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Data visualization training in journalism

On September 11th, 2023, Open Development Cambodia (ODC) conducted an enriching training session titled “Data visualization in journalism,” attended by a group of 14 journalists (2 females) from various locations such as Phnom Penh, Kratie, Siem Reap, Battambang, Stung Treng, and Mondulkiri.

With our “Data visualization in journalism” training, the trainees can embark on a transformative journalistic journey that explores the intersection of data and narrative. Data visualization, the art of transforming raw data into compelling visuals, is more than a skill; it’s a narrative accelerator. In an age when information bombards our senses, journalists with data visualization skills gain the ability to change complex datasets, transforming them into impactful graphs, interactive charts, and dynamic maps that bring stories to life. This course provides an opportunity to seamlessly combine journalistic skills with data-driven precision, unleashing the potential of visual storytelling to captivate, inform, and inspire. The training aims to equip journalists with the skills to integrate visual elements into their storytelling, enabling them to convey information, engage audiences, and unveil deeper narratives through impactful and accessible graphics.

The primary objective of this training initiative is to equip journalists with the proficiency to incorporate visual elements into their narratives. By doing so, they acquire the ability to convey information effectively, engage their audiences, and unveil deeper layers of the narrative through compelling and easily comprehensible graphics.

The comprehensive training program explored data comprehension, the principles of data interpretation, the art of chart design, and an introduction to the powerful data visualization tool, Datawrapper. Despite the constraints of time, the participating journalists displayed remarkable adaptability and tenacity, successfully producing visualizations and integrating them into their stories.

These hardworking trainees exhibited a worthy commitment to learning this new tool and the concepts surrounding it. Their dedication resulted in the creation of 14 interactive visualizations, each addressing a diverse selection of topics using Datawrapper. While it is acknowledged that their efforts may not yet be considered professional, it is evident that they have acquired a fundamental understanding of how to develop visualizations that enhance their news articles.

Furthermore, it notes that the majority of these participants have expressed a strong desire for additional training sessions. They are eager to extend the duration of training and remain enthusiastic about staying updated with the latest data and visualization techniques. These aspirations reflect their solid commitment to enhancing their capacities as journalists and their dedication to delivering high-quality journalistic content to their respective audiences.

The project is funded by USAID Cambodia through FHI 360 under a Cluster Anchor Grant from the Civil Society Support (CSS) Project.

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