Updated at 11:48 a.m. on March 13, 2018
Data journalism is a critical part of newsroom development and media innovation — but oftentimes, people working in the field find themselves spread across different locations, positions and industries. In a field with numerous specializations and rapidly changing technologies, collaborating across borders and disciplines is necessary for success.
Teemu Henriksson, who will be taking over as the Den’s director, said that as the field of data journalism emerges from the margins and into the mainstream, there’s a growing pool of people interested in data journalism, but no centralization.
“There are sites that deal with data journalism,” said Henriksson, “but there’s no one platform or hub that puts all these ideas together in a centralized way.”
According to Bertrand Pecquerie, GEN’s CEO, “Collaboration, or what we call on the platform ‘matchmaking,’ is the core challenge we are aiming to tackle.”
In order to achieve this, they have organized the site into five sections: news, community, matchmaking, datastore and jobs.
The news section will be used to highlight data journalism stories, visualizations, tools and best practices in an attempt to keep users up-to-date, as well as inspired. These will be featured in their newsletter as well, which will be sent out Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.
“We thought that we would be able to provide a one-stop shop for this type of information,” said Henriksson, “So that people interested in data journalism can just follow us.”
Both the community and matchmaking sections will be used to address GEN’s main goal: collaboration. While the community section will be aimed at fostering networking, with detailed profiles and direct messaging to contact other users, the matchmaking section will be more specific.
GEN envisions this section to be a place where people can go to find collaborators for specific projects. Freelancers, newsrooms, designers and technologists can connect across countries and borders to create data-driven stories.
Another challenge for data journalists is sharing tools and data. Although many journalists publish their data and code alongside their articles, it can be difficult for others to locate full datasets and tools online. “That’s where we hope to help,” said Henricksson, by cataloging data and tools that are already available in the Den’s datastore.
The final section will be the first-ever jobs board dedicated specifically to data journalism jobs.
The Den will launch publically on March 22.
“Data journalism is such a thriving field in news media,” said Henriksson, who has been working on the site since November. “I thought that this would be such a great opportunity to help data journalism to thrive, grow and expand.”