March 25, 2016 by Joscelyn Jurich
Photo by Mike Tigas on Flickr.
Joscelyn Jurich is a Ph.D. candidate in communications at Columbia University.
I spent the past several months interviewing data journalism professors, data journalists (many of whom teach data journalism as adjunct professors), journalism students and recent graduates across the country. The vast majority of them reported data journalism as a thriving and vital field. They described journalists’ and journalism students’ wide-ranging and innovative investigative projects, inspired data journalism curricula and community data journalism projects doing essential reporting. But they also reported a lack of advanced data journalism courses, a dearth of full-time professors able to teach at advanced levels, and a pressing need for both more critical approaches to data analysis and cross-departmental data courses.
Funded by Knight Foundation, our research team reviewed and analyzed the contemporary state of data journalism education in the U.S. through these in-depth interviews and by analyzing the curricula of about 113 journalism programs in the United States accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC). This number represents about a quarter of the programs in the country.
We recently published our results as a free report, “Teaching Data and Computational Journalism,” launched this month at the 2016 National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference. It includes sample curricula for a wide variety of computational and data journalism courses, along with a proposed model for a graduate lab-based degree in emerging media.