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Working With Data

Working with data

We’re living through a huge change to the way we – and by we I mean journalists – work with data. At the Telegraph this is embodied in a system called STARS which calibrates the audience’s engagement with stories across a variety of metrics, every single day.

The highlights of this are displayed on a giant projection in the newsroom, which I described as ‘like something out of Minority Report’ when I arrived a few months ago. I’m now used to it, in fact more than that, I have embraced it. Charting a story’s success through data sounds terrifying, but it’s a terrific tool. 

If something really strikes a chord, such as the results of the World Cheese Awards or the truth about snacking, it’s useful intel for future commissioning – if the subject resonates, we should be aware of that. But – and it’s a big but – it’s not the only metric. In food, my specialist subject, content such as recipes are never going to get huge attention in their first 24 hours… they live for ever online, ready for a subscriber to find easily when they have some salmon and want new ideas (for instance). Or perhaps they are going to Leeds and want to know if there’s a restaurant worth visiting. 

Why am I telling you this? Because one of the metrics is the amount of comments under a feature and so for you it’s worth having a look at “the bottom half of the internet” if you want to know what an audience is getting excited or infuriated about. Pitch us what you know gets people going, we love that!

What Lisa Thinks…

“Chocolate milk as health food for children is a pretty hard sell but I admire the PR at Hershey’s for giving it a crisp, concise go, and with a salient detail highlighted”


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