The Skills You Need to Become a Data Journalist

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At a time when veteran journalists are raising alarms about the present and future of journalism, one specific niche in this field is still thriving. The hype around it is so profound that The New York Times of the United States as a whole department dedicated to this wing of journalism. Going forward, the new brand of journalism is estimated to thrive and grow in demand and more and more media houses should be shifting towards data-driven, valuable and deep articles that convince readers backed by figures and numbers. Data journalism is currently a rising trend and as an aspiring journalist of the current age, this is one of your possible directions.

And the best part of data journalism is that you do not have to learn or pursue anything over the top. NYTimes experts say that journalism should be your core drive. Hence, to become a data journalist, pursue the major in the best university for journalism in Delhi to build the right base and work on the following skills simultaneously to achieve the ultimate goal.

  1. Basic programming

Remember that data journalists are not programmers first. They are journalists who happen to know programming. Thus, basic knowledge is what you will need to extract and filter data with coding without having to do it manually. You can pursue a certification course in SQL, MS Excel or Python while studying your journalism degree. You can also indulge in self-study from online resources of technical colleges. Data journalists require the knowledge of coding, not expertise so that the time spent behind manual work can be dedicated to writing and reporting instead.

  1. Data visualisation

The most challenging task that data journalists have to undertake day in and day out is data visualisation. Not all data is relevant. You cannot use every statistic that you see. Fishing out the right information from a host of jargon is the essence of journalism and you will have to bring that flair into data visualisation as well. If you have already decided that data journalist is what you want to become, start playing with data early. Skim through facts and figures and filter out the irrelevant details that you cannot report. You will also want to develop an eye for detecting data and place it in your sheet for future use.

  1. Factual reporting

There is a seldom place in data journalism to present your views about the subject. Every matter that you write or report has to be backed by data. In the best colleges for journalism, you will learn factual reporting where maintaining neutrality and removing biases form the core of the training and you can bring those traits into your style of journalism as well. Your job is to turn the available data into a readable story. You will have to report what the data told you, not what you think is right. This will also require you to develop the skill of verifying your data before deducing a story from it.

  1. Online searching

The first place that you will have to turn to source out data is the internet. And the best place to conduct that search is the top search engines available. Now, as a data journalist, you cannot type random keywords into the search bar and hope to stumble upon the right data. Neither can you scan through massive websites that you clicked on from the search engine to collect data. This is where you will have to know how to search on search engines to get exactly what you need. Use Boolean commands combined with the site and file commands to source out the right webpage. Practice these while you are still in college.

  1. Statistics

To deduce the right implications of the data you collected, you will have to take the help of statistics to analyse your data. Here again, expertise is not required but intermediate knowledge is necessary. Without statistical knowledge, it is easy to misinterpret data and you can end up with a story completely opposite of what the data intended to say. A certification course should do the trick. A degree after your journalism is better. Having a base in statistics will also improve your chances of landing a data journalist job as there are a few journalists now who are also statisticians.

As already stated, the start should be with journalism. And the core should always be journalism. Colleges like the Lingaya’s Lalita Devi Institute of Management & Sciences, one of the top IP university colleges for journalism and based in South Delhi, can build your foundation to become a successful data journalist and build a thriving career in the stream.LLDIMS’s journalism curriculum includes all the relevant lessons to build the right spine and propel you towards the end goal that you have envisioned.



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