Big Local News proposes Data-Plus, a sustainability initiative to generate revenue through enhanced data services. In the past year, Big Local News (BLN) has become a vital resource for local journalism, from providing data related to the coronavirus to developing new automated tools to mine story tips from public documents. Stories from the data we share have informed local communities and created policy change. BLN has been successful in raising philanthropic support, but we believe we can create even more financial security thanks to the data we collect. The Data-Plusproject aims to provide high-value data through a flexible automated data service (Application Programming Interface, or API). Data-Plus also will increase the discoverability and usability of BLN offerings through a data catalog backed by a knowledge graph. For journalists, the data will remain free, while commercial interests will receive data as part of a tiered membership service. This creates revenue to support the journalistic work. The Impact Grant would enable us to build out Data-Plus while exploring the optimal organizational structure for long-term sustainability. We aim to become a vital journalistic utility, with ongoing revenue that supports local accountability reporting into the future. The Impact Grant will make this work possible.
Cheryl Philips, Founder and Director of Big Local News, Stanford University; Serdar Tumgoren, Visiting Professor in Professional Journalism, Stanford University; Justin Mayo, Senior Data Journalist at Big Local News, Stanford University; Eric Sagara, Senior Data Journalist at Big Local News, Stanford University; Dilicia Mercedes, Data Journalist at Big Local News, Stanford University; Regina Roberts, Bibliographer at the Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford University