Evidence and transparency in Open Data Journalism: a case study on British and Brazilian news agencies

  • Claudia Rodrigues orcid logo


The authority of professionalism has been undermined in an environment of growing and proactive disinformation, driven by algorithms that disrupt the trust in established media. We cannot ignore the effect of traditional forms of media bias, but the spread of news on social media makes reliability even more nebulous. The open data journalism (ODJ) model brings together notions of proof of evidence and precision and is identified as a manner to rebuild trust in the media by authors who research this field such as Hermida and Young, Parasie e Dagiral, Borges-Rey and Fink and Anderson. Access to backstage elements of reporting process through links to spreadsheets, google docs and digital documents provides a cornerstone of ODJ. This dimension was embraced by projects such as The Panama Papers and it is a common ground between news agencies established in the midst of a new centrality in the journalistic field. It is relevant to point out that credibility in journalism is linked to aspects related to practices, expertise, and norms that legitimize professional knowledge. The evidence embedded in open data journalism routines conveys levels of transparency that work as a strategic ritual. An experimental and original methodology to draw inferences on the extent to which three outlets deliver transparency served as a parameter for assessing efforts to build reliable narratives. The resulting content analysis method served to measure evidence and accuracy and highlight levels of transparency. To carry out the study of transparency, 135 reportings from The British The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Brazilians Gênero e Número and Agência Pública were analyzed and sixteen interviews were conducted. The result revealed high transparency for Agência Pública, medium transparency for Gênero e Número and low transparency for TBIJ. In the interviews, journalists raised concerns about the importance of accuracy and consistency in data collection and the functionality of hyperlinks. ODJ is perceived as a way of reinforcing documental value in newsgathering.

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Keywords: open data journalism, verification, fact-checking, news agencies, investigative journalism

How to Cite:

Rodrigues, C., (2023) “Evidence and transparency in Open Data Journalism: a case study on British and Brazilian news agencies”, communication +1 10(1). doi:



Published on
15 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed