Data + Journalism = Great Matchup


If there’s a trend in the world of journalism, it’s that quality is rapidly and powerfully asserting itself. In a growing number of cases, those who have strong, well-articulated opinions, those who can spot trends, and those who can analyze data are outgrowing the media platforms that launched them. This creates new opportunities for them, not the least of which is being able to charge money for their valuable knowledge. It’s an encouraging trend. But while developing talented trend-spotters and opinion leaders is a hit-and-miss process, journalism based on data is a much more dependable route to building quality. That’s because the data confers authority - your journalism is not only based on facts, it’s derived from facts. Data journalism is also valuable because the underlying data is often proprietary, and even if not, the analysis of the data is proprietary. Numerous studies have shown that data is often more popular than straight news, and venture capitalists are noticing this as well. In short, there’s a lot to commend the marriage of journalism and data, and that’s good news for many B2B publishers.

Yes, many B2B publishers have both data and journalism businesses. But even when they’re under the same roof, for the most part they might as well be in different worlds. The news folks and the data folks aren’t working together. In many publishing companies, they don’t even regularly talk to each other. And this is a huge missed opportunity.

Your data group knows how to collect, maintain and analyze data. These are skills sorely lacking in the journalism world today. And your news group knows what the burning issues are in the marketplace, and how to turn often mind-numbing tables of data into lively, understandable prose. It’s a great match-up of skills, but one that rarely seems to happen organically.

Using your proprietary data in news stories is the best possible kind of promotion for your paid data products because it shows clearly how valuable and useful your datasets are. And introducing proprietary data into your news content sets you apart in the marketplace as a source of evidence-based insight.

So in my view, there’s a powerful case to be made to get your data and news groups working together. Once you do, you’ve set the stage to move to the next level, what’s being called analytical journalism, where you not only present the facts, but explain their implications, which starts you down the road to being able to offer data, trend-spotting and opinion leadership. That’s an editorial package your audience will respect, and pay for.

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