Showcasing Your Data Assets

Data-rich resources created in the course of your reporting—be they GoogleMaps, filterable tables, bang-up applications or some other interactive—can be long-term resources for your audience. We have found several of these resources (e.g., Shale Play, school test scores) to be among some of our most regularly visited pages long after their initial launch dates.

Apps, maps and tables like ShalePlay, shown here, ought to be displayed in a way that makes them as useful and accessible to your audience as possible.

It is key, then, that we work to make them easy to locate.

As such, we have developed a relatively simple, four-step process to help you showcase the types of resources that readers might want to refer back to again and again. They are as follows:

1. Place interactives (e.g., GoogleMaps, filterable tables, images linking to bigger apps, etc.) in your posts before the jump so that readers see the added content and useful data before deciding whether to click through or scroll down. When linking to a previously published map or interactive, use a screenshot of that feature and hyperlink it to the actual page or app or place where the action happens.

2. Put all of your best interactives in Multimedia modules.

  1. Go to Multimedia —> Add New on the left sidebar
  2. Add the URL to your interactive.
  3. Add all relevant tags (so that these inter-actives will also show up on relevant topic pages).
  4. Select which Feature most accurately describes the interactive.
  5. Be sure to select a featured image. For maps, this will likely be a screenshot of the map itself.
  6. Add an excerpt, written with clear language. If possible, use strong, simple SEO words. The excerpt should, in two sentences or less, introduce the data by explaining what people are looking at, what it means and why they should care.

2. Feature that module in various places on your site.

  1. In the left sidebar, select Appearance —> Menus.
  2. Go to the “Featured Multimedia” tab and place your selected multimedia features (you can include as many as you want, but we recommend no more than four) in the main box. If you don’t see your multimedia options, scroll down. It might be hidden towards the bottom of the page.
  3. Note: Just as a reminder/for clarification, the “Featured Topics” (which is called “Essential Reading” on the homepage) tab is where your recently updated, favorite topic pages and one or two good resource pieces reside. A combination of your all-time best and your favorite recent posts should reside in “Featured Posts” widget. This can take the place of your “Recent Posts,” as most people won’t read both, so you might as well just give them a limited menu of what you most want them to see. Try not to have more than four featured posts, though. Since all of the people entering your site sideways (through social media or links) won’t see your essential reading,
  4. Hit ‘Save Menu.’

3. Go to Appearance —> Widgets and make sure that you have the Multimedia widget in the Post Page box, preferably under the About widget.

Note: While you’re here, take a minute to make sure you aren’t giving your best content too much competition for your readers’ attention. To keep site clutter to a minimum, we recommend:

  • Having the following widgets in your primary page: About, Ad, Featured Multimedia, Featured Posts, Email and Facebook.
  • Please limit your page sidebars to the following: About, Ad, Featured Multimedia, Featured Posts, and Facebook.
  • Your Network News should go in your About Page Sidebar only.

4. Refer to your data-rich interactives every time you have a related story, usually by inserting the screen-shot or promo image and hyperlinking that image to the interactive’s page. Extra points for customizing the screenshot to make it more relevant to the post.

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