PANDA: How the 'data library' for newsrooms saves time

By Sarah Marshall

Eighteen months ago a team led by Brian Boyer, who was then news applications editor at the Chicago Tribune, was awarded Knight News Challenge funding to develop PANDA as a "newsroom data library".

Boyer, who is now news applications editor at National Public Radio (NPR) and project leader on the PANDA project, told why he wanted to develop "a place for newsrooms to put their data".

"So much data in newsrooms is just stuck on someone's hard drive, and we think that's sad," he said.

"We would like newsrooms to better collaborate with data, but then above and beyond that we hope that PANDA can help increase newsroom intelligence, make people more efficient reporters."

So how does it work? Journalists, perhaps with help from developers, set up screen scrapers, and that data is automatically fed into their PANDA library. They also feed in other data, such as responses to Freedom of Information requests.

Once data is in the newsroom's private data library, it can be searched, much in the same way as Google is used to search for information on the internet.



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