Future of Journalism

Journalism Skills Debate on Data and Programming #dataskills

First of all, let me tell you a bit about my background.

I am a business reporter for a 35,000-circulation daily newspaper. I value incorporating online into my daily coverage— I tweet and blog about retail and restaurants in my town, I occasionally get to shoot and edit video and I’ve tried different ways to tell a story. But writing for print is still a major part of my job and I will freely admit that I do not have the expertise to put my two cents in this discussion.

So why do I still care about this debate enough to follow it for the last few days?

Part of my job is to cover media outlets, including mine. I’ve written about the changes in the local newscasts and the changing ownership of local radio stations.

So my first instinct when I saw the debate on Twitter yesterday and in the last few days was to try to tell and preserve the story. (As you will see below).

But as I reflected on my work, I thought about why I was personally invested in the topic:

  • Hackers can help us tell a story. A few months ago, I took a class called “Open Journalism and the Open Web.” The class was half journalists, half computer programmers. A big part of the class was working with someone from “the other side.” I partnered up with David Mason, a programmer from Montreal who is passionate about all things wiki. He, along with my other programmer classmates, opened my eyes to all the different things out there I could use to tell stories better online.
  • The class also help me connect more with my paper’s online staff. Since I’ve finished the class, I’ve had coffee with our website programmer and we’ve been able to have some good dialogue. Maybe I’m being a bit presumptive here, but maybe this online debate could encourage offline conversations within a newsroom or company. I’m certainly going to talk about it with my online folks.
  • I’m thinking constantly about my future in the industry (as everyone else). So naturally any discussion that talks about what that future may look like will pique my interest.

So it leads us here: my roundup of all the debate and discussion in the last week. I would like to extend my thanks to the folks at Storify for creating a great tool to help me do this. Please feel free to comment and add your thoughts!

Originally published as “Why I followed the #dataskills debate of 2010” by Mai Hoang.

  • thmithy

    This is a beautifully concise roundup of a scrappy sprawling conversation that’s been stumbling all over the web. Thanks!