Consider a new partnership among News Corps and two academic institutions an early Christmas present to journalists who enjoy tinkering with data but may not possess lots of technical knowledge.
A working group consisting of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University and the Integrated Digital Media Program at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, as well as News Corp, promises to build “visual programming tools” designed for journalists who don’t speak hacking languages.
At a time when data-driven journalism is hot, and readers are hungry to consume visually meaningful pieces of media, journalists could use some methods for streamlining the process of sifting through facts, making sense of information and creating useful data visualization for stories.
Not only will the finished product be open and simple to expand upon, DuBois said the data process will be facilitated with an “interactive flowchart” on the journalist side. Additionally, journalists will be able to check and “show their work” to the masses.
“This processing graph will be simple to publish as well, allowing journalists to generate a “chain of evidence” of how they arrived at a visualization from a raw dataset,” he said.
Additionally, the project, which will be carried out over the following months during a series of roundtable discussions, is meant to bridge gaps between the technical and editorial sides of the newsroom so that media organizations can put out more great data journalism with minimal headaches.
The partnership is being supported by News Corp’s NYC Media Lab seed project, annual undertakings meant to combine media and academic forces for the benefit of both fields. According to NYC Media Lab’s Julia Evanczuk, News Corp is a paying corporate member of NYC Media Lab, contributing half its membership dues directly over to an innovative seed project.
“They can decide what form they want that to take. [The projects are] a taste of what a partnership between a media organization and a university would look like,” Evanczuk said.