At last I found the time to peruse the data journalism handbook. For me this kind of journalism is interesting: I am a journalist (although not a very good one), with some interest and (slight) education in programming and math. I have skimmed the book before, and it gave me the impression that data journalism needs exactly those skills, plus some knowledge in graphics. So I read the handbook more closely to get better idea about this kind of journalism.
Other than my own background, my interest in learning data journalism comes from the desire to find out how computers impact modern journalism. A lot of discussions have been made about how the Internet influence the publishing world, how it obsoletes and marginalises printing media. More recently, more attention has been paid to social media. But I haven’t heard much about discussion about how computers (and Internet) impact the process of journalism itself. There are some mumblings about “citizen journalism”, which is enabled by easy Internet access but it seems it doesn’t have significant effect.
Statisticians have long known that computers make it easy to analyse data, and more recently computer scientists have developed algorithms and tools to learn from the web and social networks. The tools have been used for various purposes, like decision making and business intelligence. With data journalism, journalists use data analysis and code to tell stories. The handbook tells how data analysis can change journalism: for example, journalists can shifts their main focus from the first ones to report to telling us what a development might actually mean.
In the handbook we can find some case study and examples how media organisations did data journalism to tell their stories. Sadly there are not enough details in the book if you want to start doing data journalism, but it is a great starting point. I am still digesting the information in the book. Hopefully I can tell you more about data journalism.