Amy Starlight Lawrence of the Knight Foundation has a great piece on how open data has helped at least a few news orgs boost page views, whether it’s through the Texas Tribune’s Prison Directory or embeddable widgets exposing bill sponsorship. It’s all great work, and a bit risky, particular for the Tribune, because traditionally opening up these databases, which often come at the price of costly court battles or countless hours of data entry drudgery, has been seen as giving away a competitive advantage. It might become a competitive advantage instead:
The Texas Tribune has figured out one way to draw and keep readers on their site. The state-focused news source publishes on average onedatabase a week. Combined, the data pages get two and a half times the traffic of the narrative journalismpages, helping to draw the 200,000 unique monthly visitors to their site.
Opening databases was a hot topic at yesterday’s Open Journalism & the Open Web session, and it’s nice to have some statistics that opening up databases to the public has some return beyond, as one participant worried, “playing all your cards at once.”
Our belief at MuckRock is that more public data should be back in the public domain (Your tax dollars paid for it, after all!), and we couldn’t applaud these initiatives more.