Newsday research highlights business case for data journalism

By Kai Teoh


Melville, New York, United States


Data journalism tends to be labour intensive, both in terms of time and technical expertise. This makes it a harder sell for newsrooms to invest in data journalism, despite its impact. A reporter’s time is one of the most valuable resources in a newsroom these days, and it can be hard to justify spending it on a data story.

We hope to serve our community through data work, but what if it can serve our business needs as well?

Data journalism benefits communities, readers, and businesses themselves.
Data journalism benefits communities, readers, and businesses themselves.

In an effort to answer this question, Newsday commissioned surveys with local businesses and chambers of commerce to gain better insight.

Business and journalism data needs can align

Respondents showed interest in industry reports and forecasts, as well as community research and data, which includes local income and poverty level data, housing, health, transit, and demographic data.

For many newsrooms, these topics may sound familiar. These are the kinds of data reporting and analysis that reporters often already engage in, and these are topics that would serve and empower our readers too. These are topics worth reporting on, and now we have a business argument for it as well.

News organisations are the go-to for research

Asked about their go-to resources for research, both print and TV news organisations were selected more than the U.S. Census Bureau, the state Department of Labor, and even other trade or business associations.

And, nearly half of our respondents were interested in learning about paid research from Newsday.

What does this mean for other newsrooms?

Different communities and businesses will have different levels of interest and willingness to pay, that much is a given. But this is also where a newsroom’s role as a community pillar — as the expert in all things local, comes into play.

What newsrooms are sitting on is hyperlocal data, vetted by journalists and outside experts through their reporting process, and not easily accessible elsewhere.

Unlocking that potential could help our industry and organisations find a path forward to both better journalism and sustainability.

About Kai Teoh

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