Jim Kuhnhenn of the National Press Club Journalism Institute spoke with Industry Drive editor in chief Davide Savenije about its success during the pandemic.
Here is an excerpt:
You do incredibly granular work on a vast range of industries. When did the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic become evident to your trackers? What were the signs you first saw?
Savenije: The manufacturing and supply chain impacts were very clear early on from China. … It was at some point in mid- to late January when we really started to get a sense about how big of an impact it was going to have, at least on China. By mid-February, we had a pretty decent sense that it was going to impact all of our industries. …
In every industry, we are seeing an extraordinary level of uncertainty, which makes forecasting and planning very challenging for companies. We are seeing many companies in different sectors projecting or already experiencing much lower revenue, much lower demand, supply disruptions, changing work and operational policies, cost cutting, layoffs/furloughs, and in many cases, complete closures entirely.
Sensing that potential impact, what did you change in the way you mined for data and what data you mined for?
Savenije: So early on, we started asking, ‘Okay, well we don’t know exactly how businesses and industries are being impacted by it yet, we don’t know exactly how they’re planning or preparing, so let’s go out and ask those very simple basic questions.”… As we started tracking that really robustly just internally, we very quickly had the idea that readers will want to see these kinds of things.
We’re trying to cover what’s changing in these industries, and part of the way that we do that is we think about storylines. … Part of our approach is to really think about which storylines are we going to own. We have relatively small teams of two, three, four or five journalists per industry. And so we really have to allocate our resources to go after the things that really matter most and not to be spread kind of thin and wide.
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