Working with numbers is becoming more important than ever for journalists.
Vast amounts of data are being collected online, investigative journalism outfits like ProPublica are doing more and more work with large sets of publicly available data, and data visualisations are increasingly becoming a standard part of reporting. At the end of last year, Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia, named 'Big Data' as her first prediction of a major tech trend for 2011.
Tools already exist for journalists to exploit this growth in data. Nieman Lab reported earlier this week on Weave, an open-source internet platform for creating visualizations of "any available data by anyone for any purpose". Another example is Tableau Public, a data visualization tool that was billed by Journalism.co.uk as requiring "no technical ability" and being "easier to use than the wizard options that allow you to create graphs in Excel".