Best Practice in Data Journalism

Good journalism relies on verified facts, and sustainable robust democracies need engaged, informed citizens.


Good journalism relies on verified facts, and sustainable robust democracies need engaged, informed citizens. In this journalism is vital, yet is also profoundly challenged by the consequences of technological change. The communications technologies of our time, including pervasive information and access to Big Data, bring both opportunities and dilemmas.

As part of its continuing mission to make a positive contribution to journalism at a time of change, the Centre for Advancing Journalism is conducting a number of activities aimed at exploring the best practice in data journalism, and charting ways forward.

In September 2014 and June 2015 the Centre hosted a two day workshop, Best Practice in Data Journalism, bringing together a select group of invited data journalists and specialists in Big Data from a number of different academic disciplines and industries. They were joined by representatives of the federally funded AURIN project, government representatives involved in the Government 2.0 agenda, leading figures from industry involved in Big Data, and experts from a range of relevant University disciplines.

The aims of the best practice workshop were to:

  • Bring together Data Journalism practitioners to discuss their practice, challenges and aims
  • Promote conversations and connections between the nation’s best Data Journalists and relevant experts from the University and industry
  • Promote understanding of the challenges and opportunities of Data Journalism, in the interests of building effective responses, including through collaborations
  • Explore new technologies to facilitate the above through big data analysis and visualisation
  • A focus of the workshop was to explore the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) and the capabilities of data it offers for Data Journalism driven projects

AURIN is a $24 million initiative funded by the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund and Super Science schemes, and provides access to a wide range of data sets (over 1000) from more than 30 major data providers. It is being established to support research into the built environment and urban domain including designers and planners and academic researchers from a wide range of disciplines. The uniqueness of AURIN to other efforts is that it provides live programmatic access to data from the definitive data providers across Australia including government organisations such as the ABS, Department of Health, and Department of Transport and commercial organisations such as the Fairfax Australian Property Monitors.

The Centre for Advancing Journalism and AURIN are keen to develop data journalism projects and collaborations arising out of this workshop.

More recently, Centre Director Margaret Simons and Research Assistant Elyas Khan presented a keynote address “Journalism at the Crossroads” at the eResearch Australiasia 2016 Conference, in which they outlined the pressing need for collaborations between journalists and computer engineers, or “hacks and hackers”.

More information

Find out more about the conference on the eResearch website.