The word “data” connotes fixed numbers inside hard grids of information, and as a result, it is easily mistaken for fact. But including bad product introductions and wars, we have many examples of bad data causing big mistakes. Big Data raises bigger issues. The term suggests assembling many facts to create greater, previously unseen truths. It suggests the certainty of math.
That promise of certainty has been a hallmark of the technology industry for decades. With Big Data, however, there are even more hazards, some human and some inherent in the technology. Kate Crawford, a researcher at Microsoft Research, calls the problem “Big Data fundamentalism — the idea with larger data sets, we get closer to objective truth.” Speaking at a conference in Berkeley, Calif., on Thursday, she identified what she calls “six myths of Big Data.”
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times often disagree, at least in their editorials, but both are in agreement that the future of the newspaper will involve a healthy dose of video. It’s not surprising that the leading newspapers are branching out to video. The Web is clearly moving in a less static direction, and big brand advertisers will pay more for sight, sound and motion. Both sites have produced video over the years, and lately it’s starting to pay off in numbers that aren’t exactly YouTube, but aren’t anything to sneeze at either.
According to ComScore, the Times had 561,000 viewers and 1.6 million video views in June. The WSJ had almost 1.3 million viewers who accounted for 4.2 million video views that month. Each company professes to be feeling its way with its video strategy, with some divergences in tactics, but both believe it is becoming critical to their businesses — and news missions.