Ah, Baltimore. Home to Avon Barksdale, Jimmy McNulty and the Wire. Or, if you’re there this weekend, several hundred inebriated journalists who have wrangled approval for travel and lodging from their bosses on the basis that they’ll be learning about the latest and greatest advancements in data and computational journalism.
At least that’s my excuse for heading there, and I’m sticking to it.
So apparently this year’s CAR conference is going to be bigger than last year’s, and last year’s already hit a record in attendance. Which is either a sign that data journalism is really coming into the mainstream, or that it’s everyone’s flavor of the month. Or both. Either way, it’s a good thing for the industry if more people think it’s worth understanding more about data. And/or understanding more about journalism, and how the two fields mix.
Because the other thing that’s been happening at the conference is that there are a lot more data scientists and non-journalists showing up; they bring skills and experiences that we don’t have, but we offer them our skills and ways of looking at things that they don’t have – from a public interest perspective to reporting techniques to understanding narrative structure.
In a world where anyone can practice journalism – and where collaboration is increasingly important – it’s important to try and spread the ideals of good journalism to people who are interested in the process of gathering, analyzing and publishing facts, wherever they work and whatever they call themselves.
At least that’s my excuse for heavy socializing at the bar, and I’m sticking to it.