In this sense, the new rise of data journalism mirrors the age old spectrum of the news industry, from yellow to red. It matters little whether the bits or blobs are rendered in lampblack and gum arabic or 1s and 0s. What matters, what has always mattered, is the consciousness of the renderer, the corporate bounds within which he or she works and the attitude of the news consumer. Will data journalism progress along the lines of the corporate backed, market-driven Princeton Radio Project of the 1930s or will the new data journalists take heed of Adorno’s warnings against “stating and measuring effects without relating them to these ‘stimuli,’” the qualitative, objective influence of culture and society on consumers (Adorno, 1969, p. 343)?
From “Journalism’s New Proof Texts: The Peril and Promise of Data Storytelling,” a paper I wrote for Ed McLuskie’s Advanced Critical Theory class at Boise State, now posted for critique session at Academia.edu.