Journalists of the future need data skills – Berners-Lee
This morning at the release of huge tracts of government data about spending, a panel including Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and Berners-Lee were asked who would analyse such data once the excited geeks had moved onto more interesting tasks (perhaps building the next Facebook).
Berners-Lee’s view is likely to raise the hackles of old-time journos, but I think his main point is valid:
“Journalists need to be data-savvy. These are the people whose jobs are to interpret what government is doing to the people. So it used to be that you would get stories by chatting to people in bars, and it still might be that you’ll do it that way some times. But now it’s also going to be about poring over data and equipping yourself with the tools to analyse it and picking out what’s interesting. And keeping it in perspective, helping people out by really seeing where it all fits together, and what’s going on in the country.”
Arthur points out that the Guardian and the Telegraph have journalists who spend their entire time working on data and that the Times has its own labs…
What do you think about this? Is this where citizen journalists rise to the challenge – in the dark of the data mines?