When I decided I wanted to be a journalist, somewhere between the first and second years of primary school, it never occurred to me that would involve data. Now, working with data every day, I realise how lucky I was. It certainly was not the result of carefully-calibrated career plans. I was just in the right place at the right time.
The way it happened says a lot about the state of data journalism in 2009. I believe it also tells us a lot about data journalism in 2019.
Adrian Holovaty, a developer from Chicago who had worked at the Washington Post and started Everyblock, came to give a talk to the newsroom in the then Guardian education centre on Farringdon Road in London. At that time I was a news editor at the print paper (then the centre of gravity), having worked online and edited a science section.
The more Holovaty spoke about using data to both tell stories and help people understand the world, the more something triggered in me. Not only couldI be doing this, but it actually reflected what I was doing more and more. Maybe I could be a journalist who worked with data. A “Data Journalist”.