Data Journalist: what they do, how to become one, and where to study
As our world becomes increasingly data-driven, it's no surprise that data journalism has emerged as a rapidly growing profession. A data journalist is a specialized type of journalist who uses data analysis, visualization, and storytelling techniques to report on complex issues and uncover important stories that might otherwise go untold. In this article, we'll explore the ins and outs of this exciting and dynamic profession, from the tasks and responsibilities to the demand and salary ranges. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.
- Introduction to Data Journalist as a Profession
- Tasks and Responsibilities
- Pros and Cons
- Salary Ranges
- Where do Data Journalists Work?
- Important Qualities of a Successful Data Journalist
- Step-by-Step Career Path
- How to Become a Data Journalist
- Where to Become a Data Journalist
- Can You Enter the Profession with a Different Degree?
Introduction to Data Journalist as a Profession
Data journalism is a relatively new field that has emerged in response to the growing availability of data and the increasing demand for more in-depth, data-driven reporting. As a data journalist, you'll be responsible for gathering and analyzing large amounts of data, identifying patterns and trends, and presenting your findings in an accessible and engaging way.
There are a number of specializations within the field of data journalism, including investigative journalism, data visualization, data analysis, and coding. Depending on your interests and skills, you may choose to specialize in one or more of these areas.
Tasks and Responsibilities
Some of the key tasks and responsibilities of a data journalist include:
- Gathering and cleaning data from a variety of sources
- Analyzing and interpreting data to identify patterns and trends
- Visualizing data using charts, graphs, and other tools
- Creating compelling and engaging stories using data
- Collaborating with other journalists, editors, and designers to produce high-quality journalism
- Staying up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques in data journalism
Pros and Cons
- High demand for skilled data journalists
- Opportunities to uncover important stories and make a real impact
- Chance to work on a wide range of issues and topics
- Opportunity to work with cutting-edge tools and techniques
- Requires strong analytical and technical skills
- May involve long hours and tight deadlines
- Can be challenging to make complex data accessible and engaging for a general audience
- May require significant investment in time and resources to develop necessary skills and expertise
Data journalism is a growing field with high demand for skilled professionals. In the United States, there were 38,000 new data-related jobs added in 2020 alone. The demand for data journalists is particularly high in large metropolitan areas and in industries such as healthcare, finance, and technology.
The salary range for data journalists varies depending on factors such as location, level of experience, and area of specialization. In the United States, the average salary for a data journalist is around $72,000 per year, while in Canada, the average salary is around $54,000 per year. In the UK, the average salary for a data journalist is around £35,000 per year, and in Australia, the average salary is around AU$77,000 per year.
Where do Data Journalists Work?
Data journalists work in a variety of settings, including traditional news organizations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. They may also work as freelancers or independent consultants, offering their services to a range of clients.
Data journalists are needed to help make sense of complex data and uncover important stories that might otherwise go untold. They play a crucial role in holding power to account and helping to create a more informed and engaged society.
Important Qualities of a Successful Data Journalist
Some of the key qualities of a successful data journalist include:
- Strong analytical and technical skills
- Excellent communication and storytelling abilities
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Attention to detail and accuracy
- Curiosity and a desire to uncover the truth
- Ability to work well under pressure and meet tight deadlines
Step-by-Step Career Path
- Obtain a bachelor's degree in journalism, data science, computer science, statistics, or a related field. 2. Develop expertise in data analysis, visualization, and storytelling techniques through internships, freelance work, or personal projects.
- Build a portfolio of data journalism projects to showcase your skills and experience.
- Consider obtaining a master's degree in journalism, data science, or a related field to further specialize and deepen your knowledge.
- Gain professional experience by working at a news organization, non-profit, or government agency in a data journalism role.
- Network with other data journalists and attend conferences and events to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and tools in the field.
How to Become a Data Journalist
To become a data journalist, it is helpful to obtain a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as journalism, data science, computer science, or statistics. While it is possible to enter the profession with a different degree, having a background in these fields can be a significant advantage.
In addition to formal education, it is important to develop expertise in data analysis, visualization, and storytelling techniques through internships, freelance work, or personal projects. Building a portfolio of data journalism projects can help showcase your skills and experience to potential employers.
While higher education can be helpful, it is not always necessary to complete a residency or graduate program to become a data journalist. Many professionals enter the field through hands-on experience and self-directed learning.
Where to Become a Data Journalist
There are a number of universities and colleges in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia that offer programs and courses in data journalism. Here are five examples from each country:
- Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
- Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism
- University of Missouri School of Journalism
- University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
- Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
- Ryerson University School of Journalism
- Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication
- University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
- Concordia University Department of Journalism
- Mount Royal University School of Journalism and Communication
- City, University of London Department of Journalism
- University of Sheffield Department of Journalism Studies
- Goldsmiths, University of London Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
- Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Culture
- University of Leeds School of Media and Communication
- University of Melbourne Centre for Advancing Journalism
- Queensland University of Technology School of Communication
- University of Technology Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
- RMIT University School of Media and Communication
- University of Canberra Faculty of Arts and Design
Can You Enter the Profession with a Different Degree?
While having a degree in journalism, data science, computer science, or statistics can be advantageous, it is possible to enter the profession with a different degree. Many data journalists come from diverse backgrounds, including political science, economics, and social sciences.
However, it is important to have some level of expertise in data analysis, visualization, and storytelling techniques. This can be developed through self-directed learning, internships, freelance work, or personal projects. Building a portfolio of data journalism projects can also help showcase your skills and experience to potential employers.