Six media companies selected to participate in GNI Data Lab

Google News Initiative, Local Media Association and Deloitte team to transform local media businesses via better data use

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (May 22, 2019) — Local Media Association, in partnership with the Google News Initiative and Deloitte, today announced the six partners chosen for the GNI Data Lab. This intensive 6-month project enables news organizations to transform their businesses through strategic data use.

According to a recent Deloitte study, only 9% of news and media companies lead in terms of their data maturity – the extent to which companies run and grow their business successfully with data. The GNI Data Lab brings leading data strategies and abilities to the local media industry, helping publishers understand and directly improve data capabilities. The lab also creates a community of news organizations who learn from leading experts and each other to build sustainable and thriving digital businesses through effective application of insights from audience data.

Partners receive an assessment of their data maturity, along with specific recommendations for how to upgrade and optimize; as well as practical applications for improving digital ad revenue performance, with yield and sales channel enhancements. They also will collaborate closely with fellow publishers to share learnings, data, and best practices to accelerate data transformation.

GNI Data Lab participants include a diverse mix of local TV broadcasters and newspapers:

  • The Seattle Times
  • WFSB-TV (Meredith Corp.)
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • NBC Universal Owned Television Stations
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Lee Enterprises)
  • Tampa Bay Times

“Building a data-informed culture requires a real commitment from multiple stakeholders across a company. We’re excited to continue our partnership with LMA and Deloitte Consulting to launch the GNI Data Lab, so that publishers of all sizes can learn how to transform their advertising businesses through responsible data use”, said Ben Monnie, Director of Google Global News and Publishing Partnership Solutions.

“We invited a select group of media companies with respected digital abilities to apply for this transformative opportunity,” said LMA President Nancy Lane. “The companies chosen represent highly engaged, talented teams, all backed by strong executive leaders excited about the project and the opportunity that smart data strategy and execution provides.”

Google, Deloitte Consulting, and LMA resources will help publishers succeed. Deloitte and LMA will perform a full on-site diagnostics evaluation of each participating publisher across multiple dimensions:  culture, skills and abilities, organization and data. They will benchmark current performance, identify improvement opportunities, and recommend longer-term organization and technical infrastructure building blocks.

LMA will lead the cohort community building with participating publishers, as well as extend key learnings and best practices across the industry. Insights will then be shared at upcoming LMA events, including Selling Digital Marketing Services in July and Elevate! in September.

“The Seattle Times is very excited to participate in the inaugural class of the Google News Initiative Data Lab,” said Gary Smith, vice president of advertising, The Seattle Times. “We are hopeful that our efforts and that of our peer group will allow us to enhance our sophistication in using data to provide solutions that will make a positive difference for our advertising customer base. Connecting our readers in our community with local merchants has been at the core of The Seattle Times mission for 122 years and using data to further this mission is the natural next step in our digital evolution.”

In March, GNI and Deloitte introduced a Data Maturity Benchmarking Tool ( that helps publishers assess their data maturity, compare themselves to other news organizations and take steps to improve. The tool accompanied a recently published Deloitte report that examines how news and media companies can use data to increase user engagement on digital platforms and drive value through the monetization of those platforms. The GNI Data Lab continues and deepens those earlier efforts.

To read comments from many of the CEOs, publishers, and other senior executives whose publications are participating in the GNI Data Lab, visit: