Technology in Journalism
3 mins read

Technology in Journalism

In an era where information is at our fingertips, technology plays an instrumental role in transforming journalism and how news is reported and consumed. One such technological innovation is data journalism, a field where reporters use analytic tools to create news stories from data.

Github, a coding platform with over 28 million users, has become an unlikely ally for journalists. Reporters with a knack for coding are using Github, a platform generally used by programmers to share code and build software, to analyze information and report news. This might sound quite unconventional, but the application of these softwares in journalism has proven to be effective, particularly in data journalism.

Take the case of Los Angeles Times’ data journalist, Ben Welsh. He used Github to create a program named “Panda” that is now utilized to manage and analyze vast data to generate news stories at the newspaper. This tool has been instrumental in unraveling many investigative reports.

Panda, which Welsh respectively refers to as a “news nerd’s best friend”, is used to handle diverse data such as spreadsheets containing information regarding public service departments, crime statistics, census data, and more. With Panda, journalists can upload this data, search the spreadsheets, and even compare different data sets to find correlations and potential stories.

In an investigation into the Los Angeles Fire Department’s response times, the Los Angeles Times used Panda to analyze more than a million records dating back to 2007. The software was able to pinpoint discrepancies and inconsistencies in the data, with the results forming the basis for a series of investigative articles that led to reform in the department.

The application of technology in journalism is not limited to data analysis only. It is also changing the way journalists reach their audience. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have become tools for journalists to disseminate information quickly and directly interact with their audiences. These platforms enable journalists to source news, gauge public sentiment, and even livestream events in real-time.

Despite some skepticism about the role of technology in journalism, it’s clear that these tools are enhancing the field, empowering journalists to more effectively investigate and report the news. The marriage of coding and journalism is a testament to the adaptability and progressive nature of the news industry.

As the use of technology in journalism continues to evolve, it is clear that the newsroom of the future will be inherently digital. It will require journalists who are not only skilled in traditional reporting methods, but also capable of using advanced analytical tools to uncover stories hidden in vast amounts of data. Yet, the essence remains that no matter how sophisticated the tools become, they are merely aids. The core of journalism, the relentless pursuit of truth, will always lie in the hands of its greatest asset – the journalists themselves.

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