What’s in data?
Recently and increasingly, I’ve heard in the media, and from government officials phrases like, “data is data,” and, “the objective data is….” Those who say those phrases do so as if they were revealing true arguments, as if saying those words meant that they have an absolute and true notion about any problem. As if they meant “this is the only reality,” grabbing the truth by the horns. End of discussion. I hear these phrases and I worry that those who say them not only don’t understand the definition of the word “data,” but also ignore the history and practices of the social and natural sciences that have brought journalism closer to methodology, precision and detail, which is why data journalism has been practiced for decades. Let’s start by defining the term.