Best CMS for Data Journalism

Data Journalism has been a trending topic in the media industry for a number of years. This new wave, also known as data-driven journalism, has driven the peddlers of content racing to hire specialists to produce content from raw data: 

"Consider people creating content on a platform like Medium. This is clearly creation of content, but from this content we can derive data on the usage and metadata (like tags). Going the other way, data is collected and entered to Microsoft Excel, for example. The user then processes this data and creates conclusions that then classify as content." -- Content versus Data (and Context)

Traditionally the newsroom is filled with people considered to be "creative". But nowadays with all the data available, you can get very creative with data. Something that is not considered very traditional in a media setting. Data Journalism continues to be labor intensive and with the tools in use (Google Forms, sheets...) embedded into the media portal easily lead to amateur level results.

The requirements for a CMS for Data Journalism

Data Journalism requires flexibility from the publishing platform. Not only do you need to provide tools for creating original content by hand, but also integrated tools to collect and analyse large amounts of data - being able to embed as Chunky Content is also beneficial. And all this needs to be done in a single easy-to-use environment to keep production cost reasonable.

Four points sum up what you should look at when selecting a platform for data journalism:

  • Excellent content creation tools: Content is where the media focuses at, you should not compromise on this.
  • Integrated data collection and analysis tools: There should be basic collection and analysis tools for collecting data from the visitors.
  • Integrated personalization tools: Automatic content recommendation tools for inserting data into the correct visitor context - based on profile or device at hand
  • An extensible interface: Both content and data centric activities need to be done in the same interface. It should be easy to embed content derived from data.

There are currently no out-of-the-box solutions that do this, but with a solid technical foundation and a flexible traditional CMS platform this can be done. Just like Joomla, Drupal or WordPress are not the best CMS, you'll likely need to make some compromises. As long as you've got the four points in mind, you should should be traveling to the right direction.

There is a CMS comparison tool on this site which might help in choosing a CMS for Data Journalism that's right for you.

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