I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I only believe in pleasures. People who call reading detective fiction or eating dessert a guilty pleasure make me want to puke. Pedophilia is a pleasure a person should have guilt about. Not chocolate.
Like chocolate and peanut butter, data and journalism naturally go together.
Paul Bradshaw writes at Poynter:
Statistics and numbers in general are nothing new to journalists. When I talk about data I mean information that can be processed by computers.
This is a crucial distinction: It is one thing for a journalist to look at a balance sheet on paper; it is quite another to be able to dig through those figures on a spreadsheet, or to write a programming script to analyse that data, and match it to other sources of information. Computers can also more easily analyse new types of data, such as live data, large amounts of text, user behaviour patterns, and network connections.
And that is potentially transformational. Adding computer processing power to our journalistic arsenal allows us to do more, faster, more accurately, and with others. All of which opens up new opportunities and new dangers. Things are going to change.
Image: Numbers by Luis Argerich via Flickr/Creative Commons.