Mega-Innovation Award Finalist: Stacker

Rob Powell, head of local with Stacker, says the data-driven articles written by dedicated data journalism reporters at Stacker are available to newspapers to publish at no cost.  Stacker was a finalist for the 2022 Mega-Innovation Award presented during the News Industry Mega-Conference, Monday, April 11, in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Rob Powell, head of local with Stacker, says the data-driven articles written by dedicated data journalism reporters at Stacker are available to newspapers to publish at no cost. Stacker was a finalist for the 2022 Mega-Innovation Award presented during the News Industry Mega-Conference, Monday, April 11, in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack)
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Stacker's entry for the Mega-Innovation Award centered around the launch of its local storytelling offering.

This entry, presented at the Mega-Conference by Rob Powell, head of local, was a finalist for the 2022 Mega-Innovation Award.

Powell told Mega-Conference attendees that Stacker is a data journalism publisher that is creating about 150 data-driven articles a month — all of which is available for free on its newswire on a wide range of topics.

These articles are being used by some of the largest newspaper companies, as well as by single-person newsrooms and TV/radio stations.

He said newspapers can publish the articles in full at no cost, use the articles to inspire their own individual reporting or add their own original reporting to the articles.

One of the most common reasons newspapers use Stacker content, he said, is for audience acquisition.  They publish the Stacker articles on their site, link to it from social media or their own newsletters and see high click-through rates.  Once these articles are on their sites, Powell said newspapers are welcome to monetize the content in any way they like.

In addition, he said publishers use this content to fill in the gaps for expanded coverage.  "If you don't have a dedicated data journalist in your newsroom, we could be a good fit," he said.

The metrics:

  • Stackers articles are available on more than 1,000 publishers' websites.
  • More than 5,000,000 readers are viewing this content every month.
  • Stacker is producing more than 7,000 articles a month.
  • Stacker reports more than 120 data sources.

The entry was submitted to America's Newspapers by Sam Gross, vice president of research and co-founder of Stacker, who said: "The goal of this innovation has been to increase access to data journalism for local news organizations, at scale. By combining traditional newsroom expertise, computer-assisted reporting tactics, a custom Tech Stack and local news partnerships, we’ve created a platform for transforming data into stories and distributing them to 1,000+ news partners including Hearst, Tribune, Advance Local, and Nexstar."

He said, "Our team invests hundreds of hours into data projects so that they can be shared as stories for local publishers, allowing newsrooms of all sizes to tap into data reporting for their area. Our coverage spans topics like immigration, national parks, Black homeownership, rural hospital access, real estate, weather and more — with hyperlocal stories available for 50 states and 384 metro areas."

He said, "Our local stories now reach 5 million readers a month, with our publishing network syndicating thousands of stories each month to help inform their audiences. We are extremely excited to continue building out more local coverage while driving towards our company mission of making data more accessible to journalists."

The blog posts and summaries below outline the development of Stacker's local storytelling and its impact on local news partners.

More than 100 news organizations ran stories featuring this data, and Stacker was featured in Data is Plural, a top data journalism newsletter.

LEARN MORE and subscribe to get free, ready-to-publish stories in your inbox — Stacker partners with newsrooms to provide compelling, data-driven storytelling for local communities. Stacker content is freely available to most publishers thanks to Stacker's other lines of business, which include: content licensing, on-site advertising, and a studio that uses the same editorial standards as any other story.

View the PowerPoint from the Mega-Conference in PDF format

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