Connect with us

Journalism

Local news organizations in Germany and data journalism

Patricia Cruz

Published

on

The article “Local Data Journalism in Germany: Data-driven Reporting Amidst Local Communities and Authorities” by Florian Stalph from LMU Munich and Oliver Hahn and David Liewehr from University of Passau explored data journalism within local and regional news organizations in Germany.

Data journalism is often associated with large organizations such as ProPublica or with major, national and international newsrooms like The Guardian. However, early data journalism was often of local characteristic and the benefits of data journalism in local reporting are clear. 

The economic struggles such as lack of staffing have particularly reduced local newsrooms’ ability to utilize data journalism. Despite this, several German local news organizations have managed to conduct data journalism. Data journalism, in other words, has become at least somewhat democratized. 

The authors caution that the study is not meant to be representative of all regional data journalism and its status quo in Germany, but more in the vein of anecdotal collection of case studies. 

Local journalism differs from journalism at large, among other things, in expectations. While journalism in general is expected to serve a public watchdog -purpose, holding those in power accountable, in local journalism this role comes second. 

The primary role of local journalism is to act as a “good neighbor”, relaying news of local interest to its readers. This has led some scholars to even accuse local journalism of sycophantic coverage, as the journalists are often embedded and tied in with the elites. 

Data journalism is hard to define in a clear-cut manner. It consists of gathering and organizing data in support of journalism. Explaining and conveying complex facts are central to the work of a data journalist.

The study here consisted of nine semi-structured in-depth interviews, where the interviewees were data journalists working for regional and local newspapers in Germany. Eight were men, one was a woman. The circulation of the newspapers they worked on ranged from a bit over 80.000 to slightly under 300.000. 

The first research question was on the challenges the journalists face when obtaining data from governmental sources. The participants were, by and large, satisfied with the services available to them on national and regional level, some defining it as a “treasure trove”. However, on the municipal level the services were insufficient, particularly when it comes to geographic data. 

Despite the insufficient data, the journalists rarely used FOI (Freedom of Information) requests to attain data. They were described as creating friction with the authorities and there were thus misgivings about it, but it was nevertheless occasionally used. 

Typically, the journalists sought instead to maintain good relations with the authorities and then having the data they could get with a FOI without having to formally file the request. 

The second research question was about the structure of the work. Most participants felt only partially integrated to the editorial practices of the newsroom, data journalistic projects were instead managed by few lone journalists. Some of the journalists did not exclusively work as data journalists but had breaks lasting weeks from that work. 

The data journalists mostly relied on existing tools such as Excel, Datawrapper and Carto to conduct their analysis, as there was no time for development of in-house tools. The training in data journalism mostly relied on initiative. All in all, the major obstacle for all data work was lack of time, as it is time-consuming.

The third research question was on how the journalists utilized data to make local news stories. There were two main approaches: the first was to have a topic already at the ready and to search data for it, the second was to utilize pre-existing data. They sought to tie in the stories to local context by default in their work. 

Many of the interviewees viewed pure data as too abstract, and thus sought to have individuals in the stories for the readers to empathize with. The personal conversations also were needed to verify the data and provide a reality check. 

The last, fourth research question was on how the participants perceived their role in the context of local journalism. The answers displayed a diversity in goals and motivations. One emphasized the service function of data journalism via interactive maps, two considered data important as evidence. 

Information and explanation were considered important, as was the telling of reader oriented human stories. Data stories could improve the readers statistical understanding  and raise awareness on the shortcomings of the quantitative method. “Empowering journalism”, where readers would analyze the data and form political responses by it, were emphasized by some. 

The data journalists did not feel a duty to present their region only in positive terms. Only one reported that self-censoring on basis of expected reader response occurred by some colleagues, but not by the interviewee in question. Being rooted in region only influenced the choice of topics, but had no bearing otherwise. 

The study emphasizes that not only do local and regional newsrooms need to recognize the potential of data journalism, but also the regional and national data providers -as they were central in the success of data journalism. Stories were often personalized by local protagonists. The authors caution that the sample size is too small to draw wide conclusions, but the study nevertheless offers interesting insights.

The article “Local Data Journalism in Germany: Data-driven Reporting Amidst Local Communities and Authorities” by Florian Stalph, Oliver Hahn and David Liewehr is in Journalism Practice. (open access). 

Picture: Untitled by Erik Mclean.

License Unsplash. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Journalism

The Top Journalism Websites for News and Analysis”

Alice Trout

Published

on

Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the public informed about current events and issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wide range of news and analysis from reputable sources. Here are some of the best journalism sites for keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world:

  1. The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) – The New York Times is a well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture.
  2. The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) – The Washington Post is another well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers in-depth coverage of national and international news, as well as commentary on politics, business, and more.
  3. The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) – The Guardian is a British newspaper that offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture. It has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and has won numerous awards.
  4. BBC News (www.bbc.com/news) – BBC News is the online news division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events.
  5. Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) – Al Jazeera is a Qatari news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa.
  6. Reuters (www.reuters.com) – Reuters is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of business and financial news.
  7. CNN (www.cnn.com) – CNN is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of breaking news and live events.
  8. The Economist (www.economist.com) – The Economist is a British magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on economics and politics.
  9. The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) – The Atlantic is an American magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on politics, culture, and technology.
  10. ProPublica (www.propublica.org) – ProPublica is a non-profit organization that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of politics, business, and social issues.

Guest blogging is a highly effective marketing strategy that every business should be utilizing. By purchasing PR publications, you can increase traffic and establish authority.

These are just a few examples of the many great journalism websites that are available. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, in-depth analysis, or a particular perspective on current events, these sites are an excellent starting point.

Continue Reading

Journalism

The Ethics of Healthcare Advertising: Balancing the Right to Information with the Risk of Deception

Alice Trout

Published

on

Healthcare advertising has the potential to inform and educate the public about important medical treatments and products, but it must be done in an ethical and responsible manner. On one hand, the public has the right to access information about healthcare options that may improve their quality of life or save their lives. On the other hand, there is a risk that healthcare advertising could deceive or mislead consumers, leading to negative consequences for both the companies and the public.

One issue with healthcare advertising is the promotion of prescription drugs for off-label use. Off-label use refers to the use of a drug for a purpose that has not been approved by the regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label use, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs for off-label use. This is because the FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies have been known to engage in off-label promotion in order to increase sales. This can be harmful to patients, as they may be prescribed a drug that has not been thoroughly tested for the specific condition they are suffering from. In some cases, off-label use of a drug can even be dangerous.

Another issue with healthcare advertising is the use of exaggerated or misleading claims. This can include making false or unproven statements about the effectiveness of a drug or treatment, or downplaying the risks and side effects. Such practices can lead to consumers making informed decisions about their healthcare, and can also harm the reputation of the healthcare industry as a whole.

In order to strike a balance between the right to information and the risk of deception, it is important for both regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry to prioritize ethical practices in healthcare advertising. This can include measures such as strict oversight by regulatory agencies, clear guidelines for the approval and review of advertising materials, and campaigns to educate the public about how to evaluate and interpret healthcare advertising. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information about healthcare options, while also protecting against deceptive practices that can harm both consumers and the healthcare industry.

Continue Reading

Journalism

Supporting Startup Founders’ Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Well-Being in the Fast-Paced Startup World

Alice Trout

Published

on

As the startup world continues to thrive and grow, it’s important to recognize that the fast-paced, high-stress environment can take a toll on the mental health of founders and employees. In fact, research has shown that entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

One key factor that contributes to this risk is the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure that can come with starting and running a business. Additionally, the long hours and lack of work-life balance that are often associated with the startup world can also contribute to mental health challenges.

It’s essential that startups prioritize the mental health of their founders and employees, not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the overall success of the business. Research has shown that mental health issues can negatively impact productivity and decision-making, which can have serious consequences for a company.

There are a few steps that startups can take to support the mental health of their team members:

  1. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health concerns.
  2. Offer resources such as counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
  3. Foster a culture of self-care by promoting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Set boundaries and encourage work-life balance to prevent burnout.

For those not ready to go to the doctor or looking for support, mental health startups Europe offer help through apps.

It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial that startups prioritize the well-being of their founders and employees. By taking steps to support the mental health of their team, startups can create a positive and healthy work environment that leads to success for both the business and its employees.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending