If you build it, will they come?

Anna Ścisłowska

25 Apr 2017, 11:45 a.m.
Room 9

For over a decade, Association 61 has facilitated access to public data and research information about politicians.

From the start, their work was underpinned by a conviction that creating a user-friendly database would be enough to turn people into ‘more conscious’ citizens. There was also an assumption that journalists would gladly analyse and draw conclusions from the data, publishing articles based on these resources. Both assumptions were wrong.

Anna argues that data is not enough to engage citizens — they need stories, crafted by journalists and analysts.

Over the past 6 years, Association 61 have changed tack, preparing analyses, writing articles and trying to reach the public via internet and traditional media. Now it’s time to assess the impact that 500 articles have made on public opinion.

The research attempts to answer these questions:

  • What kind of data engaged internet users the most? Which was ignored?
  • What kind of articles were popular, and which were not interesting for citizens?
  • What is the role of current affairs? Are timely analyses more popular than general reports?
  • How did the articles influence public debate – which analyses and published datasets were popular in media?

Anna shares the results of this research, focusing not only on successes, but also stories of where their initiatives failed, based on Google Analytics reports and insights from authors, editors and PR managers who worked on the project.


If you build it, will they come? - Anna Ścisłowska (Association 61) from mysociety