Using Survey Data To Find Story ‘Hooks’

In 1921, Guardian editor CP Scott wrote that ‘comment is free, but facts are sacred’. Fast forward to 2013, and the publishing of those facts has evolved into a new type of journalism; data journalism.

This data journalism handbook says that by using ‘databases of — for example — census data or survey data, journalists are able to move beyond the reporting of specific, isolated events to providing a context which gives them meaning’.

As we’ve mentioned before, in today’s online world brands are becoming publishers. A website is no longer just an electronic version of a sales brochure and as a result, data journalism is not only relevant to traditional journalists, but to anyone involved in marketing or managing a brands online presence.

So, how can you turn survey results into data-driven stories?

  • Pick out any interesting outliers within your results and run with them.
  • Have you collected qualitative data as well as quantitative data? If yes then harness comments and opinion to help bring your story to life.
  • If a particular action has influenced the results of your study or survey then consider this as the lead angle for your story.
  • Are there any results that you feel people will connect with emotionally? If yes then these should be highlighted.
  • If they’re powerful enough, then let the numbers speak for themselves. Numbers are a universal language that everyone can understand and relate to.
  • Consider using video explanations and charts alongside written word to help recipients of your information grasp ‘the big picture’.

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