Look Ahead: New Website, data.world, is the Social Network for Data People

While using data in a story offers many benefits for a reporter, figuring out how to do so can be a complicated process.

With data.world, journalists can upload, share and analyze data sets in a secure and collaborative environment. The website boasts a broad range of data on topics such as finance, health, sports and politics.

“Today’s newsrooms are hoping to get three things out of data,” said Ian Greenleigh, director of marketing. “They want to find stories in data faster, use it to add depth, relevance and context to their reporting and to build trust with readers.”

Greenleigh said the platform is designed specifically for collaboration to give people the ability to exchange ideas and share insights within a familiar social interface.

After creating a free account, users can track what others are working on and view recently added data sets on the platform’s news feed. Users can also choose to be notified whenever there is an update on particular data projects and topics of interest.

Once a story is ready, newsrooms can publish the data that informs the reporting to earn trust with readers. In a recent survey conducted by data.world, 78 percent of respondents said they would have greater trust in an online news article if given access to the data behind a story.

According to Greenleigh, the most important factor that comes in to play when making data simple and easy to understand for journalists is context.

Ian Greenleigh

“Newsrooms have a spectrum of data literacy, and when anyone can understand what the data means and how it was derived, you can bring more people to the table,” he said. “Keeping that context connected to the data, in one place, provides that space where a non-technical subject matter expert can collaborate productively with a data journalist or news app developer.”

Since the product launch last year, Greenleigh said he has seen interest from newspapers in data.world continue to grow.

“Newspaper reporters are signing up every day. Often they come to find a particular data set, then start exploring the collaboration features and getting more out of the platform,” Greenleigh said. “Our pilot program with AP, which focuses on localizing data for AP member newsrooms, has contributed a lot to getting the word out.”

Though there will always be a free tier to share data publicly on the site, Greenleigh said they eventually plan on charging a monthly fee to community members and organizations who use the platform for professional collaboration.

For more information, visit data.world.

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Published: October 3, 2017

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