Investigative Journalism and Big Data

The 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture went to Spotlight. The movie chronicles the research and reporting done by a team of investigative journalists at The Boston Globe (who won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering rampant sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Massachusetts). If you’ve seen the film, you may have been struck by the cool demeanor and detached reserve of the reporters. However, objectivity is what we have come to expect from these unsung heroes who shed light on events that might otherwise go unnoticed. As Sam Roe wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) article (“Could Collaborating With Scientists Be the Next Step for Investigative Reporting?”), for many years, “investigative reporters have approached stories with a similar mindset: Find the bad guys,” and “copy down…


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