Brazilian newspaper launches blog exploring world of data journalism (Interview)
Following the steps of newspapers such as The Guardian (United Kingdom), Los Angeles Times (USA), La Información (Spain), and La Nación (Argentina), the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo launched on its website the blog "Afinal de Contas," or After All, the first in Brazil to explore the world of data journalism.
"Numbers and their context are the news and themes of the new blog," explained the newspaper Folha. Analyzing primary source data, the website seeks to reveal the "hidden" details in reports. When possible, blog posts will include the data spreadsheets that were used.
This initiative comes from a journalist passionate about data spreadsheets and numbers, who is a fan of Philip Meyer, one of the forerunners of computer-assisted reporting. Marcelo Soares, data analysis specialist and member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, explained his most recent venture to the The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
Knight Center: Were you inspired by any specific website to create "After All?"
Marcelo Soares: What I wanted to do is a combination of the works of two English news media: The Datablog from The Guardian, and the program "More or Less," from BBC. The Datablog is excellent when dealing with public data. It converts reports to spreadsheets and shows how any reader can use free tools, available on the Web, to analyze them. I admire the work of Simon Rogers and his team. From “More or Less,” I wanted to import the didactics of numbers to help the reader and colleagues understand the subtleties of how numbers are produced. I am not an economist like Tim Harford, but I think that exploring those contexts is part of a good assessment.
KC: What should a reader expect in the content of the blog?
MS: Discussions about numbers, interviews and a bit of good humor.
KC: Is visualization of data part of this project?
MS: Any time that Folha has a project with data visualization, I will comment about it on the blog, but it wouldn't make sense to stop there. With the blog, I want it to be possible for the reader to acquire and use tools, such as Fusion Tables, Tableau, and others. A few adjustments are needed to get there.
KC: Can the expansion of data journalism and the use of computer graphics help attract readers to online news?
MS: I think so. The fascinating thing about digital media, aside from having everything in one location, is the possibility of not being limited by time (as the radio or TV are), or space (as newspapers are).
For the complete interview, including questions and answers about Brazil's new information access law and public data in an era of WikiLeaks, see the complete post in Portuguese here.
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