On Wednesday I presented my paper from IAMCR 2010 to the Centre’s weekly research seminar. The paper explores crowd sourced investigation tool Help Me Investigate, and in doing so touches on some wider issues around changes in journalistic practices.

I was fortunate enough to be asked many probing questions about the work, which I hope will help me improve the paper. However a wider set of concerns and questions arose which are outside the scope of this piece of work. Nonetheless, they are valid lines of enquiry and so they seemed worth capturing here on the blog. Who knows, I might come back to them later.

The questions concerned the way in which emerging journalistic practices seem to be more about the process of creating stories through new means, rather than about the stories themselves. In particular, data journalism was described as being a fetish. That is not to say it is fashionable, rather that it is understood to have inherent powers which have been subjectively applied to it, and which may not stand up to critique.

So, what do you think: is data journalism a fetish?

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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