Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) introduces a new elective course in data journalism in the Winter quarter. Students get to explore new ground in storytelling by interpreting statistics and data visualization.
Professor Stayman Hou designed the course with emphasis in the application and tools for reporting. From collection, analysis to presentation of data, the course covers the methodology for each step. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to conduct computer-assisted reporting; generate infographics from data; utilize data visualization tools; and add interactive visualization elements to a website.
Apart from the technical aspect of data journalism, Professor Hou pointed out the ethical issues involved. He showed many real-life examples of how wrongful interpretation of data may result in misleading or even fake stories. He reminded students to upload the very fundamental values of journalism – truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and accountability – when handling data and statistics.
Journalism students are excited to learn about this new subject as an elective course and give positive feedback.
“Since I need to review many numerical reports on a daily basis in my ministry, I found the Data Journalism course to be very useful,” said first-year graduate student Steven Kim.
“I have realized the importance of interpreting data. With various historical examples of good data journalism and bad data journalism, I learn to provide accurate data with a good purpose so that no one might be misled. Data visualization skims down complicated data into simple graphs for public understanding, which is very refreshing. I can apply many things I learned in this course to my work,” added Kim.