Big data is big, and there’s a role in it for you

There is a lot to wrap your arms around here. Get used to it. The concepts will only grow in time, as you learn in this Knight Foundation piece, Innovating to create comprehension of big data and the Internet:

The amount of data collected on the Internet is overwhelming. Facebook alone collects 500 terabytes a day. As of 2013, there are 667 exabytes of data flowing over the Internet annually. And these numbers, as hard as they are to wrap our heads around, are only going to continue to increase — rapidly.

In the journalism sphere, massive data collection has produced data journalist roles. These writers and editors use data collected by third-party agencies to create some of the most viral images on the Web. Anytime The Atlantic publishes a map of the states with the highest poverty levels, they use big data. Anytime The New York Times publishes a quiz about where your accent comes from, they use big data.

These stories and photos get shared hundreds of thousands of times and are driving much needed traffic to publishers. This is about much more than an interesting listsicle. Data journalism is about taking big data concepts, visualizing them for the audience and showing readers who they are — or at least, who the data says they are.

This, as they say, changes a great deal about the active role of journalism. Read on to see how.

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