May 14, 2007

Data Mining at the New York Times

In a previous posting I pointed out the common negative associations with data mining. This article about data mining at the New York Times is another good example of this.

Prospect research has dealt with managing public perceptions of its work for decades. APRA, the professional association serving the prospect research field, put together a fine code of ethics for prospect information. It is important for data miners to adopt similar standards. Using data mining to identify prospects for philanthropic purposes is a very positive use of the technology. It locates individuals with strong affinity for the work of nonprofits. And, it helps segment out unattached or uninterested individuals.

Barely a year after their reporters won a Pulitzer prize for exposing data mining of ordinary citizens by a government spy agency, New York Times officials had some exciting news for stockholders last week: The Times company plans to do its own data mining of ordinary citizens, in the name of online profits.

Read More