Data Projects — The New Journalism


The line between journalist and coder is beginning to blur.

These days, more TV stations and newspapers are jumping on the mobile app bandwagon, forming development teams made of journalists and quasi-journalist progammers.

Many of their projects (products) are justifiably aimed at bringing an organization’s news content to mobile devices such as iPhones, Android devices, iPads, and other mobile tablets.

A good example of this is KTVB’s Idaho News app offered by Channel 7 in Boise.

These kind of projects take advantage of the enormous growth of mobile platforms on which digital consumers now demand their news.

However, a slightly different branch of these products are beginning to form something entirely different — what’s starting to be called “data projects.”

So what’s a data project?

Journalists/coders who construct data projects essentially use various types of software to crunch numbers, create crime maps, track accidents, compare incomes, compare political candidates, or track regional social and biological data, among other interesting tasks.

Million-dollar North Idaho Homes – Spokesman Review
(there are actually five worth over 10 million)

Here’s a few interesting data projects you might enjoy checking out.

LA Times Crime Map

Learn about seismic dangers near California schools — California Watch

2010 Census: Same-sex partners in Chicagoland — Chicago Tribune

Mapping Access to Health Care in Texas — Texas Tribune

What makes them useful?

Most data projects are designed to give a useful, custom-look to news content obtained by readily-available data like census records, airline flight logs, business data, and official records from state and federal departments, among others.

In short, you should expect to see many more of these tools popping up in different formats on the web.