How do we prepare future journalists to parse big data for truth?

As the staggering amount of data—spanning finance, climate research, voting records, and much more—increases exponentially, having journalists who can access and decipher it is becoming more essential. A new Master's program at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism is heeding the call.

The new Master of Science in Data Journalism program will teach the next generation of journalists to adapt data science to reporting and storytelling while upholding the profession’s core mission of serving the public interest. Mark Hansen, professor of Journalism and director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation, said receiving a new data set was like "approaching a source who doesn't speak your language." This new program will teach future journalists to speak data's language.

Throughout the program, students will gain in-depth training on how to acquire, clean, process, analyze, and visualize data with various technologies. These skills will help them find patterns and outliers that generate journalistic insights, as well as use data to build a narrative.

“For journalists to carry out their function as watchdogs on power, storytellers and sifters of the truth, they increasingly must understand how to interrogate data and computer code. We think our new degree offers a leap forward in journalism education, one that is responsive to where our profession must go,” said Steve Coll, dean of Columbia Journalism. Learn more.

 

 

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