During their recent Trident Juncture 2018 exercise, NATO wanted to regularly monitor the coverage of media outlets around the world. The goal was for the gathered information to be communicated to NATO generals (both in the field and at HQ) in order to understand and follow up appropriately on communication operations. But in providing regular (daily) updates, the volume of data produced by approximately 30,000 news sites was simply too vast to be able to gain valuable and actionable insights.
In conjunction with our partner, Klarrio, we designed and produced a data story template based specifically on NATO’s needs. Hourly data feeds from the news sites worldwide were analysed, segmented and used to auto-create the daily data story while the Trident Juncture exercise occurred. Custom segments included the number of articles produced within a 24 hour period, the category and country of origin of the news source, recurring theme groupings based on key words, and if there was an overall positive or negative sentiment to the article. This meant the report provided the exact information that was required to be communicated to the NATO team.
By laying the data out into an easily understood and distilled report, all members could access the detail as and when they needed to – no matter their level of data literacy. By bringing decentralised data together, a full picture is provided, so everyone has the same story and the best actions to take can be collectively decided. As the data story input and structure is pre-defined, information that is valuable for the specific task can be shared in a consistent and timely manner, even to those in remote locations. A communication method such as this is also cost effective, with little to no maintenance required following set up – if you listen carefully you can hear a collective sigh of relief from departments such as IT!