism Conference at Wits University, in a session titled: ‘A Gentle Introduction to Using Data in Reporting’, alongside Mamaili Mamaila, data journalist at Media Collective.

Data journalism is a type of storytelling, where reporters use a set of data to tell stories.

Bedser said that data is sometimes complex, so it’s the role of journalists to make it digestible and scale it down by reducing information so people can understand.

When it comes to data journalism, there are resources and tools that reporters use to do their work such as: Tubular, Data, and Scarper, which help with data extraction. “These sites make life easier for data journalists by analysing the data for them”, explained Bedser.

The pair explained that this form of journalism is not as difficult as it appears, however, the skillsets are still scarce in newsrooms.