In the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, newsrooms are working at a fever pitch. But if we slow down a minute to take a closer look at modern-day news organizations, we might ask ourselves: can they really provide accurate, unbiased information on current events at Twitter speed?
News and the art of gathering it has evolved exponentially in the last few years. How the news is consumed is also light years away from where it was a decade ago. The explosive growth of the Internet and mobile devices has anyone and everyone broadcasting their opinions. The former broadcast news landscape has shattered into millions of different sources, platforms, and feeds, each using curated content models that cater to the reader, allowing them to pick and choose their sources.
With the expanding market of content platforms and multichannel news sources has come a myriad of perspectives. Does having this choice of who we listen to – or don’t listen to – make us unintentionally biased? This question is incredibly important to consider when we as a society come together to make informed decisions that impact everyone’s future.
Today’s major news organizations are balancing two realities. One is civic responsibility for reliable, responsible journalism. The other is profitability that mandates speedy content for readers on the go. This has forced news providers to become data-driven machines – seamlessly reacting across browsers, mobile screens, and social feeds 24×7. The imperative for speed has trumped traditional ways of reporting news. Data algorithms now drive content. Data-driven research and statistics have become an important source to supplement the day’s news. Third-party data tools are being used.
But this new focus on Big Data is also a curse. A petabyte of unprocessed, unstructured data is almost as useful as having no data at all. That’s why better tools to manage Big Data and stronger data algorithms are needed to create content that can benefit today’s readers. This is an important initiative for SAP, and we’re providing technology that is already impacting the way news is prepared and consumed for important current events, such as the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
As the exclusive sponsor of Reuters’ Polling Explorer, SAP is working with Reuters to provide journalists and consumers the latest polling data, stories about the election, and more. Real-time data is fueling Reuters with the tools needed to execute news with accuracy, speed, and integrity. The new polling explorer increased their readers’ engagement from 240K visits for all of 2012 election cycle to 6.2M just in the first four months since launch in November. The Reuters election app, built on SAP Mobile Platform, uses the new data system to match users with the candidate who best fits with their own political leanings. And Reuters can use SAP Lumira software to inform polling data and other data sets into data visualizations that provide facts and stats in a dynamic, interactive manner.
SAP and others are working closely with industry leaders to give news organizations the tools they need to remain competitive in today’s crowded digital content ecosystem. By providing technology platforms that are easy to use and scalable for any sized business, technology providers can give news providers across the world a trove of insights that impact their readers in real time, especially during momentous, breaking news cycles.
Maggie Chan Jones is CMO of SAP.
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