Data journalism doesn’t necessarily sound “sexy,” said Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news at The New York Times, but as the South Florida Sun Sentinel made clear this month with its Speeding Cops story, it can be Pulitzer Prize-winning.
Pilhofer leads a team of 18 data and developer journalists. In contrast, Guido Romeo of Wired Italy explained that he himself is the data team. Pilhofer argued that it isn’t necessary to have a huge team to do great stories, pointing out that the Sun Sentinel’s public service Pulitzer-winning piece was done by a very small team, who acquired the data, analysed it and published it within a matter of weeks. It’s something that “normal people in normal newsrooms can do,” he believes.
Dan Sinker, director of Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, described some of the US election coverage projects he had been most impressed by. Election coverage really allows you to track progress of news organisations, he pointed out, as it’s every four years. On election night, his go-to app was created by NPR’s new news apps team, who decided not to use a map, as most new outlets do, but went for blocks representing real numbers.