At its core, journalism is about collecting and disseminating information to the public for educational or entertainment purposes. The media employed to disseminate these pieces of information have changed over the years, as have the methods of putting a story together. Journalists have always relied on data to corroborate their stories, but in recent times, they have begun placing more emphasis on these data – facts and figures typically associated with statisticians – as stand-alone stories in the form of charts, tables, infographics and interactive maps.
This development is called ‘data journalism’ or data-driven journalism. The data used in these stories and/or graphical representations are ‘open,’ meaning available for use and redistribution without any copyright or other restrictions. Common open data include population statistics, national budgets, results and findings from scientific research, etc. More recently, as various access to information acts have been passed around the world, journalists have been able to find and use some information traditionally deemed ‘classified,’ such as the salary and benefit packages of government officials.
diGJamaica.com was launched last August as a ‘birthday gift’ to Jamaica on her golden jubilee and has made available a wealth of information on just about everything Jamaican, from pre-independence facts to current laws and government papers presented in Parliament, complemented by an extensive data section providing static and motion charts based on these data. We also publish a Chart of the Week related to information currently in the news.
diGJamaica has certainly been at the forefront of Jamaica’s data journalism efforts and will continue to bring you the information behind the news. To learn more, join us on Thursday, April 11 at the Caribbean Open Data Conference when we will present on the topic “diGJamaica.com: The Gleaner Makes Information Accessible.” If you can’t make it to the conference in person, join us online as we live blog and live tweet the event.