The debate about the future of journalism goes on and on.
Journalists love stories. We all do. That's why TV stays popular and people keep reading novels and non-fiction narratives.
But stories are pretty hopeless in terms of data presentation and management.
Stories are thin and narrow in information delivery.
Two recent episodes suggest a new direction, or additional type, of journalism.
Silver was not only accurate, but he presents large amounts of data in a meaningful way. He is open and transparent about his assumptions etc. Probability and statistics are not everyone's cup of tea, but the basics are not that hard either. It is hard to take seriously journalists and other pundits with their 'hunches' after you've got hooked on Silver or any of the other of the growing numbers of people doing similiar things on blogs and websites. Silver's blog drives a lot of traffic to the NY Times where it is hosted.
Most internet devices use outliner software which allows data to be presented in user-friendly hierarchies. All of us use this type of software everyday. Traditional stories don't do this. So in a major event we get lots of front-line commentary on trees being uprooted etc but not easy access to a lot of data on road closures etc. The data tends to be all over the place when what we want is more structure to it.
Better data management and presentation won't save journalism, or replace well told stories, but it could add a lot of value to the media mix.