Press Room

Democratising access to data crucial to transformation, yet media culture remains key blocker to adoption, INMA report shows

13 January 2021

DALLAS (13 January 2021) – Data democratisation by media companies is critical to creating reader-centric products, but a dismissive culture and concerns that data will dictate editorial decision-making remain key drivers in resistance to data adoption, according to a report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA).

“The Benefits and Risks of Media Data Democratisation” explores:

  • The importance of data democratisation.  
  • Benefits of data and metrics.  
  • Risk mitigation of data and metrics abuse.  
  • Metrics for measuring journalism.  
  • Development of data products. 
  • Embracing experiments. 
  • Driving change.  

Click here to download the report

Data democratisation by media companies is part of a broader trend toward evidence-based decision-making driven by new economic pressures on efficiency, management ideas aimed at boosting effectiveness, and advances in technologies. The overwhelming blocker to democratise data in newsrooms is culture, with a recent INMA meet-up survey revealing 87% saw dismissive culture as the single biggest barrier.

“The Benefits and Risks of Media Data Democratisation” fuses together work done in 2021 on a Meta Journalism Project Latin America Audience Analytics Accelerator, findings from Year 1 of the INMA Smart Data Initiative, and academic research.

According to the report, the process of data democratisation – notably for media companies – consists of:

  • Understanding the purpose of data. 
  • Choosing relevant metrics. 
  • Developing data products. 
  • Embracing the scientific method of decision-making.  
  • Motivating decision-makers. 

Among the report’s case studies are Mediahuis, SBT News, Público, UOL, Editora Globo, Caracol TV, Diário do Nordeste, Los Andes, Grupo Reforma, Página 12, El Tiempo, El Universal, Die Presse, and Grupo AM.

The new report, written by INMA Researcher-in-Residence Greg Piechota distills the findings of the Audience Analytics Accelerator Latin America 2021, a joint programme by the Meta Journalism Project and the International News Media Association, in collaboration with the International Center For Journalists (ICFJ). The project offered an eight-month training program and $250,000 USD in grants to eligible news organizations from across the region to transform their online businesses through data insights and analysis. The report sheds light on practical solutions publishers can use to drive data usage through democratisation.

“The Benefits and Risks of Media Data Democratisation” is available for free to INMA members and registered users at All others may register and download here.

About INMA

The International News Media Association (INMA) is a global community of market-leading news media companies reinventing how they engage audiences and grow revenue. The INMA community consists of more than 19,000 members at 900+ news media companies in 81 countries. INMA is the news media industry’s foremost ideas-sharing network with members connected via conferences, reports, Webinars, virtual meetings, an unparalleled archive of best practices, and strategic initiatives focused on digital subscriptions, smart data, product, advertising, and the publisher relationships with Big Tech.

About the Meta Journalism Project

The Meta Journalism Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. It also helps address the news industry’s core business challenges through trainings, programs and partnerships.

About the International Center For Journalists

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) empowers an unparalleled global network of journalists to produce news reports that lead to better governments, stronger economies, more vibrant societies and healthier lives.




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