Media & Entertainment

Things We Learned: Newsrooms Adrift in Data Matters

It’s easy to be fed up with all the talk of big data, but there’s no doubt that data is playing a more important role than ever in media. It’s a lesson — don’t call it a learning — drilled home this week in the five things we learned.

Newsrooms are adrift when it comes to data.

For all the buzz about data, no one has really figured out which information to use, or how. In media, nowhere is this problem more acute than newsrooms. News Corp’s Raju Narisetti believes there’s a cultural problem in many newsrooms that leads to the mistaken notion that “responding to reader concerns is nothing but pandering.” The difficulty is cultural. Newsrooms aren’t comfortable with the idea of data entering their craft. And yet it’s inevitable. Take the efforts at many publications to hold writers accountable based on the audience metrics they produce. Traditionalists will turn their noses up, warn of a race to the bottom, but data is going to play only a larger role in newsrooms. The only question is whether it is used responsibly.

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