Utica Observer-Dispatch in New York offers readers a new school database that allows for easy search to find out test scores.
WHAT THEY DID: Utica is committed to providing readers with database information. In the spring, the Observer-Dispatch's website allowed readers to explore school salaries. Check out a Q&A with editor Kris Worrell that explains Utica's strategy. The latest searchable database was posted Monday, and it tops the most popular stories on Utica's website. The school test score database allows readers to select a school, and they're given information on percent of children meeting or exceeding standards for each grade, by subject. Further details allow readers to explore exactly how many students scored at each level.
TAKEAWAY: Databases offer your readers a lot of information, and people have been receptive to online tools that allow them to explore the data that's most meaningful to them. Every story has data, and offering this layer to your storytelling increases credibility, shows trends and provides context to your readers. It also allows your reporters to mine the data to provide useful analysis. In the end, your readers are better served, plus you've increased page views and time on site.