When journalism also becomes software / Quand le journalisme devient un logiciel – Shazna Nessa

Speaker : Shazna Nessa, Global Head of Visuals, Deputy Managing Editor at Wall Street Journal / responsable des contenus visuels, Rédactrice en chef adjointe au Wall Street Journal.

Journalistic tools of the future

Rather than talking about journalistic tools, we should probably talk about how journalists handle these tools. « This isn’t saying that all journalists need to know how to code », says Shazna Nessa of The Wall Street Journal. But journalists need to understand that journalism how it used to be known is changing rapidly – and that everyone should be aware of just how many opportunities coding holds.

For instance, journalists in the WSJ newsroom have both reporting and coding skills. Shazna Nessa herself defines herself as adata visuals reporter: “I’m a reporter, data wrangler developer designer and illustrator. I work with data interactive graphics, photos, videos”, she explained. 

Their toolkits are shared with a community of developers all over the world.


Most of the WSJ visuals team can code: interdisciplinarity is the key. As for whether code should be considered journalism, she has no doubts: it should – and many of the WSJ’s most successful stories of the past years are a testament to this belief.

A GOP Tax plan converter was one of the most read pieces in 2017. Another story on how police scrambled to find the Las Vegas gunner in October 2017 got high engagement, as did an interactive story on Spotify IPO. Engagement rates with stories like that can be 4 times higher than for a regular story. It’s also particularly efficient at addressing younger audiences.

DSC_6675.JPGCrédits photo : Jules Boudier

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