Journalists have a reputation for dismissing data about their stories. But it’s undeserved.
After all, the axiom “if it bleeds, it leads” describes a newsroom practice driven by the metrics of newsstand sales and broadcast ratings. Pulitzers and Emmys are qualitative data that indicates a reporter’s work is respected by her peers.
Journalists don’t hate data. They just prefer data that’s easy to understand (because they’re busy), gives them immediately useful information about how to serve their audiences (because they’re still busy), and confirms that their work makes a difference to their newsrooms and communities (because that’s the mission).
Story by WWU Assistant Professor of Journalism Betsy O'Donovan