The argumentative power of data and narrative in journalism

Nick Diakopoulos, summarizing discussion at the Computation + Journalism Symposium:

This brings us back to the raw cultural difference of the value of “theory” or “model” (i.e. understanding the central tendency and abstraction of data) versus the “anecdote” or “outlier” that is so important to journalists feeling they’ve got a good story to tell. We may be just at the beginning of understanding the benefits and tradeoffs of the narrative-dominant frame versus the analytic-dominant frame, but it’s certain that the cultural dilemma of how news communication is approached underscores a central challenge in integrating computation and journalism.

Read “Finding tools vs. making tools: Discovering common ground between computer science and journalism” at Nieman Lab.

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