Just a short post to mention this NYT Magazine article on the move towards more computer science in journalism. This isn’t all that new; but it does speak to how journalists should master – or at least understand – what new tools they can deploy, on top of all the old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting and interviewing skills that they should have.
It’s getting to be a more and more technical profession, but that’s good in a way, at least for those of us who want to keep standards high and find a role in a world where everyone can publish (which, for the record, is generally a good thing.) Keeping abreast of the latest developments and tools keeps journalists sharper, and leads in the end to better work.
One of the best things about the new tools is that they really push journalists to dig out facts, data and statistics to back up stories. Interviews and anecdotes are great, and are of course at the core of much of what we do, but memories can be faulty and hidden biases can be, well, hidden. It’s generally much harder to quarrel with a solid analysis of documents and numbers. And that’s what the new tools excel at.