Journalism as a Professional Model for Data Science

Culture, Data

With the 2014 Facebook Experiment behind us and the 2016 U.S. general election ahead of us, discussions about ethics and data science will remain very much in the public eye. Every new revelation and allegation will predictably bring a cycle of unconstructive outrage and over-baked hot takes — which is all fine and good for collecting pageviews if you need to pay the bills. But these cycles prevent us from being able to step back and articulate what data science should be and should do. If data science is to become a profession with values, ethics, and boundaries rather than an occupation, I think data scientists should look to journalism for lessons to adopt into its emerging professional identity.