ProPublica Data Store

ProPublica Data Store

Organisation: ProPublica (United States)

Publication Date: 04/10/2017


Size of team/newsroom:large



The ProPublica Data Store is a pioneering effort to make it easier for people to find the data that is used in ProPublica’s reporting, while building revenue from data journalism to sustain our long-term projects. The Data Store was relaunched in October, 2016 and now has more than 50 data products available: 32 free downloads, 17 available for purchase, and 5 data APIs. We have also opened up the platform for other news organizations with data sets of value, from national news organizations to local papers and the Investigative Reporters and Editors NICAR Data Library.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Across the industry, the data we create as an input into our journalism has always been of great value, but after publication it typically remained locked up on the hard drives of our data journalists -- of no use either to other journalists, or to anybody else who might find value in it. ProPublica has always been committed to open data -- we have licensed almost all of our stories under a Creative Commons license since 2008 -- but we saw a potential way to defray the costs of our data work by serving a market for commercial licenses. In 2016, more than 1,000 free data sets were downloaded, and data sales generated nearly $70,000 in revenue. In addition to the financial impact, data sales have helped us put useful data into the hands of others who are seeking to make positive change in the public interest, including journalists and academics, as well as lawyers, public health workers, hospital compliance departments, and local officials. News organizations are in the information business. As newsrooms look everywhere for revenue opportunities, licensing data is an example of a potential path forward.

Technologies used for this project:

Craft CMS, Amazon AWS, MkDocs, Screendoor, Salesforce/Pardot
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