We’re excited to announce that we’re investing in a more ambitious approach to data-driven journalism.
Data journalism has become an essential part of The Times’ report and increasingly common in our regular news coverage. Data clarifies subjects like COVID hospitalization rates and aids explanations of events like the latest jobs report. It fuels enterprise and investigative journalism, revealing the hidden prices of health care or exposing the punishing reach of racism. And projects like our COVID-19 case tracker have demonstrated how data journalism can play a crucial role to millions of people, providing clear and trustworthy information about the places our readers live and in ways that help them navigate their daily lives.
With that in mind, we are putting significant muscle behind a new vision for the role data journalism will play in the future of our news report. We want readers to regularly turn to The Times for sophisticated analysis, data-driven dashboards and tools, and impactful investigative projects.
As a big first step on this ambitious path, we will open more than a dozen new data roles in the newsroom over the course of the year, with more to come in 2023. And to guide our vision, we are assigning dedicated masthead leadership in this area. Matt Ericson will become assistant managing editor for data journalism, assuming responsibility for data journalism across the newsroom. Matt is a seasoned leader who has shaped many aspects of our digital experience in his 19 years at The Times — first as the deputy graphics director and more recently as an assistant managing editor overseeing our CMS and much of the newsroom’s work with product and design. He will guide the creation of new data teams for elections, weather, and daily and enterprise journalism. These teams will sit alongside The Upshot within the new larger data organization that Matt leads. Matt will maintain involvement in work with Product and Design even as he expands his focus to this new role.
Here are the major new priorities we’ll be investing in over the coming year:
Data in daily and enterprise journalism. We’re looking to expand the newsroom’s capacity for data-driven reporting and statistical analysis. In order to do that, we will be looking to hire a data editor to draft a vision for this new team. Over time, this team will find opportunities to partner with desks to add substantive data analysis across the report, as well as pursuing its own projects.
Election Data. The Times has become the preeminent destination on election nights for tens of millions of Americans who turn to us for the latest election results and clear statistical analysis that demonstrates how the races are actually playing out. We are expanding the team in the newsroom that is focused on election results, including hiring a director of election data analytics, a statistician, a survey analyst and developers to provide the most advanced analysis for our readership.
Weather Data. During extreme weather events, tools like the wildfire and hurricane trackers have provided an essential service to our readers. We want to build upon this work, so we are looking to hire an editor to lead a new team in the newsroom dedicated to weather data. The team will collaborate with other departments, especially Graphics, to find opportunities to make individual digital projects into always-on interactive features, and to pursue new sources of weather data, ensuring that The Times is an essential destination for understanding important weather events in reliable, visual and ongoing formats.
This organizational structure creates a clear center of responsibility for data in the newsroom with opportunities for career development, giving consistency in approach and standards, and creating the fluidity to rotate resources among desks and projects.
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