Diana Dutsik: what is analytical journalism and how to become an analytical journalist?

The analytical direction in journalism is a whole complex that includes such genres as an analytical article, an analytical report, maybe even an interview with elements of analytics. We are talking about a comprehensive and complex approach to working with information. It is important to work out a huge amount of information, analyze it and provide the reader or viewer in a simple accessible way.

Tasks of the analytical material

There are three key tasks: the first is to clarify the essence of some phenomena, events, problems, and phenomena. The second is to analyze trends and provide an assessment of their importance. The third is criticism of inefficient development paths: countries, companies, when a journalist analyzes a problem and shows which processes are moving wrong. On the other hand, it is always important that the analytical material shows a way out, some conclusions, and maybe even recommendations for solving the problem or forecasts. This is the result of the analytical work of a journalist.

Based on facts and competent opinions, analytical journalism raises important social problems. Through the suggestions of experts and specialists, analytical journalism offers solutions.

It is very important at the very beginning to ask yourself the question: how will this topic affect society, is it important for society? The second question – how important is the topic that the journalist chose? How does it determine general trends? Is this topic also of interest in society? Will this topic affect the daily life of the country, city. Depends on what the journalist writes about. 

If we are talking about a complex and complex topic, then there should always be many sources. Not one, two, or three. This is the first. The second stage is the analysis and processing of this information. It is necessary to filter out the unnecessary, and to structure the information.

There is a rule:

We always collect much more information than we actually use. This is necessary so that the journalist himself deeply understands the phenomenon of which he writes. A large amount of information allows you to draw the right conclusions or predictions.

It is also very important to answer the question: what will happen next? How can I solve this or that problem so that the material does not end with the fact that everything is bad with us. You criticize – offer!

The rules of good analytics

  • Choose a current topic
  • Fully understand the issues
  • Distance yourself from emotions
  • Collect maximum sources and opinions
  • Remove unnecessary – do not “blur” the problem
  • Make a prediction
  • Suggest solutions to the problem

What qualities are important for an analyst journalist?

A journalist should be well educated. He must have basic knowledge of politics, economics, the social sphere, etc. Because it will be very difficult for a person who does not understand how the state works, how state institutions work, to analyze what happens to budget money in the country, how it is allocated and correctly whether. Therefore, comprehensively, probably, this is a very high requirement for a person who wants to engage in analytics. That is, it is necessary to comprehensively develop and keep abreast of key social processes.

When a journalist deals with one topic, he forms a network of contacts. This is important for further information gathering. Also, a journalist specializing in one subject sees trends. He can compare what happened a year ago and what happened two. He does not need to shovel a large amount of information. He remembers this, since he himself has been following all the processes on this topic for many years. In the analytical field, specialization is important. I think that this is also important for all journalists. 

How to maintain objectivity?

It is always difficult. Because the journalist lives in this society, sees all injustice, and therefore it is difficult for him to step aside. But you need to understand: to solve the problem, you need a clear mind and logical thinking. This will always help, because opponents, figuratively speaking, it can be power, some corporations that violate something, they don’t work with emotions – they will demand arguments from you that can be provided only with the help of analytics and lack of emotions because evaluations are always emotions. Only when you are suspended can you provide arguments and evidence. A journalist-analyst should not rely on emotions and subjective assessments, but on facts.

If we want progress, someone must tell the truth and who will do it, if not us? It is very important that our society changes for the better, someone must open the abscesses that have formed. This is the task of the journalist. The duty of a journalist is to show society serious and relevant problems for their further resolution.

When people do not receive information, it is difficult for them to make some important decisions for the country. If they do not understand what political processes are taking place in the state, for example, elections, then how can they vote? Is that important? Important! 

We must think about our capabilities and form our audience. Everything is interconnected. We form an audience with our content. Journalists should not run after society, but should go one step ahead to ensure this development process. Media representatives should focus on serious and large-scale problems of society for the sake of the interests of citizens themselves.

How to become the best in analytics?

  • Continuously deepen your knowledge
  • Build a database of sources and experts
  • Track your topics
  • Do not give in to emotions
  • Only work with facts
  • Evidence base is the best argument
  • Be Newsmakers
  • Encourage your audience to think

Analytical journalism is the highest style of journalism. Its criteria are universal throughout the world. Firstly, it is the quality of the journalist’s intelligence, the ability to correlate what is happening with the existing problem space, with history. Secondly, proficiency in speech. Complex thoughts should be expressed simply. A journalist does not write for experts. The size of his audience is not limited, and ideally, anyone who can read should understand what the journalist wanted to say. Thirdly, the personal courage of a journalist is important, he should not be afraid to go against the bosses, should not call white black. He cannot distort the truth. Fourthly, the very existence of a space within which a journalist would have free access to information is important.

The subject of analytical journalism are relevant social phenomena, events, processes, situations and related theoretical and practical problems of social development. To understand all this, the journalist has to clarify the reasons and conditions for the development of events, determine the hidden motives and intentions of those acting in a particular situation, evaluate the correctness of the choice of means and ways of developing the situation, the validity of points of view and ideas. It goes without saying that such materials have a large volume: it is impossible to reveal the essence of what is happening in two paragraphs. Indeed, if a fact is important in informational journalism, then in analytical journalism is a thought generated by facts, and the author’s emotions generated by this thought.

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