Data Journalism

Data journalism is a new discipline within journalism. As data becomes more abundant, making sense of data becomes more important. Being able to analyse and present data well is something of an art. Modern day journalists have to master this to be able to tell stories with data.

Luckily, some really good data journalists are now working at respected news organizations. We here at Silk are fascinated by the work they do. 

Silk for data journalists

So it is great to see that data journalists use Silk to analyze and present information. Not only by seamlessly mixing text, data and visualizations, but also by offering tools for every visitor to play with the data.

The last point is actually a big deal. Journalist were always able to write articles based on information only available to them. 

But nowadays, accountability is increasingly important. Silk not only brings this transparency (by having all data in the same place as the article), but it also allows for visitors to analyse the data for themselves and share the results.

Traffic accidents

With the help of the data journalists at Dutch news organization RTL Nieuws, we set up, a Silk site with all deadly traffic accidents in The Netherlands between 2006 - 2010.

On the site more than three thousand accidents can be searched and filtered. We created the site by importing a CSV with information about the accidents. Additionally, pages for all cities and provinces in The Netherlands were created.

We decided to put some queries on the homepage of the site to present the most interesting facts such as the cities that has the most deadly traffic accidents. But we also offered links to other queries about children in traffic and vehicles involved.


Another example is this Silk site from the Guardian. They have put data about refugees in Silk to visualize what countries receive most refugees yearly.

Journalists can use Silk to visualize one data set, but it gets really interesting when more data sets are combined.

For example, if the above mentioned Silk site is extended with more economic indicators (for example GDP) of countries, data can be combined. We can then visualize which poor countries accept the most refugees.

It is this combination of existing data points that makes it interesting and makes Silk very valuable.