We live in a data society. Journalists are becoming data analysts and data curators, and computation is an essential tool for reporting. Data and computation reshape the way a reporter sees the world and composes a story. They also control the operation of the information ecosystem she sends her journalism into, influencing where it finds audiences and generates discussion.
So every reporting beat is now a data beat, and computation is an essential tool for investigation. But digitization is affected by inequities, leaving gaps that often reflect the very disparities reporters seek to illustrate. Computation is creating new systems of power and inequality in the world. We rely on journalists, the “explainers of last resort”, to hold these new constellations of power to account.
We report on computation, not just with computation.