On November 9 and 10, in Valencia, the eighth edition of the Digital Communication Congress took place, focused on this occasion in Data Journalism. The event was divided into two parts: the conference of the first day offered a theoretical vision on data journalism. After an inaugural lecture, the rest of the day was organised in three round tables in which reference keynote speakers from the academic and professional field discussed and debated the latest trends in data journalism; the second day consisted of a workshop of practical exercises introductory to the subject.
José Luís Dader (Professor of Journalism at the Complutense University of Madrid) inaugurated the congress with his keynote speech Del Periodismo de Precisión al Periodismo de Datos (‘From Precision Journalism to Data Journalism’), in which he revealed the principles of data journalism and the reality that is linked to this journalistic ‘format’: it is not about using brand-new technological tools, but about having journalistic intuition and being honest and rigorous with the data we have.
In the first round table, Periodismo de datos en los medios españoles (‘Data journalism in the Spanish media’), the participants were José Cervera (Retiario / King Juan Carlos University), Antonio Delgado (Data journalist / Head of editorial innovation at WSL), Paula Guisado (El Mundo), and Rafael Montaner (Levante-EMV). Apart from showing examples and contextualising data journalism, it was inevitable to also address the results of the US elections. For several weeks, prior to the US elections, the press offered innumerable data on opinion polls and voting intentions. All the participants agreed on the difference between publishing the data of the electoral surveys and the results of the opinion polls, in which the data come from the demographic companies and the journalists do not work with them, as opposed to the data journalism in which the journalist manages to carry out an investigation from data that has had to work on, purify and investigate.
In the second round table, Acercamientos y experiencias en Periodismo de Datos. Docencia y práctica profesional (‘Approaches and experiences in Data Journalism. Teaching and professional practice’), the participants were Montse Quesada (Pompeu Fabra University), Juan Luis Manfredi (University of Castile-La Mancha), Jesus Escudero (El Confidencial) and Juan Julián Merelo (University of Granada). The speakers showed examples of excellent data journalism and reviewed the key points of this modality. Likewise, university teaching was also addressed, emphasising the need of a journalism student today to be trained in other disciplines beyond purely journalist training to produce content with more quality.
In the third and last round table, Convirtiendo los datos científicos en historias (‘Turning scientific data into stories’), the participants were Óscar Menéndez (Spanish Association of Scientific Communication), Pampa García (SINC Agency), Gloria Álvarez (Dubitare) and Michele Catanzaro (El Periódico). The participants explained how scientific news can be told from data. This session gave voice to scientific news, which always include a lot of data and is often misinterpreted by the press. Data always need good interpretation and mediation to be disseminated.
This year, the congress has had a specialised workshop introductory to data journalism, given by Antonio Delgado. In this activity, designed to bring the most practical part of data journalism to students, the emphasis was placed on what is essential when working with data: to understand them, to work on them and to acquire a practical look to facilitate their disposition. This express class had a great acceptance by Journalism students of the University of Valencia, as well as by other participants interested in the subject.
The congress was organised by Mediaflows and ScienceFlows research groups with the collaboration of the Language Theory and Communication Sciences Department, the Innovation Unit of the University of Valencia and Las Naves.