Data journalism, in a modern format, has a rich history steeped in sociology, the growth of cities and rapidly changing culture.
Journalists have long poured over reams of data, often stacking their work stations with expensive paper copies received from government clerks or hand collected through meticulous research.
The amount of data they were able to clean and then formulate into empirical evidence sufficient for publication was miniscule, as it depended completely on their ability to process these large amounts of data by hand.
When computer-assisted reporting rose to prominence in the late 1970s, the game of data analysis changed forever.
With each new increase in processing capability married to the digitization of documents, especially government documents, journalists gained access to unprecedented and massive data bases from which to extrapolate empirical evidence.