TeleGraphs, The Telegraph
Organisation: The Telegraph (United Kingdom)
Publication Date: 03/17/2017
Size of team/newsroom:large
DescriptionThe Telegraph has undergone important structural changes over the past year, with the net effect being that data journalism is at the heart of how the newsroom operates. Data journalists are now embedded within other desks as opposed to being a separate silo, and this has greatly enhanced the way in which the Telegraph thinks about telling stories, both online and in print. In addition to this the Telegraph is constantly revising the tools available to the newsroom through our innovative Particle CMS. It's an embeds toolkit which allows every single journalist to create simple visualisations to illustrate any subject, within seconds, without them needing to have any coding skills or even access to Photoshop. Our journalists have used these tools to visualise anything from the macroeconomic consequences of the Chancellor's budget to the number of mentions of 'America' in Donald Trump's Inauguration speech. Alongside basic graphing tools, journalists has been trained to create choropleth maps, interactive tools such as postcode lookups and isotypes. With the launch of Telegraph Premium - a paid-for section of our digital platforms for engaged users - data-led content is now at the forefront of our publication strategy. Bespoke analyses and visualisations are used to provide paying readers with a deeper and richer digital experience. It fills our aim to provide insight and information to our audience, who are predominantly politically engaged and wish to receive the full picture on what it means - both on a national and individual level. The Telegraph has also strengthened its commitment to data journalism this year by launching a dedicated data journalism section: TeleGraphs. The page acts as a data hub with a mix of in-depth analysis, quick-fire fact checking and news-based investigations. It includes a "news in numbers" section with analysis on the day's key issues, charts to contextualise the public debate and a data-led video section. The topics vary from Brexit and Trump to Africa’s population forecasts, from the Premier League to education league tables. TeleGraphs has a strong visual focus, with our Brexit and US election coverage proving particularly successful this year. The variety of interactives, tools and static graphics have allowed us to provide our readers with the facts they need and to make complex topics more accessible. Our data journalism site brings light to complex matters, digging into data and turning it into dissectable information. This involves data-informed visuals featuring on the homepage and social media. These are successful tools to engage our readers, and work well when partnered with more detailed graphics to provide the analysis that our readers demand. Our approach is one that puts our readers first: the majority of our audience aren’t subject experts in many of the areas we cover, and so direct, engaging, visual-led data journalism can help them better understand the world around them.
What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?The Telegraph has completely changed the way it approaches data journalism over the past year, integrating it closely with desks throughout the newsroom. Data journalists are now embedded on the business and news desks, ensuring that data is woven into the fabric of the publication’s reporting. This closer relationship between data and subject specialists has led to important, innovative content, both in print and on digital platforms. Examples of this include our photo-driven feature on victims of mass shootings and our analysis of open NHS data to highlight the regional variation in the length of time GP practices are open. Closer ties between data journalists and subject desks has also allowed knowledge to be easily shared. Reporters are shown how to create simple visualisations and perform basic data analyses, freeing up data and graphics teams to create more complex, innovative work. Our Particle CMS drives innovation - with data-led components, such as charts, postcode-lookups and budget calculators, forming a key part of many stories. The idea of the TeleGraphs data team is to democratise data both across the newsroom and throughout our readers. We don't do this by hoarding information in overly complicated graphics, but by creating data-led tools for journalists to use and simple but informative visualisations. One of the most notable examples of newsroom tools is our Opta-powered robo-blogger. This initiative was initially funded by a Google grant but its capabilities were greatly expanded for the European Championship last summer. It automatically produces live graphics of goals and key events in every game, helping our live football coverage be visual-led within seconds of the event. This strategy’s success has been clear: during the US election week, two of the top 10 most-read Telegraph pieces were data stories (our poll tracker and results analysis), while data story-related pageviews have doubled and engagement time is up 20% since April 2016.
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