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Publisher creates specialist data journalism unit

Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror today announced the creation of a specialist two-person unit to oversee data journalism across its titles.

David Ottewell, a new editor at the Manchester Evening News, will head the new unit which will be responsible for developing content ideas for the group’s websites and print publications.

He will be joined by Claire Miller, currently a reporter at Media Wales in Cardiff who has been responsible for developing the WalesOnline datastore.

The new unit will pilot ideas through one or more individual titles before rolling them out across the group and will report to David Higgerson, digital publishing director for Trinity Mirror’s regional digital platforms.

Said David:  “There has been an explosion of freely available data from various sources over the past few years.

“We need to go through that data, identify which of it is of interest to our readers and then turn it into compelling content which gives people context as well as the ability to search the data for information which will appeal to them.

“I am delighted David has agreed to head up the team. He has been one of our pioneers of data journalism in recent years and I believe is the best possible person to make our ideas a reality.

“In Claire, we also have someone who has shown time and again that there are fascinating stories to be found within data which appeal to a wide audience.”

As well as the Media Wales datastore, Trinity Mirror titles have undertaken a number of data journalism projects in recent years which the group says have demonstrated the potential value of data.

They include the Race for a School Place series in Birmingham which tells readers how likely their child is to get into their chosen secondary school.

Neil Benson, editorial director regionals, said: “We are responding to the challenges facing the industry by fundamentally redefining our approach to content creation, and the new data unit is the latest piece in the jigsaw.

“Data journalism has been an area of growing importance for us over the past two years, and the new unit will enable us to progress much faster, across all our newsrooms.”

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  • March 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    But will there be any raising in standards of numeracy amongst those writing the “fascinating stories”?

    Generally the standard of numeracy – including on the business pages of quality dailies – is poor.

    To start with, the phrase “X times less than” should be banned as it’s almost always going to be wrong. If A really did earn X times less than B, then A would be paying his or her employer for the privilege of being allowed to work

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