skip to main content


Title: Where Do Stories Come From? Examining the Exploration Process in Investigative Data Journalism
Investigative data journalists work with a variety of data sources to tell a story. Though prior work has indicated that there is a close relationship between journalists' data work practices and that of data scientists. However, these relationships and data work practices are not empirically examined, and understanding them is crucial to inform the design of tools that are used by different groups of people including data scientists and data journalists. Thus, to bridge this gap, we studied investigative reporters' data work practices with one non-profit investigative newsroom. Our study design includes two activities: 1) semi-structured interviews with journalists, and 2) a sketching activity allowing journalists to depict examples of their work practices. By analyzing these data and synthesizing them across related prior work, we propose the major phases in the data-driven investigative journalism story idea generation process. Our study findings show that the journalists employ a collection of multiple, iterative, cyclic processes to identify journalistically "interesting'' story ideas. These processes both significantly resemble and show subtle nuanced differences with data science work practices identified in prior research. We further verified our proposal through a member check with key informants. This work offers three primary contributions. First, it provides a close glimpse into the main phases of investigative journalists' data-driven story idea generation technique. Second, it complements prior work studying formal data science practices by examining data-driven investigative journalists, whose primary expertise lies outside computing. Third, it identifies particular points in the data exploration processes that would benefit from design interventions and suggests future research directions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1844901
NSF-PAR ID:
10333951
Author(s) / Creator(s):
;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume:
5
Issue:
CSCW2
ISSN:
2573-0142
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 31
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Gwizdka, Jacek ; Rieh, Soo Young (Ed.)
    Keeping up with the research literature plays an important role in the workflow of scientists – allowing them to understand a field, formulate the problems they focus on, and develop the solutions that they contribute, which in turn shape the nature of the discipline. In this paper, we examine the literature review practices of data scientists. Data science represents a field seeing an exponential rise in papers, and increasingly drawing on and being applied in numerous diverse disciplines. Recent efforts have seen the development of several tools intended to help data scientists cope with a deluge of research and coordinated efforts to develop AI tools intended to uncover the research frontier. Despite these trends indicative of the information overload faced by data scientists, no prior work has examined the specific practices and challenges faced by these scientists in an interdisciplinary field with evolving scholarly norms. In this paper, we close this gap through a set of semi-structured interviews and think-aloud protocols of industry and academic data scientists (N = 20). Our results while corroborating other knowledge workers’ practices uncover several novel findings: individuals (1) are challenged in seeking and sensemaking of papers beyond their disciplinary bubbles, (2) struggle to understand papers in the face of missing details and mathematical content, (3) grapple with the deluge by leveraging the knowledge context in code, blogs, and talks, and (4) lean on their peers online and in-person. Furthermore, we outline future directions likely to help data scientists cope with the burgeoning research literature. 
    more » « less
  2. With a call for schools to infuse data across the curriculum, many are creating curricula and examining students’ thinking in data-intensive problems. As the discipline of statistics education broadens to data science education, there is a need to examine how practices in data science can inform work in K-12. We synthesize literature about statistics investigation processes, data science as a field and practices of data scientists. Further, we provide results from an ethnographic and interview study of the work of data scientists. Together, these inform a new framework to support data investigation processes. We explicate the practices and dispositions needed and offer a glimpse of how the framework can be used to move the discipline of data science education forward. 
    more » « less
  3. Many journalists and newsrooms now incorporate audience contributions in their sourcing practices by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). However, their sourcing needs and practices as they seek information from UGCs are still not deeply understood by researchers or well-supported in tools. This paper first reports the results of a qualitative interview study with nine professional journalists about their UGC sourcing practices, detailing what journalists typically look for in UGCs and elaborating on two UGC sourcing approaches: deep reporting and wide reporting. These findings then inform a human-centered design approach to prototype a UGC sourcing tool for journalists, which enables journalists to interactively filter and rank UGCs based on users’ example content. We evaluate the prototype with nine professional journalists who source UGCs in their daily routines to understand how UGC sourcing practices are enabled and transformed, while also uncovering opportunities for future research and design to support journalistic sourcing practices and sensemaking processes. 
    more » « less
  4. Remote scientific collaborations have been pivotal in generating scientific discoveries and breakthroughs that accelerate research in many fields. Emerging VR applications for remote work, which utilize commercially available head-mounted displays (HMDs), offer the promise to enhance collaboration, through spatial and embodied experiences. However, there is little evidence on how professionals in general, and scientists in particular, could use existing commercial VR applications to support their cognitive and creative collaborative processes while exploring real-world data as part of day-to-day collaborative work. In this paper, we present findings from an empirical study with 14 coral reef scientists, examining how they chose to utilize available resources in existing virtual environments for their ongoing data-driven collaborative research. We shed light on scientists’ data organization practices, identify affordances unique to VR for supporting cognition in a collaborative setting, and highlight design requirements for supporting cognitive and creative collaboration processes in future tools. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Concerns about the spread of misinformation online via news articles have led to the development of many tools and processes involving human annotation of their credibility. However, much is still unknown about how different people judge news credibility or the quality or reliability of news credibility ratings from populations of varying expertise. In this work, we consider credibility ratings from two “crowd” populations: 1) students within journalism or media programs, and 2) crowd workers on UpWork, and compare them with the ratings of two sets of experts: journalists and climate scientists, on a set of 50 climate-science articles. We find that both groups’ credibility ratings have higher correlation to journalism experts compared to the science experts, with 10-15 raters to achieve convergence. We also find that raters’ gender and political leaning impact their ratings. Among article genre of news/opinion/analysis and article source leaning of left/center/right, crowd ratings were more similar to experts respectively with opinion and strong left sources. 
    more » « less