Bertin Huynh

Multimedia journalist • BBC News
Last edited August 22, 2023

For Bertin Huynh, journalism is guided by two principles: wisdom and compassion. Wisdom is the facts, it is the context that colours words events and the data and numbers that describe our world. But all of this knowledge is useless without compassion, an understanding of human suffering and aspirations. Wisdom without compassion is information that leaves behind the human experience, it is when the news dehumanises, stigmatises and radicalises. Compassion, while coming from the best intentions, without wisdom is misguided. It doesn’t have the facts or solutions to make an actual difference in people’s lives.

Bertin’s aspirations as a journalist are to bring these principles with him wherever he goes in his career. The reporting projects he wants to do above all else are often collaborative and require the genius of so many talented journalists.

MJ Bear Fellowship Project

The Guardian’s datablog has pioneered data-driven journalism since it was started in 2005. Bertin is now taking it to the next level by making its information accessible and digestible through video.

In today’s oversaturated media environment it is no longer enough to show people the data and tell them why it’s important. Data visualization needs to meet people where they are consuming content. Bertin wants to push data-driven narratives out through social media and video to reach an audience that might be missing out.

This project meets viewers where they are instead of compelling them to come to a website. It makes things simple to understand without losing nuance. Bertin hopes that this allows people to also better contextualise their position in the world – whether it comes to the cost of living, climate change or health – through the use of numbers. The project leverages the parts of social media not typical to a data journalist, using personality and para-social relationships to build trust. To use graphics and earnest presentation to connect with viewers in a way a live broadcast is far too formal to do.