“The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice” now published on Amsterdam University Press

The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice (which I co-edited with Liliana Bounegru) is out today on Amsterdam University Press (AUP) as part of a new Digital Studies book series which is also launching today. It is also available as an open access PDF which you can find linked to from the book’s web page. Here’s the blurb:

The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice provides a rich and panoramic introduction to data journalism, combining both critical reflection and practical insight. It offers a diverse collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world and the broader consequences of datafication in the news, serving as both a textbook and a sourcebook for this emerging field. With more than 50 chapters from leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, it explores the work needed to render technologies and data productive for journalistic purposes. It also gives a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organizations, startups, civil society organizations and beyond. The book includes sections on ‘doing issues with data’, ‘assembling data’, ‘working with data’, ‘experiencing data’, ‘investigating data, platforms and algorithms’, ‘organizing data journalism’, ‘learning data journalism together’ and ‘situating data journalism’.

The full table of contents can be found on Liliana Bounegru’s blog along with a selection of quotes about the book from Kate Crawford, Wendy Espeland, Emmanuel Didier, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Lina Dencik, Rob Kitchin, José van Dijck, Alberto Cairo, Celia Lury, Sylvain Parasie and Anja Bechmann.

We’re most grateful to Sarah Sze and her studio, the Victoria Miro gallery and Mudam Luxembourg for permission to feature a picture of Sarah’s “Fixed Points Finding a Home” on the cover of the book. Here’s a brief quote on why we thought this would be a suitable image for the book:

While it might not seem an obvious choice to put a work of sculpture on the cover of a book about journalism, we thought this image might encourage a relational perspective on data journalism as a kind of curatorial craft, assembling and working with diverse materials, communities and infrastructures to generate different ways of knowing, narrating and seeing the world at different scales and temporalities. Rather than focusing on the outputs of data journalism (e.g., with screenshots of visualizations or interactives), we wanted to reflect the different kinds of processes and collectives involved in doing journalism with data. Having both serendipitously encountered and been deeply absorbed by Sze’s exhibitions at the Mudam, Venice Biennale, ZKM, the Tate and beyond, we thought her work could provide a different (and hopefully less familiar) vantage point on the practice of data journalism which would resonate with relational perspectives on information infrastructures and “data assemblages.” Her installations embody a precise and playful sensibility towards repurposing found materials that visually paralleled what we were hoping to emphasize with our editorial of different accounts of data journalism for the book. Bruno Latour recently wrote that Sze’s approach to assembling materials can be considered to affirm “compositional discontinuities” (Latour, 2020) —which sits well with our hopes to encourage “critical data practice” and to tell stories both with and about the diverse materials and actors involved in data journalism, as we discuss further below, as well as with our editorial approach in supporting the different styles, voices, vernaculars and interests of the chapters in this book.

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