The ABC Owned Television Stations group is launching a new local data journalism initiative designed to bolster hyperlocal community reporting.
“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.
The group will be investing by hiring a group of next-generation data journalists, led by new director of data journalism John Kelly. Kelly most recently had been director of data journalism at USA Today.
The stations will participate in the 2019 Google News Initiative’s Innovation Challenge. They have also formed a partnership with Northeastern University and the Stanton Foundation to research the audience impact of modernizing visuals used in video news.
WLS-TV, ABC’s station in Chicago has haired Adriana Aguilar as a visual content producer.
ABC has already expanded its use of data storytelling to inform coverage of major news stories, including a multiplatform investigative series around measles vaccinations rates across the country and the coverage of important earthquake retrofit readiness of local hospitals in nearly 500 communities across Los Angeles.
“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.”