Google is working with publishers to make it easier to view data journalism in search results, as announced on its blog today. It’s one of the steps Google News Initiative is taking to make data journalism more visible, with the field quickly growing across media. Over half of all newsrooms now have dedicated data journalists, and this feature aims to pinpoint the most useful results from pages containing data tables.
“Data journalism takes many forms, and it’s not always clear from the headline that there is potentially useful data within that document or story,” Google News Lab’s Simon Rogers wrote in today’s blog post. “It isn’t always easy for Google Search to detect and understand tables of data to surface the most relevant results.”
News organizations have the option to add additional structured data to note which parts of their page will be the most relevant in search results. Adding this structured data to the existing HTML of their page, they’ll be able to control how the tables will be presented to readers when searching. One of the early participants is ProPublica, which has been testing the feature with its interactive databases like the Nonprofit Explorer.
The feature is currently in pilot, so search results may not frequently turn up datasets just yet. Developers can look into how to make their datasets more discoverable here.