How the Global Open Data Movement is Transforming Journalism | Innovation Insights | Wired.com
"While traditional media continue their difficult decline, a cadre of the most innovative reporters, from Afghanistan to the Amazon, are quietly transforming journalism by harnessing the power of open data. Working in collaboration with civil society groups and governments, they are applying new digital tools to increasingly available data troves to tell stories via powerful interactive graphics. As a result, they are increasing transparency and empowering communities. In Brazil, for instance, Infoamazonia.org was one of the first efforts to create a cross-border map of data on environmental exploitation combined with journalist and citizen coverage. The site paints a detailed picture of the forces behind environmental degradation in the Amazon. Obtaining non-proprietary data and news coverage are vital to the success of the project. Recently, Infoamazonia reporters analyzing the National Institute for Space Research data discovered a 220% rise in the rate of deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil compared to the previous year. In Kenya, the Data Dredger project encourages traditional media to embrace data-driven journalism. Funded by USAID and led by Internews, the effort has created dozens of interactive graphics exploring Kenya’s most serious health issues and offered it to media outlets for free. Using these visualizations, Kenyan journalists have written stories on topics such as the exodus of much-needed doctors to other countries, and how counterfeit drugs are hindering the fight against malaria. Many data projects arise from concerns about global corruption and impunity. For example, the Afghan media development organization Nai has created a map of attacks against journalists in Afghanistan; Freedom House and the International Center for Journalists are creating a similar map for Mexico. The success of early data projects has shifted the tone from he-said, she-said sound bites to solid data sources, and has further inspired journalists, civil society organizations and governments to pool their efforts, and their data. Africa Open Data features datasets from 10 countries so far and Open Data Latinoamerica launched in May with data from five countries. Crowd-sourced and local data collection efforts are becoming more and more feasible because of new technologies. These include open source data collection kits and tools for data scraping, cleaning, analysis and visualization. Tools and resources offered by Ushahidi and OpenStreetMap, among others, have paved the way for journalists to create compelling data-driven visualizations ..."