Data journalism is taking on greater importance in helping audiences understand stories better and to drive trust between newsrooms and younger people interested in news.
In the latest episode of season three of the Making the Media Podcast, host Craig Wilson talks with the head of regions for Channel 4 News in the UK, Sunita Bhatti, who discusses the ways in which they believe data journalism can enhance their news coverage, bolstered by the appointment of a dedicated data correspondent.
In the episode, Sunita outlines the ethos behind the Channel 4 News brand, and how she believes the appropriate use of data can help audiences understand stories better if they are told in the right way. She tells host Craig Wilson, "By being able to use data journalism and data we're able just to unpack a bit more of the story for the audience. And I think these days people are so accustomed to getting their news in a variety of media that actually, when they're coming to watch us on our linear output or perhaps looking at us on digital platforms, they might well know a lot of the bare bones of that particular story. So we are looking at what's the extra bit of information or analysis that we can provide that tells our audience something that's really important that they need to know about that story?"
The episode also touches on the role which artificial intelligence (AI) can play in helping journalists filter through large datasets to uncover information.
Channel 4 News recently opened a new base in Leeds—they are headquartered in London—and Sunita talks about how they are using their new studio space and the use of graphics to help illustrate complex stories and make them relatable to the audience. She also says that data can be an important element in driving trust with younger people interested in news.
"If you can't trust the brand, then why would you be looking at what they're telling you? And I think as we've expanded our reach across other social media platforms and of late, you know, predominantly doing more in the TikTok space, I think those younger audiences, as you say, are perhaps being bombarded with information and trying to digest what's right and what's wrong, you know? Whether that's working out what's fake news or disinformation or just an explanation behind what do these figures actually mean?"
Find out more on the next episode of the Making the Media Podcast, available on all major podcast platforms on Friday, May 26.
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