Data journalism is an evolving form of investigative journalism. In previous research and handbooks published on this topic, this form of journalism has been called computer assisted reporting and data-driven journalism, as well as precision, computational or database journalism.
In Sweden, this form of journalism is still fairly uncommon. Since 2011, researchers at Södertorn University have been working together with data journalists at SVT (Swedish public service television) to develop knowledge about methods and challenges. In November 2012, the project group was expanded to include five daily newspapers, Aftonbladet (national tabloid), Svenska Dagbladet (national morning paper), Norrköpings Tidningar (regional publishing house), Helsingborgs Dagblad (regional morning paper) and Mittmedia (regional publishing company), the Swedish public service radio as well as the software company, SAS. The expanded project will end in 2014.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the development of data journalism at these media companies, using action research methods. The content of this paper is based on an online survey of journalists working at the participating media companies and in-depth interviews with editors at these companies. The results indicate that, based on how this field is currently perceived by the journalists in the survey, there is a common definition of data journalism. Furthermore, the attitudes towards data journalism during the process of introducing new methods and genres of journalism into “old” organizations are correlated to the level of perceived experience in data journalism working methods. The main challenges facing the working methods of data journalism today are a shortage of time and the need for training and developing data journalism skills.