Data journalism is becoming an essential tool in climate journalism, as it can be used to tell stories and better engage with our audiences.
With the pandemic, many media outlets around the world have been using data journalism tools to tell stories. We wanted to dig deeper into data journalism in a special webinar with Marco Ranocchiari, a freelance Italian journalist and fellow from our Media Mentorship program.
For Marco, “this kind of journalism has become really popular because it can tell us lots of stories. Sometimes, if you just hear the numbers you just get overwhelmed and don’t know what they mean. If you have a map, with different colors and graphs, it is much easier.”
Over the years, data journalism has evolved immensely and it’s not as daunting to produce a story with interactive graphics and mapping as it used to be.
Marco says that there are basically two approaches to data journalism.
- You can start from a news piece or a question and search the data to verify or confirm what you or your source is saying.
- The other way is to start from the existing data that is published in reports and then read and explore them. In this case, you find the news inside the data. Both approaches eventually meet each other when the story is complete.
In either case, data journalism should involve basic steps of compiling and cleaning the data, giving them context, and combining them with other resources.
Then comes the most difficult part, finding a way to communicate what you have found: visualise, narrate, socialise, humanise, personalis, utilise, etc.
“For example, if you find information about how much water is available in one country, you can compare it with the density of population which is at risk. There you can say something new in your article,” Marco says.
Data journalism is key in climate journalism because…
Climate change is full of statistics. If there is a heatwave, it is not climate news in itself, it can be an exception, something that happens only once. The news is in the data, if the frequency of these events has increased or not. It is really hard to do climate journalism without data.
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