INMA launches Smart Data Initiative for growing data practices, culture at news companies

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, USA


The International News Media Association (INMA) today announced the launch of a premium initiative for members and the news industry aimed at sharing insights and best practices on creating value with data analytics for media companies and incorporating a data-positive culture.

The Smart Data Initiative is the third subject matter deep-dive endeavour by INMA after its popular 2-year-old Readers First Initiative and recently launched Product Initiative. Combined, the three INMA initiatives are designed to elevate the transformative intersection of subscriptions, data, and product at media companies.

The new data-focused initiative aims to focus on five key areas:

  • Tying data to business strategy: Data plays a critical role in accelerating digital transformation of news media. INMA surfaces the best ways to align data initiatives to editorial and business objectives and will build a business case for the investment in data infrastructure and partnerships.
  • Practical applications: Armed with data insights and through rigorous experimentation, news media companies aspire to engage audiences better, grow reader revenue, and reinvent advertising in the post-third-party cookie era. INMA will bring all data-focused best practices and benchmarks to bear.
  • Data fundamentals: New tech and data infrastructure is becoming a backbone for digital publishing. Understand the technology stack required to enable monetisation. Learn how to register and log in your audiences to unlock the value. 
  • Advances in data analytics: Thanks to machine learning and AI, media companies learn more about customers and their journeys, predict behaviours, and segment them to better fit their products, services, and their marketing mix. The Smart Data Initiative will unleash the potential of new methods and technologies.
  • Data-positive culture: As media companies reset their internal cultures around engagement, they democratise the use of data for decision-making and make it central to their day-to-day work. Share ideas and inspire change at your organisation through this new initiative.

The Smart Data Initiative will have at least six deliverables for INMA members: a bi-weekly newsletter, a Slack channel for data enthusiasts, bi-monthly meet-ups (like this one), reports, and a master class and summit for richer learnings.

Key deliverables of the Smart Data Initiative will help publishers elevate their data strategies.
Key deliverables of the Smart Data Initiative will help publishers elevate their data strategies.

Heading the Smart Data Initiative for INMA is Grzegorz (Greg) Piechota, the association's researcher-in-residence. Former senior researcher at Harvard and Oxford universities, he started his career in journalism and led the newsroom of Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland. The book he wrote with Professor Thales Teixeira, Unlocking the Customer Value Chain, was recognised the Best Marketing Book of 2019 by Strategy+Business magazine. Piechota also heads INMA’s Readers First Initiative. 

 “The Smart Data Initiative aspires to provide a blueprint for revolutionising publishers’ value propositions, operating and monetisation models, while maintaining their missions and values,” said Earl J. Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA. “We aim to transform the online news business and make journalism sustainable by helping publishers analyse and act on data in new and creative ways.”

The Smart Data Initiative marks INMA’s third major effort in three years to dive deeply into a subject. INMA recently launched the Product Initiative, in January, focusing on metrics, experimentation, team structures, strategies, and working with stakeholders.

About Dawn McMullan

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