The Knight News Challenge released a report this week on “Lessons Learned,” from past projects. The report, completed in a collaboration with Arabella Advisors, uses survey and interview data with 2010-2011 winners and is a great resource for anyone looking to submit a proposal for the next challenge — or anyone thinking of starting a news focused project in their newsroom.
1) Figure out what kind of manpower you need. You can mix full time staff with volunteers, but you definitely need a dedicated, paid, group of people to be focused on the project all of the time. Passion is always a plus. We all have a passion for journalism and innovation, so much so, that it’s kind of a boring trait to have. But nothing gets people motivated like being compensated fairly for their time. Think about this in the newsroom: you want more interactive data visualizations. You can’t just ask someone to do it in their free time if you’re serious about increasing the use of them on your site. You need to give someone more money to launch that project or hire another team member.