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The issue of the use of open data and the responsibility of modern journalists

 Assoc. Prof. Dr. and Dr. Honoris Causa Sabahudin Hadžialić

– UNINETTUNO University, Rome, Italy,

  • Jan Dlugosz University, Czestochowa, Poland

Ph.D student Phuong Vi Thi

Faculty of Journalism – Communication, Thai Nguyen University of Sciences, Vietnam; Tel: +84 091.271.6807; e-mail:


Thanks to the large data source on the Internet, several improvements have also taken place in the working method of the professional journalist. Modern journalists may use software and data on the Internet as part of their news gathering operation. Combining the type of knowledge and data from the Internet with information from journalistic sources involved in the mining phase (authorities, police, and witnesses can carry unparalleled news capabilities) to a partner, Data journalist may also conduct a simple operation of linking and synthesizing between various documents in order to make new discoveries in the work process.

This paper deals with the open data and the duty of the journalist to use it. The emergence of open data sources by governments around the world has made the search for data sources more rich. Journalists may make use of open data to find knowledge. How do journalists make effective use of open data to create high-quality media products tailored to the needs of the modern public? We give the answer within the following text.

Keyword: Open data, Online Newspaper, journalist,

Data Journalism and Data Sources for Journalists



  1. Introduction

If the media offer information to the public, then the modern press, in addition to presenting information, also provides the public with a viewpoint and style of interpretation to choose from. The part that convinces the public to accept the news that a journalist gives is no longer perceived as narrative or narrative. In modern journalistic work, facts, evidence, data… Used to reassure the public is directly portrayed without, or very little, in-depth research by journalists. These raw data are received and understood very easily by the public. Or if the public is unable to interpret raw data, such as data, modern software will do just that. Details on the inclusion of data, no or less analysis, interpretation or reporting.  It’s the cornerstone of data journalism.

Data journalism, unlike the media we’re all talking about, assigns great importance to raw news data. The term “data” makes a lot of people think of numbers. The difference in data journalism is the knowledge power that the previous forms did not provide. Data journalism may combine the ability to “sniff news” and to tell a convincing story about conventional journalism and the size or scope of knowledge (facts, raw data). The digital means brought back them to modern journalism.

Data journalism can be viewed not just on how facts are interpreted, but also on how relationships are organized-so it’s not just a matter of producing data stories (by collecting, evaluating, visualizing, and narrating data), but also of paying attention to whom and those stories come together including readers, sources, processes, organizations, and social media platforms. The explanation why data journalism has become a trend in contemporary journalism is:

  1. a) The creation and distribution of new methods for data analysis (excel, numbers, open data, Office, etc.) made an overview of the raw data, the numbers. Not a right for statisticians today. With convenient tools in the hands of the public, it is possible to provide a simple review of the data published by the press without having to equip it as experts.
  2. b) The emergence of open data sources by governments around the world has led to searching for data sources to become more relaxed and plentiful. Data journalists will provide information to the people who are searching for it. Of course, by data journalism, this information is made accessible (directly or not) to those in need.
  3. c) Public confidence in existing media outlets is declining. Using raw and transparent information data journalism would improve public trust in the information provided by journalists (Just giving information and data without analysis, orientation, etc.) It will make the public feel better when accessing information from the press.


2.Journalism as a tale maker

Data journalism is not just for investigation and reporting in detail. Journalism that is achieved with data is data journalism. Many people believe that data collected on a spreadsheet, is any collection of numbers. What separates data journalism from the rest of journalism? When journalists mix conventional journalism with the use of data to tell a compelling story, with the size and reach of digital knowledge, maybe there is a new possibility that opens up.

Via engaging infographics, data journalism can help a journalist tell a complicated tale. This helps illustrate how a story relates to an individual. Data can be the source of data journalism, or it can be the instrument that tells the story – or it can be both. It is for this reason that data journalism is so critical. To build more clarity and insight into what’s going on around you, use details. Analysis of data may disclose the form of a narrative about a story. Moving from a report to a story has evolved using data.

Open Data is a data that can be accessed, used and exchanged by everyone but is copyrighted and not free. Open data must be licensed freely. Its license would allow people to use the data in whatever way they choose, including by using it, combining it and sharing it with others. Open Data-Concrete data storage and open source to ensure transparency of data particularly when using public data.

Graph 1 – Model of data groups

The above model indicates that there are three data sources: Big Data; Open Data and Open Government Data. Subgroups of data in the aforementioned data sources include

(1) Non-public data for marketing, business analysis, and national security (non-public data for marketing, business analysis, national security);

(2) non-data-based citizen participation initiatives (e.g. petition website);

(3) Large datasets from science research, social media, or other non-government sources (large datasets from scientific research); Examples include weather, census, health care (large public government databases (e.g. weather, GPS, census, SEC, health care).

The model also demonstrates different zone data and information intervention between large data sources; open government and open data in general. It is easy to see that these three data sources overlap with each other. In data group 3-big data sets in the Big Data Group, not government data, but data coming from social networks. Group 4 is data from local government departments, not big data, but also called open data. For example, financial data, budget. Group 5 is not big data, does not come from government departments, but is also open to data. It is noted that not all the data generated by the government are big data. Especially in Group 6-which is very valuable and useful data: big data comes from government departments and this group is also open data. And Data Category No. 6 is often considered to be an organizational treasure for consumers who are journalists and businesses.

3.Freedom of choice

Journalists using data need to distinguish between the data source and the platform that publishes the data. For these portals, it is not called Open Data, it is called Open Data Platform. Open data is understood as a certain data format, with three key characteristics:

  1. Anyone can use this data base. In other words, the data must be accessed by the user according to their wishes. Open data is data that is placed on the Internet so that people can access it.
  2. Journalists may change the data. An open type of data is also the personal information data sheet originally installed in the classroom: anybody may access and change the information. Moreover, to get the desired results, you can also download data to compare and interact with other data.
  3. A characteristic and also the value of open data is that data can be shared by journalists.

Big data is information that a computer does not have enough memory to hold the system, but must, like Google data, have a server system. Similarly, for government activities: not all government activities produce data, those data are of course open data, transparent government policies; activities related to citizens, the process of grievances and complaints of people, the data of those program data are not all big data considered open data (such as data related to national defense security, business activities of companies, etc.) Open data between data providers and data consumers is collaborative in two ways. A lot of open data is provided by the World Bank, of EU Statistics, for instance. The user, however, needs to be interactive in two respects.

4.The reporter’s responsibility to use open data  

Not every story will need data, nor will there be time to use data on anything. So the first challenge is which data sources should do journalists use?

Journalists may use data sources from the government, from international organizations, from the academic sector, social media or from major agencies, and keep an eye on international organizations such as the World Bank, European Union official statistical pages, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others that also release data.

Nowadays, open data is very common because every nation has an entity that has Open data. However not all data reported on the websites of these organizations are data collected by this organization, since they have the right to use data on their website. During journalism development, journalists need to concentrate on data analysis and equip themselves with tools to analyze data and pick interesting things. Surveys are a way of getting data, not a data source. Journalists may usually use data from annual reports, from open data sources.


Not every story will need data, nor will there be time to use data on anything. Data in general and open data in particular help tell stories if journalists know what data sources are available. The search and show of “raw data” lets journalists work closely and in-depth. Journalists must be very positive and informed about the results. In reality, often two data sources are distorted, not the wrong data, but maybe both sources are right.

5.Questions that seeks for answers

What data sources would journalists want to use and use the most? Do journalists need to ask themselves if this information is available? Is the data reliable?

Google data is very wide, but not open, so it is also an obstacle in the process of reaching out to journalists.

With information available from open data, journalists need to deal with two levels:

  • interpretation to take context and structure from the never-ending flood of data, and
  • presentation of what is important and relevant to the public. The difference is for each story and depends on the journalist’s data skills. Even some simple data will help journalists move beyond the press release provided by the government department. Having data lets journalists get deeper into everything the journalist writes about.

6.Put the strength of the data into the tale

Data journalism is an important demonstration of the democratization of resources. Journalists should see this as an opportunity to use press knowledge. Journalists may raise a range of concerns, such as unemployment, which impact people based on their age, gender and education. Or use data to turn the abstract into something that readers can understand.

When searching for datasets on a specific topic, the author is likely to find some that can be accurate when new data is published. In such situations, the author can trust the data, interview more relevant sources to construct unexpected stories, and never even think about them.

More and more easily accessible databases come with new tools to clean, compare, and locate trends in vast datasets. Journalists and the public can also search the database independently with the aid of resources such as Google Trend (which discovers Google data on common searches, by region, and over time).

Open data mining is a method of discovering stories with a large amount of data. Journalists have access to a broad database for searching and comparing relevant data. Effective use of data mining results depends on healthy, credible and competent sources for journalists. In this way, the ability of the media to provide information to direct social public opinion would come into play.

  1. 7. Updating journalist skillset

In the light of the very high level of knowledge on social networks, it is very important for journalists to be actively interested, using information and sources to provide reliable and impartial information. Check it out. In addition to going to the scene, using a variety of steps to collect information, accessing and searching open data would allow journalists to come up with reliable sources.

Checking the information is important when using the data as a basis for journalists’ reports. Journalists face the task of sifting through a massive volume of social media knowledge and open data portals. But how do journalists determine what’s real and right in the digital age?

Modern journalists may use software and data on the Internet as part of their news gathering operation. Data groups must comply with historically defined criteria, including data mining, organization, analysis and visualization. What makes data journalism different from other journalism? There are new opportunities that open up when journalists merge conventional journalism and the use of data to tell a compelling story, with the size and reach of digital knowledge.

Journalists and data editors are only effective if they use data as a journalistic resource. Open data enables users to reach into data sources and find knowledge that is important to them. It is clear that various channels of communication and media can be combined to transmit messages. However, with data journalism, journalists may combine the information sources provided and the information sources that self-research the data to provide a stronger or wider, more impartial viewpoint.






The right to information and freedom of information cannot be stopped in the digital age. In reality, the relationship between data and journalism is growing stronger. The growing importance of open data journalism lies in the capacity of journalists to find the facts in expanding digital information to the globe. Journalists use open data to build deeper and deeper perspectives into what’s going on around them. That said, using open data is not a substitute for conventional journalism, but adds to a new range of skills for journalists. With their roles, tasks and professional characteristics, journalists need to develop their professional skills, become professional in the search, receipt and processing of information. Also, build a habit of using data frequently for their stories.




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This study was supported by a fellowship grant by the Thai Nguyen University of Science, Vietnam.

We want to express sincere appreciation to Thai Nguyen University of Science (TNUS) for them academic, financial, and moral support. We thank Department of Journalism – Communication, Faculty Journalism – Communication (FJC), Thai Nguyen University of Science for their academic and moral support. These acknowledgments will not be complete without thanking online offices for their useful advice and moral support toward the success of this study.