The State of Data Journalism 2021

The Survey is delighted to announce the launch of a survey to map the global state of data journalism. We aim to provide a snapshot of the field over the last year. The survey will focus on the characteristics of the data journalism community, the tools and technology used, and how data journalism is evolving. The resulting report, The State of Data Journalism 2021, will be released in 2022.

Our global survey is aimed at everyone involved in data journalism. We are targeting editors, freelancers, full and part time journalists, educators and researchers, and students.

The survey is anonymous and GDPR compliant. It will be open for participants until the end of the year.

To thank you for your participation, we have selected some very special rewards. A raffle will be drawn for the prizes, which includes Amazon coupons and a trip to Perugia to attend the International Journalism Festival 2022. If you opt in for the raffle, your email address will not be linked to your answers.

Your connections matter: please share the survey with your colleagues, connections, acquaintances who work in the data journalism field.

Our Mission

Data journalism is now an established part of the media ecosystem, with many newsrooms having a dedicated data team and other ones looking to create one. The formalisation of the field is though less than a decade old, as we discuss in our latest edition of the Data Journalism Handbook. All the while the practices, skill sets, and technologies used to do data journalism are rapidly evolving (see our reason n.8 to learn data journalism now).

On the one hand, we think the establishment status of the field means that data journalism deserves to be studied, mapped, and taken seriously. On the other hand, we see that its dynamics and rapid evolution indicate the need to generate continuous snapshots of developing an understanding of how data journalism is conducted, and how it changes over time.

Yet another exciting reason to observe and study the field is exemplified by the imaginative, collaborative, problem-solving nature of data journalism. As our Handbook reminds us, data journalism is made by individuals who blend together different data sources, analysis tools, and visualisation, to create powerful storytelling. What is possible then, and how are things being done, we ask?

Beyond this, however, we acknowledge the challenges for journalists to upskill themselves beyond the realms of journalism. This includes learning statistics, data visualisation and programming. And further to that, to keep up with the pace of evolving technology. As time progresses, new tools get adopted and some see the dawn of day. Team structures change, and new job opportunities arise. All the while, data journalists are affected by the same struggles of other media players: shrinking resources, time scarcity, and waning public trust in journalism.

Within this complex landscape, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to data journalists, but it also put them in the spotlight thanks to newly gained audience attention. We ask: what are the implications of the pandemic on data journalists’ work practices, and the reputation of the field?

The reflections presented were the driving factor that led us to launch the State of Data Journalism 2021. At present, the field is lacking a regular and systematic approach that can help us make sense of the role, modus operandi, and industry composition of data journalism. Previous efforts include an academic paper by Bahareh Heravi and Mirko Lorenz (2017) and a report by the Google News Lab (2017).

These studies, also at least partially resulting from surveys, generated useful and unique insights. Yet much has happened since 2017, the result of fast moving technology, rapidly-evolving newsrooms, the rise of disinformation, and a global pandemic. We build upon the learned lessons from these authors, and create a survey that poses new, relevant questions. Our survey will help us understand the field now, in 2021. is created by the European Journalism Centre and supported by Google News Initiative.



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