The global outbreak of coronavirus is the beginning of a story that will shape generations. The virus is on course to wreak havoc for months, if not years to come—with serious public health, social and economic impacts.
During this time, newsrooms are a lifeline—with television networks, newspapers and online outlets reaching record audiences. In March, analysts at Nielsen estimated that America’s three broadcast network evening newscasts were averaging more than 30 million viewers, their highest viewership in more than 15 years. Meanwhile, digital readership of British news outlets in the first quarter surged 35 percent year-over-year.
In this fast-moving and unprecedented pandemic, people are hungry for fast and accurate information. Businesses and governments are making hurried decisions with direct impact on health and livelihoods, and media outlets often serve as the primary messenger to the public.
The pandemic has created an increasingly challenging newsgathering environment for journalists. COVID-related public policy changes, mass layoffs, business closures and public demonstrations are fluid stories that can be difficult to stay on top of. Meanwhile, the pandemic has put new constraints on the newsroom, as journalists shift to remote work. The result is that at a critical time for journalism, journalists are more stretched than ever.
The old tactics that worked in the past—handpicked social media lists, RSS feeds and keyword-based news alerts—strain under the reality of covering a global pandemic. They also largely ignore the tens of millions of social media posts and tens of thousands of other public data sources that fall outside of those lists.
Dataminr for News is designed to help journalists in their newsgathering efforts, wherever they may be working in the COVID era, by finding the earliest indications of developing news stories from more than 150,000 public data sources.
More than 650 newsrooms worldwide trust Dataminr for News, which has grown its user base every year since its launch in 2013. Dataminr for News is completely mobile, with a desktop app, mobile app, email notifications, and integrations with popular collaboration tools in the newsroom such as Slack and TweetDeck—helpful as journalists work from home.
In a recent conversation I had with a journalist at a major British television network, he said he thought of Dataminr as another member of his digital newsgathering team, finding important stories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“It's peace of mind, knowing that we are covered worldwide for any story that may not have been picked up by people we follow on social media or on news wires,” he said.
Rather than spending time searching for stories, journalists who use Dataminr for News can instead focus on what they do best—verifying tips, chasing leads and telling compelling stories. And ultimately, telling those stories faster.
As we navigate the remainder of the year and look ahead to 2021, Dataminr stands ready to support journalists by ensuring they have a real-time view into breaking news events across the globe—whether in the field, or at their kitchen table.
Kirsten Dewar is the Global Director of News at Dataminr. Prior to Dataminr, she had a decade of experience in journalism working primarily for Al Jazeera and CNN in Europe and the Middle East. She has a degree in History from London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where she specialized in the history of the Middle East and learned Arabic.