keskiviikko 23. syyskuuta 2020

Reflections on the first year of the EBU’s data journalism community

We offer the members data news items.

I have been working as a data journalist for almost ten years and I have had the privilege of working on many interesting projects over the years.

In 2012 I joined the Yle, Finland’s national public broadcasting company and I was fortunate enough to follow closely on how the organisation successfully transformed from a traditional broadcaster into a forward-thinking media company.

Data and online Journalism was just gaining popularity and I immersed myself into this new world.

So when I joined the EBU in 2019 I thought I had a clear plan on how to integrate data journalism into the EBU’s framework.

I thought I knew the pitfalls and that I was prepared to fully communicate with the members. After all, I had been working for one of the members for a long time and I thought I knew exactly what the members needed and wanted.

The first year with the EBU showed me how little I knew. I realised implementing certain frameworks would be harder and understandably slower than I had imagined. 

Building and maintaining contacts was an essential, yet time-consuming task.

I was naive to think that members would automatically get excited about every project or initiative I had in mind.

I needed to learn how to advertise my work and how to create hype around it. Also, I have to say that my assumptions on what the members wanted turned out to be, if not completely faulty, not quite accurate.

On the other hand, I have learned that timing is critical when it comes to long-term projects. Even if you organise a perfect conference but when the timing is off, people might miss it completely.

At the same time, projects that you don’t expect to fly, will do so.

I have also learned how to face the unexpected. It has not been easy because I function better when there is order. I was also used to do everything on my own and now my job involves inspiring and motivating others, finding them opportunities to develop and etc.

To summarise, the first year and a half has been challenging and different to what I had in mind. However, the work turned out to be rewarding and fun. 

I’d like to emphasise that everyone has been very supportive, both in the office here in Geneva and the members. The feedback has been very positive and together we’ve achieved a lot. Just to mention a few:

  • The 5th EBU data journalists meet-up.
  • COVID-19 related teleconferences and COVID-19 related News items.
  • News items on climate change.
  • Training sessions organised together with the EBU Academy.
  • Targeted focus groups like the US elections.

In the future, I’m planning to listen more to our members’ needs and react more quickly and timely to changing circumstances.

We have had good showcases with the COVID-19 and data teleconference and with the US elections focus group. With both, we have been able to exchange important information between members.