Responsibilities and Required Skills in Recent “Data Journalist” Job ads…

A quick peek at a couple of recent job ads that describe what you might be expected to do…

From the BBC – Senior Data Journalist. In part, the role responsibilities include:

  • generating ideas for data-driven stories and for how they might be developed and visualized
  • exploring those ideas using statistical tools – and presenting them to wider stakeholders from a non-statistical background
  • reporting on and analysing data in a way that contributes to telling compelling stories on an array of news platforms
  • collaborating with reporters, editors, designers and developers to bring those stories to publication
  • exploring and summarizing data using relational database software
  • visualizing and to find patterns in spatial data using GIS software
  • using statistical tools to identify significant data trends
  • representing the data team and the Visual Journalism team at editorial meetings
  • leading editorially on data projects as required and overseeing the work of other data team colleagues
  • using skills and experience to advise on best approaches to data-led storytelling and the development and publication of data-led projects

Required technical skills include “a good understanding of statistics and statistical analysis; a strong grasp of how to clean, parse and query data; a good knowledge of some of the following: spreadsheet software, SQL, Python and R; demonstrable experience of visualising data, using either tools or scripts; experience of GIS or other mapping software; experience of gathering information from Freedom of Information requests”.

Desirable skills include “knowledge of basic scripting and HTML, as it might pertain to data visualization or data analysis and knowledge of several of the following; Carto, D3, QGIS, Tableau”.

And over at Trinity Mirror, there’s an open position for a data journalist, where role responsibilities include:

  • Having ideas for data-based stories and analysis, on a range of topics, which would be suitable for visualisation in regional newspapers across the group.
  • Working with a designer and the head of data journalism to come up with original and engaging ways of visualising this content.
  • Writing copy, as required, to accompany these visualisations.
  • Working on the data unit’s wider output, for print and web, as required by the head of data journalism.

As far as technical skills go, these “should include a broad knowledge of UK data sources, an ability to quickly and effectively interrogate data using spreadsheets, and an understanding of the pros and cons of different methods of visualising data”.  In addition, “[a]n ability to use scraping software, and some proficiency in using R, would be an advantage”.

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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