Data Journalism Classes in Australian Universities: Educators Describe Progress to Date

November 21, 2016

Background to the Abstract

This article examines the extent to which data journalism (DJ) is being taught in Australian universities. It presents the results of interviews with 35 journalism academics about how they are incorporating data journalism into their courses. It includes details about the types of data journalism skills they are teaching, the resources they are using and the hindrances that have met or are making it difficult to teach data journalism. These hindrances include low and varied levels of quantitative literacy and math aversion among students, lack of time for upskilling and limited room in their courses for new material. The study found that at least nine Australian universities have semester-long units dedicated to data journalism and that at least a further nine are teaching it via some lectures and activities. Almost all respondents thought more should be done to incorporate data journalism into the curricula. This article lays a foundation for future exploration of how data journalism could be incorporated into journalism programmes where the staff requires upskilling.

About the Authors

Dr Trevor Cullen (PhD) is Professor of Journalism at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. Trevor is recognised as a national and international leader in the field of HIV/health Journalism and Journalism education. He has received several University and national teaching and research awards. These include two Australian Government awards – A National Teaching and Learning Fellowship (NTF) and the Australian Award for University Teaching. (AAUT).

Kayt Davies, PhD, is a senior lecturer in journalism at Edith Cowan University. She is an award winning journalist who has received Vice Chancellor and ALTC citations for innovative teaching and community engagement.

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