From Computer-Assisted to Data-Driven: Journalism and Big Data

Journal article

Hammond, P (2015). From Computer-Assisted to Data-Driven: Journalism and Big Data. Journalism: theory, practice and criticism.
AuthorsHammond, P

Despite claims of continuity, contemporary data journalism is quite different from the earlier tradition of computer-assisted reporting. Though it echoes earlier claims about being scientific and democratic, these qualities are understood as resulting from better data access rather than as being something achieved by the journalist. In the context of Big Data in particular, human subjectivity tends to be downgraded in importance, even understood as getting in the way if it means hubristically theorising about causation rather than working with correlation and allowing the data to speak. Increasing ‘datafication’ is not what is driving changes in the profession, however. Rather, the impact of Big Data tends to be understood in ways that are consonant with pre-existing expectations, which are shaped by the broader contemporary post- humanist political context. The same is true in academic analysis, where actor- network theory seems to be emerging as the dominant paradigm for understanding data journalism, but in largely uncritical ways.

Keywordsactor-network theory, Big Data, computer-assisted reporting, data journalism, objectivity, post-humanism
JournalJournalism: theory, practice and criticism
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/1464884915620205
Publication dates
Print15 Dec 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited27 Jun 2018
Accepted02 Nov 2015
Accepted author manuscript
CC BY 4.0
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