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New INMA report focuses on democratising data at media companies

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 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.

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 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.


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