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The young face of data journalism takes the stage

Scott Joseph

An interview with Barbara Konturek, author of the data journalism project ‘Noise in the New Mitte Altona’ presented at the Social Media Week Hamburg

The  Hamburg Social Media Week (SMWHH) has filled the city with a number of social media events, including some innovative projects, including data journalism. ‘Noise in the New Centre Altona’ visualises the noise being created during construction in Altona, one of the most populous neighbourhoods of Hamburg, showing how life would be in the area during the building process.

The importance of the project was evident: firstly, the piece is relevant for most people living in the area, as the noise level  shown in this work will directly affect the daily life of the population of that area of Hamburg. Secondly, the talk itself is a great opportunity to highlight the relevance of data journalism and give young professionals an opportunity to show their work.

The journalist Barbara Konturek, author of this trans-media project, told Pandeia about her experience developing this data journalism project, from the beginning at the summer school at Hamburg University, through the struggle, until the final presentation of the website at the Social Media Week in Hamburg.

“We started the whole project at the summer school that was organised by the career centre of Hamburg University and the Kreativgesellschaft Hamburg (Creative Society Hamburg) . The summer school was supposed to lead to this multimedia project, but in the end it was just me. Finally what I was trying to do is to get journalism visualised, and do this visualisation with data and with supervision” Konturek explained.

The two goals that the journalists wanted to see fulfilled with this project were: make it valuable and make it visible. The value came from taking official and public data and turning it into something that is useful and usable for the people who live there. The visibility came from the design and from the opportunity of showing it at the SMWHH. “Presenting it gives kind of an end, as you finally feel like it went out there and is now useful for people.”

Speaking about her experience of participating on the SMWHH Konturek says she felt nervous at the beginning when she was offered the opportunity, but decided to carry it out. It was all about the development of data journalism. “I was not sure; it was like my first project in this field. I did it for myself to start, but also to encourage other people to work with data journalism, there are so many stories and projects that can be developed from data, that just need someone to work on them.”

Words by Aida Pelaez Fernandes

Picture by Scott Joseph

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