Beginning of Data Journalism in Pakistan

“When you do what you fear most, then you can do anything.” ― Stephen Richards

What will happen if a multi-disciplinary teams of journalists, technologists, designers and developers were under one roof for few hours a day for 3 days? We experienced the same at d|BootCamp – the data journalism event organised in Karachi, Pakistan by CEJ at IBA in collaboration with International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Hacks Hackers (HH), Knight International, TPI-LUMS, Code for Africa.

It was an excellent workshop focused on multi-disciplinary teamwork. All the participants had hands-on experience on working with data science tools (scraping, cleaning, managing, visualizing, geo-mapping) with a focus to deliver a workable solution by end of workshop which in reality helped to use the tools being introduced during the training sessions – perfect training approach.

The session leaders introduced us the new dimension of journalism – ‘Data Journalism’ and opened our minds to explore unlimited possibilities and opportunities to develop solutions to help millions of common people with available public data.

Data Journalism can bring revolution and transparency in developing countries like Pakistan by revealing hidden facts and information. Journalists and social activists can use this information to raise awareness for key issues, question government performance, and budget spending etc.

Access to Data in Pakistan from official sources and quality of the data available being highlighted as the major issue during the panel discussion by subject matter experts. Despite of the challenges, at-least we are lucky to have the data available compared to many developing countries. I’m amazed to learn that data available from current sources in Pakistan is enough to kick start Data Journalism projects despite of questionable quality and reliability. However, I’m sure with time these issues will be highlighted and public awareness will push the sources to fill the gaps.

The workshop session leaders, mentors from leading media agencies guided the participants, the basics of developing data driven WebApps, InfoGraphics, Mobile Apps. Although, the d|bootcamp closed with awarding sponsorship to five projects related to social causes as a stepping stone of Data Journalism in Pakistan. The story doesn’t ends here but this is just the beginning of new dawn.