Future Trend of Data Visualisation

During a video report on data visualisation, Geoff McGhee gives a brief description of the current trend of journalism, “Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualisation techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists.”

Many businesses utilise data visualisation as a method to analyse, evaluate, and communicate information in the Web 1.0. When digital journalism started to emerge, Infographics began to become popular in journalism: news media use techniques such as infographics and data visualisation to convey complex stories.

Examples such as The Guardian and The Sydney Morning Herald, which utilise data visualisation to interact with audiences, support news articles and attract interest from the general public through the readable and interactive news.

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In the article by Marisa Krystian, she gives a brief of the future trend of data visualisation, “The data visualisation landscape is constantly in flux, shifting under the pressure of new technologies, big data, and political climates.” And she also mentioned a few significant trends of data visualisation.

Firstly, more ‘snackable’ visualisation contents are now started to appears on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. One example is Mona Chalabi, a data editor at Guardian US. She tried to use Instagram to “hook someone into learning more”. And journalism should use these digital platforms to adapt themselves to fit in the trend.

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Secondly, big data will become more approachable. As there are more and more organisations collecting and analysing data sets, there will be more tools and databases ready for journalists and the public to use.

Thirdly and most importantly, data visualisation will significantly improve the transparency and credibility of news reports. The communication between journalists and audiences will be more authentic and effective as they can now understand each other more due to the transparency in data sources. And the use of data will push for the accuracy and truth in journalism.

The goal of data visualisation is to move people to see things they haven’t seen before. Charts and text alone don’t do it but marrying the two together is crucial. 

 

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Week 10 Newsgame: Case Study of “Syrian Journey”

In the past three semesters, I have learned a lot about Journalism, and I also chose “MDIA5027 Promotional Games” as an elective course. Therefore, I have a certain degree of understanding of Journalism and Serious Game. The topic of this week’s lecture is Data Journalism. In particular, I prefer to talk about “newsgame” which has been introduced by lecture video because this is the first time I hear about it and I think it is very interesting.

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This is a slide from online lecture video of Week 10, multiple definitions of newsgame have been provided by experts and scholars. In my opinion, actual cases are more helpful than the definition to help us understand what is “newsgame”.

Today, many international front-line media use newsgame as a new way to make readers be more interested in the news. For example, BBC Digital launched “Syrian Journey” when the Syrian refugee crisis swept across Europe. In the game, the identity of the player is an ordinary Syrian refugee. Players need to make a series of options, such as escape routes, and escape strategy. This newsgame is very successful in journalism industry, but it has also been questioned. Some people think that using game to show the tragic fate of refugees is not ethical and the gamification of this kind of news will reduce the seriousness of journalism. And even some people think that this game only used news about refugees to attract attention, in essence, it is just a common survival game. I don’t fully agree with these views, but I think these interesting arguments can contribute to development of newsgame.

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Picture Source:Syrian Journey: Choose your own escape route

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The development of digital audiences & Challenges it brings to news media

In the broadcast era, audiences receive and access information from traditional news media such as newspaper and television. Because of the technological limitations, there was limited interaction between journalism and audiences. Traditional audiences were merely passive receptors of content while journalists can decide and control the media coverage.

Digital media, however, has changed such kind of relationship and encourage “participatory culture”. With various news and media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and WeiBo, audiences are able to discuss and comment on particular news or content post by news media. Additionally, audiences can now share their experiences and ideas and generate content. Some even become famous critics and bloggers. Audiences can also affect politics and policy establish. One famous example is the new United States President Donald Trump, who broke the conventional rule and won the election with the power of digital media.

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The relationship between audiences and journalists has completely shifted from “we write and you read” to “journalism democracy and reconnection” (Deuze 2003, p.203). The change of audiences’ needs come along with the change of their abilities. Audiences are not satisfied with the traditional information distribution such as daily newspaper. Instead, they now expect faster news delivery and richer content. Besides, with various information sources to choose from, audiences have great power to choose and consume their preferred content.

infographic-journalists-and-social-media-study-results.pngThis situation brings great challenges to news media as they now need to listen to their audiences and analyse their preferences to decide what to delivery to the public. And as the traditional news delivery is shrinking, funding from the traditional advertisement is shrinking as well. To compete with the peer for audiences’ attention and advertisement opportunities, news media is now undergoing unprecedented pressure. News media and digital journalists are trying hard to bring interesting and timely news to audiences and ready to respond or reply to unpredictable comments or emergency event.

Overall, in the age of digital media, audiences have much more power and ability than before, reshaping the relationship between them and news media. However, this new form of relationship and situation brings great challenges to news media.

Reference:

Deuze, M 2003, ‘‘The Web and Its Journalisms: considering the consequences of different types of news media online’’, New Media & Society, vol. 5, no. 2, pp.203-30.

 

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Journalism in the Digital Age

Traditional news media has experienced major changes from physical newspaper to multiplatform since the wide use of the Internet in the mid-1990s.

In the days before the world wide web, journalists need to witness a story, write up a news story, go to the business centre, print it out or report through television and radio. News editors and the governments play an major role as the gatekeepers to information. The audiences get whatever news and information newspaper and tv report.

Since the Web1.0 era, the way of how people consume information and news started to change – BBS became popular. The forum was a new interactive platform for the public to communicate with strangers online. West Temple and Tencent are two example for popular BBS at that time.

After the reveoluntionary change in technology and Internet, information gatekeepers become less and less essential because costs of distribution is disappearing and the public are no longer only audiences, they become news editors and spreader.

With the emergence of Facebook in early 2000, the social network officially entered the Web2.0 era. People started to use blog, instant messages apps, social media platform and other multimedia means as a way for daily communication and information resources.

As people can now freely access to news and information through multiple platforms, traditional journalism is somehow ‘abandoned’. In the words of The Guardian, “feeds from social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter provide a snapshot of events happening around the world from the viewpoint of first-hand witnesses, and blogs and citizen news sources offer analytical perspectives from the ground faster than print or television can provide.”

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“As with all major change processes, a game of opposites develops between control and freedom, order and chaos. The potential controllers aren’t only in government and parliaments throughout the world. Large companies also want to exercise control over the market,” said by the Sverige Adio.

While I think that the biggest power of control is in the hand of neither the government or large companies, it is in the hand of the public and technology. The revolution of technology change the way of how people access information and news, and it forces the news media to adapt themselves to attract audiences. The rise of independent blogger, the wide use of social media and the trend of online news spreading are challenges for news media. Instead of trying to control the audiences and the ‘news industry’, news media should focus on how to adjust themselves to fit the needs of the general public in this digital age.

 

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Week 7 UGC and Digital News Platform

Following the development of technology, a wide variety of digital devices are used in daily life of people. According to content of this week’s online lecture. I found that people would use different digital devices in different time periods and occasions. For example, most people choose to use computer during working time. But at other times, people prefer to use portable devices to read news. Due to the change of people’s reading habit, traditional media have to face to impacts and challenges caused by digital media and journalists have to provide news content which is multiplatform-friendly.

UC News is a digital news platform which provide services to both PC and mobile devices. It is the first batch of media platform, which provide cross-platform news in China. Today, UC News even provides news content in Indonesia. UC News has it own news website, news plugin in mobile browser apps, mobile-friendly website  and news apps of both Apple and Android. In Addition, UC News Indonesia even publishes news content on YouTube. From a technical level, UC News can be seen as an excellent digital news platform. However, it also has many problems that can not be ignored.

UC News on Different Platforms

The problem is the authenticity of the news on UC News are not guaranteed. The reason for this problem is because UC News allows users and self-media to upload news content to the platform, but UC does not supervise them effectively and seriously.

In my view, although UGC provide a new source to journalism and increase interactivity to readers, but also make the news environment complicated and chaotic. Therefore, News platform should strengthen supervision, and readers like us should also learn to identify the authenticity of the news in this digital generation.

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Week5 Funds, Journalism And Journalist

Funds are pretty important to journalism industry. Changes in funding could affect journalistic practice. For example digital journalists need different digital know-hows and traditional job markets are tougher, but has more chances for creating new outlets, etc. There are three main funding sources illustrated by online lecture: donations, sponsors and some traditional media try to fund new journalistic practice.

The example of Global Voices use attracted both donations and sponsors as its funding sources. It has 1200 volunteers around world and translates interesting news to more than 30 languages in 167 countries, it is really a big project. Moreover, Global Voices is a nonprofit foundation and never takes grants from government. In my opinion, it can avoid its news has any political inclination because of government investment.

Also from online lecture, we could find that entrepreneurial journalism can be seen as a new paradigm. DeMasi (2013) considered that this paradigm encourages graduate students and working journalists to become business people. He illustrated that “journalists need not sacrifice core values of independence, truth-telling and impartiality if they choose to become business owners”. These finding provides a lot of inspiration to Journalism student in future career.

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Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) funded by Chinese government and  mainly reports government policies

Most mainstream journalism organisation in China is funded by government, Bob Dietz have raised questions about the freedom of the foreign press in China.

Indeed, according to some research about Chinese Journalist “Chinese Investigative Journalists’ Dreams: Autonomy, Agency, and Voice”, due to the different national conditions, a lot of Chinese journalists and graduates of journalism major are more inclined to enter the government funding journalism organization, because it is more “stable”. However, following the development of society, more and more young Chinese people are willing to express new ideas on different platform. It is really a good trend to Chinese journalism industry.

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Preliminary Performance of Technology Journalism in China

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China’s media landscape is changing at an unprecedented pace, thanks in part to the new technology and the aggressive investments of Chinese billionaire. From the media-business perspective, this is a particular form of technology journalism. “A successful innovation system is fundamentally dependent on the interaction and shared knowledge between different professions. Media is a major source of shared knowledge between these actors in the public, private and academic sectors.” (Nordfors 2004)

March 20, Baidu Company announced the cancellation of the news source database. It will cancel the original news source mechanism, and upgraded to VIP club. This is an important symbol of active change for innovation journalism, and means that the traditional news source of divided will be going to the era of free competition distribution.

unnamedThe more important challenge comes from content competition changes. Into the mobile Internet era, the emergence of WeChat, Today’s Headlines and other content of business platform and the aggressive investments of Chinese billionaire both impact Baidu’s news source mechanism. Not only the advertising but also the original content has replaced the main source of income for newspapers and other journals in the 1990s.

Apart from the technology, the buying into media assets by business tycoons is also in line with in innovation journalism strategy. Journalism is a formidable actor in innovation systems (Nordfors 2004). Economists can benefit by including news media in their models because of the large volume of readers.

For instance, Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman Alibaba Group, has made the headlines after investing in both the social media platform Momo, Sina Weibo, the legacy newspaper South China Morning Post and the entertainment content producer China Vision Media.

Reference

  • Nordfors, D. (2004). Why we need innovation journalism and where it may have a market. First Conference on Innovation Journalism, 204.
  • BBC News 2016,Is China’s media tycoon Jack Ma the new Rupert Murdoch?, Ni,V, Britain, viewed 5 May 2016, < http://www.bbc.com&gt;

 

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