GEN Summit Day 2 (Afternoon) - Refreshing Perspectives From Key Agents in Data Journalism

19 June 2015


Gabriel Mabille is a student at the EFJ School of Journalism in Levallois-Perret, France, and the GEN Summit 2015 blogger in Barcelona. Read his experience of the second afternoon at the Summit:

The lunch session of the second day at the GEN Summit in Barcelona was marked by the  exciting presentation of Google Trends  and its innovative features to access real time information about searches. The room filled quickly. Google's staff mentioned how some newsrooms are already using this tool to build their stories.

The conferences of the afternoon in the Sala Teatre were passionate and gave many hints about the future of news on the specific questions of innovation, data journalism, interactions on social media and responses from media users to advertisement campaigns on tv, newspapers, smart watches or mobile applications. 

Nic Newman

David Levy and Nic Newman from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism presented this year's Reuters Institute Digital News Report. The results of the study showed the media landscape and consumption for twelve countries (UK, US, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Japan and Australia). There is a strong growth in news consumption via smartphones and a rise of mobile alerts. At the same time, a decline in print and a significant jump in social media. The power of some brands like BBC in the UK remains strong, where it is the leading news application on mobiles. You can watch the whole session here. Tom Kent, Standard Editor at the Associated Press, moderated the following debate. 

A session about Data-Driven Newsrooms followed, with Frederic Filloux, Monday Note editor and former head of Digital, Les Echos; Haile Owusu, Chief Data Scientist at Mashable, and Noemi Ramirez,  Chief Digital Officer at El Pais. They talked about trends in datajournalism. Owusu is working on a product that could predict social engagement response before publication. Everything is made possible thanks to algorithms, keywords and predictions. 

According to Frederic Filloux, "80% of newsrooms will have a completely new content management system (CMS) within the next 3 or 5 years". Most newsrooms will even build their own system! For him, "the newsroom is morphing into a content factory". A debate went on about quality journalism against recycled journalism (same article found on multiple plaftorms or websites).

Frederic Filoux

Journalists need to push their story on social networks. For example, The Guardian uses a friendly interface where journalists can follow the lifecycle of their story, almost like a game. "We have to bear in mind that journalists are very conservative concerning these new practices and methods," said Filloux.

Three riveting presentations followed the coffee break. In 'Going viral',  pieces of advice were given to news corporations about using social networks, by Mary Fizgerald, Editor-in-Chief of OpenDemocracy; Marc-Antoine Durand, Bobler CEO; Jaron Gilinsky, Storyhunter CEO; and Armin Wolf, Anchor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief at ORF (Austrian Public Broadcaster). 

A very interesting session about 'What Cross-Border Collaboration can bring to Investigative Journalism' followed, with Rachel Oldroyd, Director of Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ); Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), who joined via Skype; and Mar Cabra, Head of the Data Unit also at ICIJ. Oldroyd explained how they were able to deal with extremely sensitive materials during their coverage of Wikileaks and war reports. Cabra mentioned that having hired two programmers the year before had meant a big change at ICIJ approach to data, and she stressed that when 100 people were working together on SwissLeaks and LuxLeaks "no information was leaked because it all comes down to trust: the human element." 

The ultimate joint discussion gave a broader vision on data journalism thanks to the propositions and evocations of Simon Rogers, Data Editor at Google and Director of the Data Jounalism Awards; Shazna Nessa, Director of Journalism at the Knight Foundation; Mohammad El-Haddad, Data Editor for Al-Jazeera, Antoine Laurent, Strategist for Code for Africa and Daniela Krauss, Managing Director at the Forum Journalismus und Medien in Austria. The future of newsroom will be definitely entertwined with data journalism. Dr Krauss desribed a kind of love story between journalists and data experts. During the conclusions and the questions, the best profile for newsrooms will be someone with both skills; the capacity of the journalist to create powerful stories, or impressive editorial concepts, with the technological and scientific expertise of a coder!

The second social event took place at the Cosmocaixa Barcelona on Thursday evening. The lists of winners was announced for the 2015 edition of Data journalism Awards during a Ceremony.