Sorry, Data is not News!

Are bloggers ever not snarky? Yes, but only when they’re self-righteous academics. Today, I read a post bashing Vox and FiveThirtyEight for not being data-driven. Leave it to an over-educated man like Alberto Cairo to teach us common folk, shucks, why write when we can just read numbers?

Well, Alberto it’s a pleasure to virtually meet you…but your post lacks perspective. Or, what we non-data folks call “news.” There are several reasons print journalism is dying: mainly, people don’t like your boring, corporate news.

Why do I need to renew my subscription to The New York Times or Washington Post when I get my political news from Nate Silver’s site, which is more relevant to me and free. You know, Alberto, outside your academic bubble this millennial generation is pretty broke. We don’t have time for technical data re-purposed as news because we are: working, raising our children and downloading a podcast at the same time. You need to dismount your stallion (see, I can be kind) and see how the rest of the world lives. Please don’t fight progress for the size of your ego?


Alberto bashed these really great news sites because there have been a few documented occasions where technical errors were made but then those errors were made public. Or, in his words, “They promised journalism based on a rigorous pondering of facts and data, but they have offered some stories based on flimsy evidence.” To his credit, he raised several other points like editors should better fact-check and edit which seems valid. However, he doesn’t consider whether or not this social medium is perhaps more interactive than print therefore should not be held to the Old Media’s authoritative standards.

Yes, news is factual but must it contain excessive data? I know this doesn’t sound as elegant as Alberto’s take but mine is that people only have time for news, real news, as in the big picture presented by a trustworthy source. I agree with him on one more point, that in addition to truly amazing news blogs like the ones mentioned and my personal digital favorite Quartz, that longer pieces are still worthwhile…and guess what? Here’s the big reveal: they are called books.


My dearest Alberto,

I somewhat apologize for having so much fun at your expense, but your dismissal of Vox and FiveThirtyEight felt like it came from a bad place. I hope you go to Amazon and cheer up by ordering a book on something really fun like statistics…I truly didn’t mean to pop your proverbial bubble. I don’t think news should be pedantic. After all, shouldn’t someone actually read it?

Virtual Hugs,


What does an angry man and some nuns have to do with data-driven news? You tell me, I just thought it would grab your attention.
What does an angry man and some nuns have to do with data-driven news? You tell me, I just tried to grab your attention…

3 thoughts on “Sorry, Data is not News!

  1. I’ve met so many different types of writers online since writing from approximately 2008. I tried to earn money from writing but failed as my heart is in writing that doesn’t earn money. I have since been pulled between my love for writing and my need to pay the bills.
    I have come across the people you have seen, pulling people to bits because they don’t understand the concept of being different.
    I would say that each writer needs to find their purpose and remember there are different reasons for writing online.
    Great article by the way and glad someone brought this subject up. Keep on snarking! hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have also unfortunately experienced guys like these and they make you feel like a failure when you are a freshman on the online stage.
    I am a blogger and an Internet marketer and affiliate. I beat myself up for ages because my blogs are the same as this, straight up and a place for me to chat to my friends, followers and strangers who also need a few quid to keep going with their passion of writing.
    The guys that slate people don’t get that there are different reasons for writing.
    I love that you brought this up and I say…”Keep Snarking People!”.

    Liked by 1 person

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