Shared Data Unit

We believe in making our journalism accessible to as many people as possible.

The BBC Shared Data Unit was formed to create and share data journalism with partner news organisations across the media industry.

Staffed by BBC journalists alongside reporters on secondment from local news providers, the unit unpacks datasets covering all aspects of our lives - the majority of which may previously have been left examined and untouched.

In the digital age, where the flow of information can be relentless, the SDU offers journalists the time and skills to interrogate the information and explain its implications for diverse audiences.

Through doing so, the journalism tells stories in the public interest, holds power to account, and promotes transparency and accountability.

When the information is not publicly available, the SDU will use Freedom of Information laws to source the data, or use tech skills to extract structured content from web pages.

It believes in making its journalism accessible to as many people as possible.

SDU Secondments

The secondments are aimed at developing data journalism expertise in the regional news marketplace while also creating further content for all Local News Partnerships-approved partners.

  • We will encourage best practice in working with and reporting on data, and increase the capability of data journalism at a local level.
  • We will be open and transparent with our methodologies, and encourage a conversation between our network of reporters.

The first regional journalists joined the unit in November 2017 and picked up a wide range of data journalism skills through formal training and day-to-day mentoring with the BBC core team.

The journalists – from the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, Birmingham Mail and Northampton Chronicle & Echo – shared a piece of content with the regional press in January 2018. It was used by more than 65 titles and generated several front page stories.

The Shared Data Unit continues to strengthen local news output across the UK by giving regional journalists the skills to interrogate data and tell stories of local importance to to their communities.

Open Contracting Hackday

The Shared Data Unit hosted an Open Contracting Hackday in December 2018, looking at government contractual data and working in partnership with open data advocates in the wider community

Shared Data Unit Conference highlights

2018 Data Journalism Conference 

The Shared Data Unit hosted a Data Journalism Conference in 2018 - watch our video to see some of the highlights.

2018 Data Journalism Conference highlights