A podcast is a good idea
It has been the official voice of Statistics Canada since 1932. Through war and peace, electrical failures and ice storms, social and technological change and evolving trends, The Daily has carried the data of the day to Canadians.
The Daily is important to Statistics Canada. Every new product or dataset must be announced to the public in The Daily, in keeping with agency policy.
The news media read The Daily religiously to find the stories in the statistics. Labour statistics become interviews about real people and real jobs. Health statistics turn into stories about the illnesses that affect friends and family or the lifestyle practices that make for healthier Canadians.
Over the years, The Daily has also kept pace with technology. Starting as The Daily Bulletin, a typewritten one-page fact sheet, The Daily went online in 1995; last month, it went mobile. You might wonder what R.B. Bennett, Canada's Prime Minister in 1932, would think about the option of consulting your telephone to find Canada's GDP statistics.
He would have been impressed with the price. A subscription once cost $1.50 per year. Now, it is free.
So where do we go from here?
How to keep The Daily fresh and relevant is a question we frequently ask readers. February's Question of the month asks how satisfied people are with The Daily and how to improve it. We also conducted a reader survey in January. Soon, we will be consulting with focus groups and doing usability testing as part of a two-year project to improve Daily releases and enhance the value for readers.
"We need to keep it fresh. We need to continue to evolve and remain current," says Gabrielle Beaudoin, Director General of Communications. "It is a question of how to meet the needs of an audience that prefers YouTube to text, while also serving the readers who come every day and know exactly when and where their economic indicators will be released."
Building a better Daily is closely linked to Statistics Canada's New Dissemination Model, which includes the ongoing redesign of the website. The plan is to offer access to our products and data using the full functionality of today's Web to create the kind of experience today's users seek. "People want videos. They want podcasts. They want visuals, and they do care about getting high-quality information. Our job is to meet their needs," Ms. Beaudoin says.
One start will be short videos or graphics, to be posted in the coming year, that will explain basic statistical concepts such as statistical bias and variance.
Another plan is to offer more reader interaction with the statistical experts to give more of a face to the agency. Readers will also be able to drill down to find more information and gain more insight into the data. The Daily is our bulletin. Most newspapers have not only an online presence but an interactive presence that enable readers to go further than the article.
Like newspapers, and like Statistics Canada as a whole, The Daily is a venerable institution that is changing with the times. It's this combination of experience and expertise that has the agency excited for the future.
Next month: Microdata simulation model
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