New business models for data journos

How might a business model for data journalism look like? Is it possible to make money with data analysis for freelancers, or is data journalism something which works only for large media organizations who possess a lot of data and can turn it into being profitable? These issues were discussed among others at the recent data journalism meetup (@ddjmonaco) hosted by Hubert Burda Media, the company I work for in Munich. You can read more about the projects and participants here. Here’re the most important findings.

Freelance journalists can dive into #ddj on their own – but rather for fame than for money

Journalist and media trainer Bernd Oswald (@berndoswald) presented his first data journalism project: visualization of 1201 Depeche Mode concerts (read more in German here). After scraping all the concerts and establishing contact to the largest Depeche Mode community in Germany which eventually published his findings, he found his article and graphics republished by the German Rolling Stone magazine.



Thus, days of effort were rewarded, though they still didn’t bring in direct revenues. However, these baby steps in data journalism not only let authors explore new possibilities for digital storytelling, but also bring indirect revenues by helping establish their reputatation in the community and potentially bringing in new invitations for talks, workshops as well as other data journalism projects.

Turning data into insights for companies

Oliver Schnuck (@schnuko) presented GentriMap – a project for the measurement and visualization of gentrification in Munich. Using the data of ImmobilienScout 24 and open data by the Munich Agency of Statistics, he visualizied shifts in the Munich urban communities based on rent prices, condominiums and affrodable flats. Oliver also developed residential-economic and socio-demographic indices helping to evaluate development of specific city districts.



Such findings can be used by media organizations in a number of ways, the most obvious being developing journalistic stories, looking into the data and finding trends and deviations from the norm and then conduction qualitative field research the way scientists would do that as well. For example, journalists could develop stories about most surprising findings and talk to the local residents and authorities to put data into context and give it a human touch.

Another way to utilize such data would be to provide data-based services to the companies interested in establishing their presence in the city and looking for an optimal location. For example, a supermarket chain would be extremely interested in such data in case they were thinking of opening new stores but were unsure as to which district would bring most profits.

As you can see, data journalism if done properly can turn media organizations into data and analytics agencies and secure a new revenue source.

Read more on this topics:
5 reasons why journalists should take part in hackathons
Journalists as digital product managers

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