By Noko Pela and Odwa Mkentane
Data that isn’t processed is meaningless.
This is the world according to Anina Mumm, the coordinater Data Clinic - an African Media Initiative, at the Highway Africa conference.
Mumm, together with University of Witwatersrand Journalism lecturer Dinesh Balliah conducted a rather successful workshop which aimed at equipping journalists with the right techniques of data processing.
The pair believes that processing data ultimately results in information for the reader. The data was presented and interpreted using the spreadsheet Microsoft Excel 2010.
The workshop focused on calculating data, sorting it according to its different categories, filtering, and how to transform the data into different shapes and graphs mouths.
According to Dinesh Balliah, the significance and purpose of this workshop is to introduce data journalism to journalists and she believes that using excel will be a basic start to data journalism.
She further adds that data journalism involves manipulating, interrogating and asking about information data sets.
Tshegofatso Bafana, second year Media studies and Communication management at Tshwane University of Technology student says, “Data Clinic was an insightful, informative and cultivating workshop.
“I didn’t know that numbers are important in journalism; I always thought that it’s something for BCom students. Anina and Dinesh have given me a new prospective on journalism, and that is data journalism,” she said.
Balliah says that data journalism is used in most cases when a politician makes claims prior to the elections that they have increased jobs or decreased the crime rate.
In these cases journalist are able to challenge or check the information before incorrect information is published.