Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Data Journalism Ethics: Tricky Questions Buried in the Numbers

Data Journalism Ethics

"Good enough" isn't good enough if you are a data journalist. Even "accurate" isn't good enough. Participants in the 2014 Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference in San Francisco looked at "Tricky Questions Buried in the Numbers" during a panel moderated by Sally Lehrman, senior fellow in journalism ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Three highly regarded investigative journalists and civil rights attorney Eva Jefferson Paterson, president of the Equal Justice Society in Oakland, Calif., highlighted the dangers of skewed data that could undermine investigative work at each step of gathering, interpreting and presenting data.

Here are their presentations, tip sheets and other useful resources to enhance your data journalism ethics.

Data Journalism Ethics Tipsheet
Three Critical Practices to Improve Data Reporting

Storify
Expert data journalists emphasized the basic ethical principles of accuracy, fairness and inclusion when working on investigations.

Jennifer LaFleur, senior editor for data journalism, Center for Investigative Reporting
Go for Accurate, not "Good Enough"
Audio | Slideshow

Eva Paterson, president, Equal Justice Society
Bias and Data
Audio | Slideshow
The Implicit Prejudice
Seeing is Believing?

Ricardo Sandoval Palos, senior editor, NPR's Morning Edition
Bust Your Own Assumptions
Audio | Slideshow

Chrys Wu, developer advocate, The New York Times
The Ethics of Confusion
Audio | Slideshow


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