Data Journalism in Turkey: still a new topic

July 27, 2016 in Event report, Research

School of Data now counts among its ranks a local group in Turkey led by Pınar Dağ, an experience Data Journalist and Journalism professor based in Istanbul. As part of their activities, they have been running numerous datajournalism trainings, attracting an important proportion of non-journalists, eager to learn about data. The article below presents a data-driven overview of these workshops.

According to the participation research of data journalism workshops carried out with all 110 participants hosted by Pınar Dağ and Sadettin Demirel, 36.4% of all participants stated that they have studied data literacy courses before the workshops, while the remaining 70 people make up the 63% that have never before studied data literacy or data analysis.


If we analyse the data obtained in the context of gender and age, there are 21 men and 17 women that expressed they have training experience regarding data analysis. However, the interesting figure comes from the younger generation. 65% of participants are between 18 and 25 ages, and they have no experience or previous training in data literacy.


These numbers indicated that even though the participants met with data analysis and data literacy by way of data journalism workshops, the participants from the 18-25 age range have a serious lack of data literacy.



The workshops contribute to spreading data journalism terminologies



Data journalism has its own terminology and vocabulary, so in order to evaluate how participants learn the main names such as data journalism, open data, open government, data portal, data visualization, we asked them whether they ascertained these terminologies thought the workshops, or from elsewhere.



More than half of the participants pointed out that they had known previously the data journalism and open data terms. On the other hand, 36 people expressed that they understand data journalism thanks to the workshops, where as 41 participants said the same for open data.


Also, a number of participants stated they know open government, data portal and data visualization terminologies by way of data journalism training. This was more than other participants that indicated they already knew. If we describe the issue with numbers, 70 of 110 participants learned about data portals with the workshops, while 53 of them for open government, and 51 of them for data visualisation stated that they have known these terms through the help of workshops.


The good news is that the number of participants in the 18 – 25 age range that learn data journalism terms thanks to the workshops, is more than twice of those who knew the terminologies previously. As a result, these statistics underline that workshops facilitate the understanding of terminology.


90 percent of participants like the data journalism workshops


99 people (90 %) of participants expressed that they liked the data journalism training. Seven people stayed indecisive and four of them said they didn’t like it. The participants appreciated not only workshops but also the instructors and contents of training and the other guests.


As the data indicated, 87.1 % of people were very pleased by the content of the workshop while 102 participants said they liked the guests. 94 of them said they appreciated the data journalism instructors. Most of participants had a positive attitude on content, instructors, and guests of workshops. There were also participants that remained indecisive, or did not appreciate some features of the data journalism training.




52.8 % of participants did not like the duration of the workshops



While 27.2% of participants, a total of 30 participants, expressed that they liked the duration and time of the workshops, 28 people, 25.4%, stayed indecisive. So 52.8% of participants, the remaining 58 people, were not pleased with the length of the workshops.


On the other hand, there was a negative perception about the infrastructure and internet network among the participants. 54.1 percentage of participants pointed out that they didn’t appreciate the internet network that was provided for data journalism activities.


Moreover, most of the participants were fine with accommodation (65.4%), transportation (74.1%) and catering services (66.3%) that were supplied during the workshops.


More than half of the participants heard about workshops via social media


The question was ‘how did you find out about workshops and where do you get workshop news and announcements?’ The participants stated that they find out and get in touch with workshops predominantly via social media (54%), instructors at universities (26.3%), e-mail (30%), website (35.4%), and friends (17.7%)


    It seems especially digital communication channels which are social media and e- mail played an important role to get in touch with participants and get them informed.  

53 percent of Participants stated: I can make data visualizations



More than half of the participants said that they can create data visualizations thanks to the workshops while 51% of them, a total of 57 participants, expressed that workshops informed and facilitated them to get involved with various kinds of data sources. Also, 41% of participants stated they have developed their data analysis skills and 40% of them underlined they can work with data thanks to the help of the workshops.




All we need is longer workshops


The last two question of the research are about participants suggest what to improve data journalism workshops and increase and spread data literacy.


87% of the participants, a total of 86 people, suggested that they need long-dated workshops that are based on generation of data journalism projects. This is the most supported advice among the other options. Other options were cooperation with journalism association, inviting international data journalists for workshops and arranging MOOC programs to increase efficiency and get in touch with more people.



    The university curriculums need data literacy courses  

In order to increase data literacy, 74.5% of participants indicated that the university curriculum needs more data literacy and data journalism courses. The participants suggest that these courses could add to the current education plans. Also 60.9% of them think the key is open data. If government increases sharing more sources of open data, that could improve data literacy in Turkey.



There are other suggestions too. For example, cooperation with journalists, NGOs and developers, to fund support of the government to create a data savvy generation.



Last but not least, we asked all the participants, ‘If you had the chance, would you want to attend more workshops?’ 103 of 110 participants said yes, they would.



Quantitative method is used along with survey data gathering techniques for this research. Participants are reached via e-mail and Google form is used as a tool of the questionnaire. The population of this research is the participants of the last 10 data journalism workshops. Because of the fact that a number of participants have changed between 10 and 20 for per workshop, the exact number of participants has taken 15 for per workshops. So the research universe is 150 people. The sample size of research is calculated with 95% confidence level and a 5 % margin of error. The sample size is accepted as 109 participants.


Tableau, and Google Charts used for data visualisations

Research datasets:

Research questionnaire :


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