Big Data and journalism are becoming inextricably linked. Currently, we seem to be embarking on the slippery slope of presenting statistics and data analysis as solid evidence, sans clarification or context. Even Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight website, after putting Donald Trump's chances of becoming the Republican nominee at 12% to 13%, waited to clarify the rationale behind the prediction. To some, a U.S. presidential election feels life-altering. That is literally the case when data are being run through algorithms and used to make decisions, such as mortgage qualification or university admittance.
MTV's first music video, The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," became stuck in my head when I read that Facebook EMEA VP Nicola Mendelsohn declared that Facebook will be "all video" in 5 years. Mendelsohn said that text has been declining every year and that Facebook users now view videos 8 billion times per day, up from 1 billion a year ago. Apparently, Facebook thinks video will kill off text, sooner rather than later.
As Sam Roe wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) article, for many years, "investigative reporters have approached stories with a similar mindset: Find the bad guys," and "copy down what people said and leave it at that." Big Data, the big disrupter of all industries, might alter that approach. The collection of massive amounts of data has caused practitioners in many fields to reconsider how they do business.
The Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015 caused a seismic shift in many areas, including media discussions of Big Data, which now focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). At first, it may seem difficult to understand how the IoT and terrorism are related, but security involves both a nation's borders and its data. These concerns are prompting new conversations about the IoT's role in the future of the Big Data landscape.
By Amy Affelt
- May 2016 Issue
Posted May 10, 2016