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A huge amount has happened in the field since the first edition in 2012. The Panama Papers project undertook an unprecedented international collaboration around a major database of leaked information about tax havens and offshore financial activity. Projects such as The Migrants’ Files, The Guardian’s The Counted and ProPublica’s Electionland have shown how journalists are not just using and presenting data, but also creating and assembling it themselves in order to improve data journalistic coverage of issues they are reporting on.
Changes in digital technologies have enabled the development of formats for storytelling, interactivity and engagement with the assistance of drones, crowdsourcing tools, satellite data, social media data and bespoke software tools for data collection, analysis, visualisation and exploration.
Data journalists are not simply using data as a source, they are also increasingly investigating, interrogating and intervening around the practices, platforms, algorithms and devices through which it is created, circulated and put to work in the world. They are creatively developing techniques and approaches which are adapted to very different kinds of social, cultural, economic, technological and political settings and challenges.
Five years after its publication, we are developing a revised second edition, which will be published as an open access book with an innovative academic press. The new edition will be significantly overhauled to reflect these developments. It will complement the first edition with an examination of the current state of data journalism which is at once practical and reflective, profiling emerging practices and projects as well as their broader consequences.
Contributors to the first edition include representatives from some of the world’s best-known newsrooms data journalism organisations, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, Deutsche Welle, The Guardian, the Financial Times, Helsingin Sanomat, La Nacion, the New York Times, ProPublica, the Washington Post, the Texas Tribune, Verdens Gang, Wales Online, Zeit Online and many others. The new edition will include contributions from both leading practitioners and leading researchers of data journalism, exploring a diverse constellation of projects, methods and techniques in this field from voices and initiatives around the world. We are working hard to ensure a good balance of gender, geography and themes.
“One foot planted in the craft work of design and the other foot planted in the reflexive work of critique.”
Our approach in the new edition draws on the notion of “critical technical practice” from Philip Agre, which he formulates as an attempt to have “one foot planted in the craft work of design and the other foot planted in the reflexive work of critique” (1997). Similarly, we wish to provide an introduction to a major new area of journalism practice which is at once critically reflective and practical. The book will offer reflection from leading practitioners on their experiments and experiences, as well as fresh perspectives on the practical considerations of research on the field from leading scholars.
The structure of the book reflects different ways of seeing and understanding contemporary data journalism practices and projects. The introduction highlights the renewed relevance of a book on data journalism in the current so-called “post-truth” moment, examining the resurgence of interest in data journalism, fact-checking and strengthening the capacities of “facty” publics in response to fears about “alternative facts” and the speculation about a breakdown of trust in experts and institutions of science, policy, law, media and democracy.
As well as reviewing a variety of critical responses to data journalism and associated forms of datafication, it looks at how this field may nevertheless constitute an interesting site of progressive social experimentation, participation and intervention.
The book is also intended to inspire and inform “experiments in participation” between journalists, researchers, civil society groups and their various publics. This aspiration is partly informed by approaches to participatory design and research from both science and technology studies as well as more recent digital methods research. Through the book we thus aim to explore not only what data journalism initiatives do, but how they might be done differently in order to facilitate vital public debates about both the future of the data society as well as the significant global challenges that we currently face.
This second edition of the Data Journalism Handbook is being produced by the European Journalism Centre and Google News Lab, with support from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and edited, like the original, by experts in the field Jonathan Gray and Liliana Bounegru at the Public Data Lab. The Handbook will be available as a free open-source download on datajournalismhandbook.org in Autumn 2018.
To get chapter previews and exclusive news about the Handbook before anyone else, join our mailing list here. You can also get in touch with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or use #datahandbook to get our attention on social platforms.
During the 2018 International Journalism Festival in Perugia in April, our team will host a panel session and associated activities related to the topics of the book. We’ll be able to share more details shortly. See you in 2018!