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For a profession that portends to frown upon clichés, we certainly like to dole them out when the next best thing seems to come along… Today: “Generative AI is a game-changer.” Five years ago: “Trust is the new currency.” Seven, eight years ago? “Data is the new oil.” 

Our recent survey on GenAI revealed that half of news- rooms surveyed said they were using GenAI in some fashion – since it burst onto publishers’ radar late last year. The other half, more or less, want more development and assurances before wholeheartedly wrapping their arms around it.

When data and analytics started to creep onto the scene in the last 10 years, many newsrooms thought it taboo to use data to help inform their editorial strategy. And the reality today is that many journalists – and some editors – still need convincing about the power of data in their editorial plans.

Just a few ways data is helping publishers today, explored at length in this report:

understanding your audience
helping to segment your audience
personalising content
improving product creation
transforming newsroom functionalities
making predictive analyses

and boosting your subscription business

When we set out to work on this report, we wanted to identify an array of publishers, both large and small and from all over the world, that have embraced data as a core part of their everyday newsroom strategy. Some might be more advanced than others, but each brings a level of innovation and inspiration that any publisher can learn from.

At Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, personalisation has been driven jointly by the digital, product and data teams. An audience management team comprising data experts was set up in the editorial department to serve as a bridge between data and editorial, noted Christian Ammendola Christian, Head of Data.

All publishers, however, talk about how data capabilities work best when supported by editorial skills, and inter-departmental collaboration. “Data isn’t filtered through the prism of our experience and expertise. We gather data to make decisions, complemented by editorial judgement,” said Shea Driscoll, Digital Editor, South China Morning Post.

German brand Der Spiegel’s Alexander Held, Senior Data Scientist, supports this statement. “It’s really interesting and exciting to sit, say, with someone from qualitative research to talk about different kinds of approaches to the user,” he said.

The report features nine deep case studies – some inspired from our events, our data science group initiative and our own research. We will continue to cover those in-depth – both in our daily content and future reports. They are from:

Amedia (Norway)
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland)
The Times of India (India)
Trib Total Media (USA)
Der Spiegel (Germany)
Dong-A Ilbo (South Korea)
Mediahuis (Belgium)
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)
Eco-Business (Singapore)

We would like to thank all of the publishers who agreed to share their insights and strategies, as well as all the recommendations we received from our Data Science Group. If you are interested in joining that group, sign up here.

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