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To what extent has data journalism changed the practice, purpose and impact of journalism?

There are several ways in which data journalism has changed the practice, purpose and impact of journalism. First, data journalism as a practice that entails extensive use of different data that are available in many different ways has changed the way journalism is practiced in the current times. This is because the practice has affected the way journalists go about doing their two main tasks: gathering information and disseminating it. When gathering information, journalists seek to find the right information and people, check the collected information and analyse it (Ward, 2013, n.pag). The extensive use of different data has changed the way journalists go about gathering information from different sources and analysing it to enhance the stories that they distribute to the their audience.

Second, the availability of a vast amount data on multiple sources has made it the duty of the journalists to make sense of the data, interpret and use it to communicate to the public (Knight & Cook, 2013, p. 55). As such, journalists, who can easily access the information, are obliged to interpret it rather than merely present the data to the audience. Also, Van Der Haak, Parks and Castells (2012) argue that with increasing collaboration in the practice of collecting and analysing information, journalism has changed its purpose into being a public good (p. 2925). This is as a result of the increasing use of data in journalism.

Third, the impact of data journalism on journalism has been felt in the form of changing the focus of journalism from one of gathering information to that of filtering the mass of readily available information and telling the story using completely new approaches (Gray, Chambers & Bounegru, 2012, p. 6). In doing this, many news organisations are employing the services of in-house or hired hackers who work as developers and designers (Gray et al. 2012, p. 27). Their services have become essential in changing the purpose of journalism in the current times.


Gray, J., Chambers, L. & Bounegru, L. (eds). (2012). The data journalism handbook. Sebastopol: O’Reilly.

Knight, M. & Cook, C. (2013). Social media for journalists: Principles and practice. London: Sage.

Van Der Haak, B., Parks, M. & Castells, M. (2012). The future of journalism: Networked journalism. International Journal of Communication, 6, 2923-2938. Retrieved from

Ward, M. (2013). Journalism online. Oxford: Taylor & Francis.