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Data Journalism Initiative

Our world increasingly relies on data, which is ever easier to find and analyze, and that is certainly true of journalism, as well. Data helps support research and allows reporters to make sense of trends. It grounds reporting in facts and evidence.

But data can also be confusing and misleading if not understood or presented in ways that are relevant to the public. The Earth Journalism Network (EJN) understands that challenge. And that’s why we’ve been investing more in building our support for data journalism.

Building on past efforts that supported data journalism in regions such as the Amazon, the Himalayas, southern Africa, the Nile Basin and Europe, in August of 2019 EJN partnered with Resource Watch, an open-source data platform supported by the World Resources Institute, to host an environmental data journalism workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The workshop introduced journalists to the concept of data journalism, the Resource Watch platform and other tools to find and analyze data, which they could then use to build and illustrate stories.

The Resource Watch platform currently consists of more than 280 datasets drawn from a variety of sources, including research institutes, government agencies, academic institutions, intergovernmental organizations, civil society groups, and scientific journals and reports.

The data cover everything from deforestation to coral-reef bleaching to coastal flooding to power plants. The platform also has data on human welfare, such as poverty, population density and human migration.

Journalists can pick the data they’re interested in and overlay different datasets, helping them to see potential linkages between various environmental and social challenges and their effects and generate new story ideas.

As part of the partnership with Resource Watch, we selected five Indonesian journalists to write stories grounded in these datasets. You can see the results of that work further down the page under the Related Stories section. Some of it also appears on our Data Journalism section here.

This project comes in addition to our long-running support for the GeoJournalism platforms run by our partners in places such as those mentioned above.

EJN hopes to work with Resource Watch again, and with other partners, to enhance reporters’ data journalism capacity and support data-based stories in places beyond Indonesia. We are in the process of building more data-related tools and resources for the reporters in our network. Stay tuned to this page and our social media feeds for the latest.

Banner image by Clay Banks on Unsplash