NEW

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Embracing the Workforce Ecosystem (part 2)

In the first part of this series, we looked at how the fears of technological innovation are resulting in an unproductive resistance toward modernisation, even as it gains extraordinary pace in 2021. We also delved into the importance of a growth mindset in allowing...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Overcoming the Fear of AI (part 1)

“What if artificial intelligence takes over my job? What if I become redundant?” Every one of us has experienced technology encroaching on our lives, more and more so with each year that passes. It appears that technological innovation is a certainty that is only...

Starting & Thriving in E-Commerce in South Africa: The Payment

In our previous article, Starting & Thriving in E-commerce in South Africa: The Customer, we looked at a few variables that affect the customer’s experience with a business; these include how you can build valuable information about and around your...

Starting & Thriving in E-commerce in South Africa: The Customer

In our previous article, Starting & Thriving in E-commerce in South Africa: The Foundations, we explored the various options and requirements for taking your business online as well as the importance of meeting your audience in the places they naturally...

Starting & Thriving in E-commerce in South Africa: The Foundations

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our lives in a number of drastic ways. While some big corporations struggled to remain relevant in the shape-shifting business climate around them, many start-ups have found their time to shine and are performing remarkably well....

Leveraging Data to develop a competitive advantage

Not a lot of people have heard of the term ‘dark data’ before; Gartner defines it as the information assets organisations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes (for example, analytics, business...

Leveraging data-driven agility in an agile world

At MAC we have recently been having discussions about the concept of Data Driven Agility; how can organisations start to leverage data more intelligently in an agile-delivery process, select data which is fit-for-purpose and, importantly, help solve business problems?...

How to get people onboard your data journey to drive usage and adoption

In the preceding articles we have covered topics on building the correct foundations so as to implement data analytics in an organisation with a centralised data function. Using the Sit. Crawl. Walk. Run. Paradigm, we explored how best to embark on a data journey and...

How to get people onboard your data journey to drive usage and adoption

In the preceding articles we have covered topics on building the correct foundations so as to implement data analytics in an organisation with a centralised data function. Using the Sit. Crawl. Walk. Run. Paradigm, we explored how best to embark on a data journey and...

The Trust Dilemma – how to build trust in Data

In Computer Science, garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), is the concept that flawed inputs will yield flawed outputs, or ‘garbage’. This principle applies to all analysis and logic, in that arguments are unsound if their premises are flawed. In data analytics, it is a...



Mac Consulting

What is a data journalist and why do you need one?

One of the biggest pain points in many organisations – although they might not even be aware of it – is the disconnect that exists between the data analytics department and the other business units. Despite the concept of a data journalist not being well recognised in the industry, the fundamental challenge facing businesses is to unearth people who can bridge the gap between the technical team (being able to deliver and talk the technical jargon) and engaging with the stakeholders (verbalising how to solve a problem).

To put a data analytics team in perspective, the typical data analytics department is underpinned by a head of data analytics/head of data science who has a mixture of business and technical skills. Their job is to go and sell technical solutions (be it internally or externally) and come back with a project which is handed over to the technical team. This team then deliver a technical solution and give it back to the client/business unit to apply.

As the name suggests, however, the purpose of a data journalist is to listen to a client, similar to the way a business analyst would, and then transcribe this into specifications for the technical (data) team. They fulfil that gap role that often exists between the technical delivery team and the internal business team, having the ability to transition between technical speak and business speak, and connecting the dots between the two to help drive scalability, adoption and trust.

Previously this role might have been called a Data Insight Analyst, whose purpose was to extract value out of data and to action that value back into the business. While a data journalist is similar, they become the client’s trusted advisor, bridging the gap between what the business challenges are, and how the solutions actually help solve these problems.

While it may be a futuristic concept, if you could put someone in a data journalist role within any business, life would be much easier. As this position doesn’t exist in most organisations, its remit tends to fall into the laps of the CMO, head of marketing or head of IT, all of whom look at data from a different perspective and generally don’t have that strategic input to get the most out of their data, tech and digital transformation initiative.

To be a success, a data journalist should have specific traits; along with communication skills being an important element, they should be solutionist, have good business acumen, and a sound level of comprehension of how technical solutions are built, how they operate, and how they can be leveraged to solve business problems. While it may not be too difficult to find people who look qualified from their CV, it is often the soft skill elements that make them a prime candidate for this role.

While organisations have realised the importance of digital, data and technology, one of the most vital elements is appointing a person who is passionate about leveraging digital, data and technology to help drive internal solutions to help realise that big, broader strategic vision. The age-old adage that people are either technical or possess business skills means that it is not as simple as hiring the most technical data scientist or the person with the most experience in digital transformation for a data journalist position; it is about finding someone who can actually solve problems by leveraging both a business brain and a technical brain at the same time.

You May Also Like…

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *