What Journalism Can Learn from Science

A session at SXSW Interactive 2012

Tuesday 13th March, 2012

12:30pm to 1:30pm (CST)

The scientific method revolutionized the world of truth-seeking. Yet journalism - which, like science, seeks truth - is far less rigorous. We’ll walk through why this gap has led to record levels of distrust in journalism, and why journalism that’s replicable, trackable, and reviewable can help to restore that trust.

To be clear, journalism isn't science. It's got tight deadlines and other limits on its ability to gather evidence, no peer review, and often, very little that resembles methodology. But online tools and new reporting techniques are enabling journalists to be much more scientific in their methods.

From the rise of database journalism, which adds empirical rigor to narrative journalism’s fog of anecdotes, to the emergence of accountability projects that permit tracking and peer review over time, we’ll outline a system of news that can help us better discern the truth amid a rising onslaught of information. We’ll focus our session on identifying solutions and painting a vivid and inspiring picture of what journalism can become.

About the speakers

This person is speaking at this event.
Matt Thompson

Editorial Prod Mgr, NPR

I coach NPR member stations on digital strategy. Board member for Center for Public Integrity. Adjunct faculty at Poynter Institute. Proud Buffy fan.

This person is speaking at this event.
Gideon Lichfield

Media Editor, The Economist

Previously: physics/philosophy student, science writer, foreign correspondent, digital strategist, e-learning creator, documentary film buff, language nerd and NYU prof.
Currently: trying to bring it all together.

Next session in Capitol A-D

3:30pm Audience-Centric Media: Wants and Needs in News by Cristina Cordova, Mandy Jenkins, Gabriel Sama, Staci Baird and Adrian Klein


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9 attendees

  • David Wright
  • Gideon Lichfield
  • Jason Paul
  • Kelsey-Lee LeGassick
  • Matt Thompson
  • Niran Babalola
  • Renda Morton
  • Steve Lightfoot
  • Tasneem Raja

6 trackers

  • Chip Brantley
  • Rick Mason
  • ɹǝɯoɹʞ (dılɟ) dılıɥd
  • Steve Myers
  • Paul M. Davis
  • Tyson Evans

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Time 12:30pm1:30pm CST

Date Tue 13th March 2012

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