ABC O&Os Launch Data Journalism Initiative

The station group is creating a new team that will make data journalism a mainstream, daily core of its eight newsrooms, staffed by a group of next-generation data journalists and led by newly hired director of data journalism, John Kelly, formerly of USA Today.

ABC Owned Television Stations is investing in a new local data journalism initiative aimed at driving “hyperlocal, high-impact” community reporting.

It says with the rise of “smart cities” and an increasing amount of publicly available data, “newsrooms have an unprecedented opportunity to provide critical context and relevance around the most important issues impacting local communities. By analyzing data at the neighborhood level, this innovative approach to investigative reporting will bring deeper relevance and context to the 1,590 communities that make up ABC’s eight owned stations.”

The initiative will include the following:

A new team across its eight newsrooms that will make data journalism amainstream, daily core of ABC’s newsrooms, staffed by a group of next-generation data journalists and led by newly hired director of data journalism, John Kelly. An award-winning investigative reporter and data journalist, Kelly brings more than 25 years of experience, most recently as director of data journalism for the USA Today Network where he led dozens of award-winning collaborative investigations in more than 100 local newsrooms across the country, including a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. His data work has driven projects that won journalism and innovation awards from IRE, ONA and the National Press Club.

Selection for participation in the 2019 Google News Initiative’s Innovation Challenge around journalism in the digital age via a newly announced California-based data journalism project, the California Open Data Exchange (C.O.D.E.). Through C.O.D.E., ABC will pilot a systematic and holistic orientation around public data, starting with the state of California. Teams will evaluate the full public data ecosystem across the state to extract the most important data points and deliver information in ways that can make a difference in the lives of local consumers. An innovative new “Data Studio” will pilot new ways to bring data stories to life on video and support the creation of hyperlocal digital news products.

Partnership with Northeastern University and the Stanton Foundation to research the audience impact of modernizing visuals used in video storytelling across all platforms. WLS Chicago has hired Adriana Aguilar as a visual content producer. Aguilar, a graduate from the University of Central Florida’s Character Animation Program, will create 2D and 3D animations for daily and longer-form stories produced by the ABC 7 Chicago news team. The team will track the performance of all the specialized content throughout the research project.


“The ABC owned television stations proudly serve our eight local markets, and with investments in data journalism, we are able to reach deeper into the heart of those communities to deliver news and information that our viewers care about most,” said Wendy McMahon, president of ABC Owned TV Stations.

“Open data is an incredible asset in informing citizens and holding those in power accountable. It’s our duty as local journalists to discover, investigate and communicate important information hiding in data,” said Anna Robertson, VP of ABC Owned TV Stations Content and Partner Innovation. “This initiative will enable us to supercharge our commitment to putting data journalism at the heart of our newsrooms on a daily basis.”

ABC has already expanded its use of data storytelling to inform coverage of major news stories, including a multiplatform investigative series around measles vaccination rates across the country and the coverage of important earthquake retrofit readiness of local hospitals in nearly 500 communities across Los Angeles.

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tvn-member-3011604 says:

November 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Here’s how it needs to work: first clean out the bias and dishonesty, next re-build credibility with viewers and third, innovate. That’s only way this will be successful.

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