Is the Australia government facilitating data journalism?

“Data-driven journalism is the future. Journalists need to be data-savvy. It used to be that you would get stories by chatting to people in bars, and it still might be that you’ll do it that way some times. But now it’s also going to be about poring over data and equipping yourself with the tools to analyze it and picking out what’s interesting. And keeping it in perspective, helping people out by really seeing where it all fits together, and what’s going on in the country.”

— Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide Web
(Data Journalism Handbook, n.d.)

Data journalism is undoubtedly growing in significance to journalism, particularly with the rise of digitisation.

Journalists can use data to increase the credibility of their work and are able to use it and translate it in a way that is appealing, entertaining, interactive and informative for the public audience.

While this importance of data in journalism is difficult to deny, there can be limitations to its impact in the industry, particularly in how governments may facilitate it through the data they release and share with the public and with the journalists.

Australia has been seen as being somewhat behind other countries in the area of data-driven journalism and the government has been seen to have played quite a significant role in this as the government has taken “the approach that data collected by the Government belongs to the government” which hinders on how much data is accessible as some agencies may release certain data while others may not. This may therefore hinder the role of the journalist as a watchdog of these agencies as being restricted from certain data can restrict them from the full story in some instances.

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