It’s the people and their stories that guide the data analysis process for the journalists and editors who work for the New York Times. The evolution of data journalism to propel traditional media into digital platforms has used systems thinking and can be compared to how businesses have begun to restructure IT departments and processes.
Writers at the New York Times have adopted new roles to increase the paper’s ability to inform, engage, and entertain. They make strategic decisions about the subject matter based on the people they interview and then use large data sets to help answer the most burning questions. The Analysis in The Built-to-Purpose IT Organization states, “IT organizations are in transition toward more strategic business contribution roles and away from a predominating focus on the delivery of technology services. It’s clear that many IT organizations are already changing their roles, and that the majority will do so by the end of the decade.” New York Times has aligned digital and print operations to deliver a consistent experience to readers and also leveraged technical capabilities, effectively changing the roles and contributions of the people who create the content. The New York Times has also begun giving classes on basic data skills to reporters and editors.
In Improving Content Strategy, the author points out that ‘curating a reader’s experience is inherent in print and digital media organizations.” A similar approach is guiding the roles of the IT departments. For example, it is pointed out that the purpose must drive an organization and more businesses are expecting several value propositions and roles from the IT department. The same can be said for an effective content strategy in data journalism where recommendations are made to “align print and online operations so that content is delivered consistently across platforms and the technical capabilities of each platform are leveraged appropriately.”
“Media innovation unfolds through interrelated mutations in technology, in communication, and in organization,” from Pablo J. Bozkowski in Digitizing the News,. I think this quote can be applied to many different industries and their ability to adapt business models to compete in the digital era.
– Improving Content Strategy, What Businesses Can Learn From Data Journalism, Fox School of Business, Temple University
– The Built-to-Purpose IT Organization, John Mahoney, Colleen Young, Gartner, Published Oct. 25, 2012
–In Data Journalism, Tech Matters Less Than the People, Nov 30, 2019, The New York Times