WRAL-TV One of Two Newsrooms Chosen to Participate in Pilot Program on Data Journalism

WRAL-TV has been selected by Local Media Association (LMA) to participate in a pilot project on data journalism.  LMA, in partnership with Facebook Journalism and Crosstown, is offering the opportunity to “empower smaller and mid-sized newsrooms to access and transform data into high-impact local journalism.”

WRAL-TV is one of two local news organizations selected for the pilot project, alongside the team of The Times-Picayune, The Advocate and NOLA.com in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA.

“This pilot project is designed to help busy newsrooms access and analyze local datasets and use that data to identify and report on local issues in ways that make numbers meaningful to their audiences,” said Frank Mungeam, chief innovation officer at LMA. “Making data accessible and actionable to all in the newsroom is key to our broader mission of sustainable models for local news.”

Tools and training from Crosstown, a data tool technology developed at USC, will be utilized for the project thanks to funding and support from Facebook Journalism Project.

“Our company has a proud tradition of using data to tell important stories on our TV and digital platforms,” said WRAL Digital Vice President John Conway. “The Crosstown tools and Facebook funding will allow us to amplify and expand that crucial reporting. We also look forward to testing new business models for serving our mass audience at a neighborhood level with hyper-local and highly relevant data.”

The funding from Facebook Journalism Project will not only provide each newsroom with the Crosstown technology and the training and project development to use the data tools and data sets pertinent to the local community.  Funds from Facebook will also support the news department’s data journalist position, now held by Investigative Data Reporter Ali Ingersoll. WRAL-TV Enterprise Executive Producer Ashley Talley will oversee the news department’s participation in the pilot program.

The data tool technology developed at USC was created in a collaboration between the Annenberg School of Journalism and the Viterbi School of Engineering.

“The goal of USC Annenberg’s Crosstown experiment is to harness data to help newsrooms across the country produce high-quality, cost-effective hyperlocal news,” said Gabriel Kahn of Crosstown. “By using data to surface stories on key quality of life issues, such as traffic, housing and crime, we can deliver neighborhood-level news in the form of charts, maps, and stories for minimal costs.”

About Crosstown
Crosstown is a technology developed at USC as a data tool for journalists in a collaboration between the Annenberg School for Journalism and Communication and the Viterbi School of Engineering. It powers Crosstown_LA, a nonprofit news organization based at the Annenberg School.

About The Facebook Journalism Project
The Facebook Journalism Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve through training, programs, and partnerships.

About Local Media Association
Local Media Association is a thriving and innovative organization serving more than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, digital news sites, radio stations and research & development partners. Local Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust that supports the mission of LMA and the essential role of local news and information in a healthy democracy.

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