3 Ways that Data Affects Mass Media



If you thought the introduction of the commercial Internet changed mass media, take a look at what’s in front of you today. Behind the sites of your favorite newspapers and blogs (yes, even this one), publishers are using data to create better audience experiences. For anyone who has ever considered working with data as part of their career, there are now more opportunities than ever to bring media and data together. Here are some of the most important technologies to have on your radar.


There’s a proliferation of information online today, which is actually making it difficult for people to find relevant information. In response, media sites are using data to personalize on-page experiences to connect audiences with information that they are likely to enjoy and find relevant.

Machine learnings and algorithms play a crucial role in this process but, at the end of the day, successful personalization strategies are built on human-to-human interactions. Even more important than the technology is the data story behind your approach.

Career tip: This area of publishing is ideal for individuals who have an interest in psychology or marketing. On a day to day basis, you’ll figure out how to reach audiences on a 1:1 human level, paying attention to behavioral trends and incentives that you can use to inspire action.


As you’re probably well-aware, media companies are struggling to stay afloat. Revenue models are broken, and major publishers are on the verge of collapse–just take a look at GigaOM, which filed for bankruptcy several months ago.

Data is playing an increasingly important role in helping beloved media companies stay afloat. Publishers can uncover their highest value audiences, design tailored offers, and run website experiments to help monetization channels perform better.

Career tip: This quantitative analytics track is ideal for individuals who are interested in entrepreneurship, finance, and business. On a day to day basis, you’ll figure out how to use data to eliminate operational costs and drive incremental improvements to financial performance.

Data-as-a-Service (DaaS).

Many media companies are actually productizing their datasets into resources that partner organizations and customers can use in their own marketing and product design efforts.

Data is actually an asset in itself and can serve as a monetization stream for many types of companies. There’s more to the approach, however, than simply packaging and selling user information — a practice that is actually illegal for certain types of companies. By venturing into the DaaS sector, organizations need a thorough understanding of the legalities and ethics behind their actions.

Career tip: As a career track, DaaS is ideal for individuals with an interest in sociology, politics, law, and business development. On a day to day basis, you’ll work on new ways to package data for partner licensing, while consulting with legal and customers to assess considerations and constraints.

Final Thoughts.

Data helps media companies tackle their biggest challenges and explore their biggest opportunities. Media is an area of interest for professionals of almost every background — and it’s one that career changers will feel passionate about pursuing. No matter your interests, you’ll find an opportunity to stay engaged and drive improvements to your employer’s bottom line.

This post is part of our Plot Points content series. See how data affects almost every facet of our culture—from innovation and technology to social impact—and share your own data stories.

Plot The Points

Disclaimer: General Assembly referred to their Bootcamps and Short Courses as “Immersive” and “Part-time” courses respectfully and you may see that reference in posts prior to 2023.