Like most kids, Amirah Coleman loves music. But when this 12-year-old jams out to her favorite tracks, she doesn’t play them on headphones or a home stereo.
Instead, she steps up to a pair of Technics 1200 turntables and loads the songs into the Serato computer program. From there she cues up a Pioneer S9 mixer to layer the tracks over each other, then uses the turntables to sync the beats and adjust the pitch until the songs blend into one seamless playlist.
Journalists incorporate data into their reporting for good reason: numbers tell us important, odd and interesting things about ourselves.
Hidden within raw data are insights about our patterns, problems and trends, such as the frequency of our activities, crime levels, how we distribute goods and services, where we have pockets of poverty or wealth, how we use our time and countless other measurable facts.
But as more journalists begin to lean on data as a reporting tool, they need to keep a keen eye on just how effectively — and ethically — they’re using it.
Rodrigo Zamith, an assistant professor of journalism at University of Massachusetts Amherst, does just that.