The GNI Data Lab aims squarely to enable news organizations to transform their businesses through strategic, responsible data use. Deloitte Consulting and LMA conducted over 75 interviews with key business leaders in six local media companies May-July, across key data dimensions: culture and ways of working, skills and abilities, technology and data. That effort was part of an initial 12-week program to understand their underlying data capabilities and how to improve them.  

Quotes from these numerous interviews illuminate some of the key challenges local media companies face, as well as the new, proactive mindset they are adopting to forge change. What is most important is that companies talk openly about their data strategy and execution and where they see gaps. Awareness and a drive to transform leads to positive change, then growth.

These quotations touch on some of the most important strategic data areas across the six companies, key elements in becoming more “data mature.” Every company needs a similar honest, self-reflection, accompanied by a thoughtful, bold plan to upgrade.

Data Foundations

“The problem comes from us being siloed. We don’t have regular meetings with people.”

“Domo is successful because our CEO likes it and looks at it every day.”

“50% of content is driven by news of the day; 50% of content is discretionary.  We’d prefer that all of the discretionary content be driven by analytics.”

System/Tool Optimization

“Our data is liquid gold.”

“Different people internally are working in different systems that are difficult to get talking to one another.”

“Every software we have comes with different report-writing tools.”

“We have multiple reports, multiple dashboards…it’s too much.”


“People look at page views like it is a consistent North Star, but it really isn’t.”

“Only recently have we convinced leadership to move away from page views as our key editorial metric.”

“We need to move from talking about viewership to talking about impressions.”


“There’s not enough freedom to try A/B testing with stories.  I’d like more freedom to test.”

“We do very little testing on the ad side of things.  On the audience side, we do a ton of testing. Testing and trying has been a huge help for us to improve.”

“I want to test different ad products and be able to take chances.  I want to be able to say, ‘this worked or didn’t work.’”

Sales Effectiveness

“Some clients say they are already buying on the website (via programmatic) and there is no way to see how much they are buying.”

“The buyers are fairly sophisticated, but the sellers aren’t quite there.”


“When we get spikes in inventory, we are never able to monetize them.”

Audience Segmentation

“My team, 48 hours after their articles are published, are refreshing Mather because they want to see how it’s resonating with our target audiences.”