Why newsrooms are expanding their data teams

A few years ago, publishers began enlisting data scientists to help with audience building and monetization. But back in 2014, publisher data teams usually consisted of only a person or two.

Since then, several publishers have expanded their number of full-time data experts. And their roles have grown too. Media data scientists are now developing apps based on machine learning, shaping content-management systems, teaming up with first-party data providers and testing augmented reality features. Here are a handful of large publishers that have increased their emphasis on data analysis.

Mashable
In 2013, Mashable brought on Haile Owusu, who has a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics, as its chief data scientist to work on the site’s analytics tool that predicts which articles will go viral. Since then, Mashable has hired two additional full-time data analysts and added an intern. In the past year, the data team led by Owusu has helped shape Mashable’s new CMS and its Knowledge Graph tool, which tracks how branded content on Mashable is shared through social platforms, email and text messages.

The Huffington Post
In 2014, The Huffington Post hired its first full-time data scientist. The website now has eight data scientists in its product and tech departments and three data people on the editorial side. They do everything from create machine-learning algorithms that notify editors which articles are likely to go viral to assist journalists with interactive features.

Hearst Corp.
Rick McFarland and his colleagues are working on developing apps driven by deep learning, which would allow users to find Hearst content based off their own images. For example, an app user uploading a picture of a Chevy Cruze could theoretically be connected to an article from Car and Driver that reviewed the Cruze.

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