Trinity Mirror has announced the creation of a new digital journalism unit to be led by the Manchester Evening News’ David Ottewell.

The unit, which will be based in Manchester and responsible for “developing engaging content ideas for our websites and print publications”, will pilot ideas through several regional titles before rolling projects out to all titles.

David Ottewell

David Ottewell

Readers’ love for data appears to be at the heart of the new initiative, with Trinity highlighting the recent success of the Birmingham Mail’s Race for a School Place.

Ottewell is currently hub news editor and head of politics at the MEN. He will be joined at the new unit by Claire Miller, a reporter for Media Wales who has worked on the WalesOnline datastore.

Neil Benson, editorial director regionals, said: “We are responding to the challenges facing the industry by fundamentally redefining our approach to content creation, and the new data unit is the latest piece in the jigsaw.

“Data journalism has been an area of growing importance for us over the past two years, and the new unit will enable us to progress much faster, across all our newsrooms.”

The unit will report to David Higgerson, digital publishing director for Trinity Mirror’s regional digital platforms.

Higgerson said: “There has been an explosion of freely available data from various sources over the past few years.

“We need to go through that data, identify which of it is of interest to our readers and then turn it into compelling content which gives people context as well as the ability to search the data for information which will appeal to them.

“I am delighted David has agreed to head up the team. He has been one of our pioneers of data journalism in recent years and I believe is the best possible person to make our ideas a reality. In Claire, we also have someone who has shown time and again that there are fascinating stories to be found within data which appeal to a wide audience.”

Earlier this year Trinity revealed its plan to make 92 redundancies as part of a “greater emphasis” on digital content. It is also introducing a new Shared Content Unit in Liverpool that will provide features content to Trinity’s 130 regional papers across the UK.