Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza has launched a digital data journalism platform to offer more interactive and visual content to its paying subscribers.
The priority of BIQdata.pl, which launched this week, is data visualisation, and the website allows users to explore the data and engage with it by clicking on the visuals or using sliders.
"The text is a comment attached to the data," said BIQdata editor Vadim Makarenko. "This is a new approach when it comes to media in Poland. A lot of NGOs do it right now, but not media. This was the first website of its kind."
Launched on Monday (September 22), BIQdata is also gathering open data and corporate data. Makarenko said the platform was going to be place for "data geeks" to spend their time.
He said it was a general interest data journalism website, without a focus on investigations or any other specialisms. "We are taking data from sports, culture, politics, business... In this context we are much more like Datablog at the Guardian."
He said a data journalism project like BIQdata required resources many Polish newsrooms do not have. To make it work, Gazeta Wyborcza put together a team consisting of a reporter, an editor, a graphic designer, and a programmer, but Makarenko said this was not common in Poland.
"When it comes to Polish newsrooms," he said, "they are still filled with journalists only. We have our graphic designers, but it's a separate team working for all the desks."
The data visualisations and interactives on BIQdata are currently built using open source software like Datawrapper, Timeline JS, and Plotly. Makarenko told Journalism.co.uk the team planned to develop their own data visualisations tools.
While BIQdata is the first project from Gazeta Wyborcza to focus exclusively on data, the newspaper has been doing its share of data journalism for a while. "We partnered with research agencies and we covered elections," he said.
"We also conducted our own surveys, but they were designed to be run in print only. Digital data journalism is different, it requires some different skills, so we didn't do it before on such scale."
Stories from BIQdata will also be published in Gazeta Wyborcza's weekend section every two weeks starting from 27 September, as a "weekend read".
Screenshot from BIQdata.pl
The platform is the first digitally native project at the newspaper, as all its other digital products were born in print and then transformed to work on the web. "This is the other way around," said Makarenko. "We created our web outlet which is going to print."
The platform is currently behind the general paywall of the newspaper, and was partly set up as a way to offer additional content to paying subscribers.
Makarenko said he wanted the project to help build their digital subscription base, and "make our digital subscribers feel better about paying for content online".
"In Poland it's a huge issue," he said. "People do not understand why they should pay."
Despite being set up partly as a way to offer additional value to Gazeta Wyborcza's digital subscribers, Makarenko said the idea for the project came from a fascination with data.
"This particular initiative was born in the newsroom, it was developed in the newsroom. It wasn't developed in the business side of our company."
He said he planned to move BIQdata behind a metered paywall, to "significantly broaden our audience and maximise our reach".
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