UC grad finds niche in data journalism at Fortune magazine

Lance Lambert credits journalism internships for helping propel his career

 By Rebecca Schweitzer 

 “I love new challenges,” said Lance Lambert, a 2014 Arts & Sciences journalism and economics graduate from the University of Cincinnati. 

In the increasingly competitive field of journalism, Lambert’s rise has been notable. As of February, Lambert had risen through the ranks at Fortune magazine to be named analytics editor and editorial director of Fortune Education at the New York-based, multinational business magazine. Lambert began working for Fortune in 2019 as an associate data editor. After founding the data newsletter Fortune Analytics, he was promoted to analytics editor.  

“From the day he arrived, it was clear that Lance had an eye for gleaning surprising insights in what might seem like random snippets of opinion polling and industry data,” said Fortune editor Clifton Leaf in an announcement about Lambert’s promotion. “He rapidly turned that talent into Fortune Analytics, a subscriber-only newsletter he designed, launched, and that now has tens of thousands of data-devouring readers.”

Lance Lamber, A&S Journalism graduate and editorial director of Fortune Education at Fortune magazine.

Lance Lamber, A&S Journalism graduate and editorial director of Fortune Education at Fortune magazine.

Since his time at A&S, Lambert has found his niche in data journalism, having held positions at five companies in the fast-growing field. Data journalism is a growing niche of journalism that focuses on the collection of reader data and the use of infographics to convey story topics to these readers. Through the use of data journalism, writers can include more statistical information in stories. 

"Journalists today need to have a broader skill set than ever before and a key part of that skill set is the ability to be able to understand, perform and report on data-based research,” said Jeffery Blevins, professor and head of UC's Journalism Department. “A lot of journalistic work these days is social science done on deadline. Even more challenging than performing the research is being able to report it in a way that is digestible to the general populace."

During his eight-year career, Lambert has held positions at The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Dayton Daily News, Bloomberg News and Realtor.com before starting at Fortune Magazine.

Lambert said this period time of working for varying types of companies helped him to develop new skills. Wanting to increase his data analytics skills in order to better understand the direction in which media was headed, he earned Big Data and Data Science certifications at Duke University. 

Lambert said that by leaning into new interests at different points of time in his career, he has been able to learn more as a data journalist. 

By analyzing traffic data of Fortune Magazines pages, Lambert was able to pick up on trends and use these analytics to boost stories to the magazine’s advantage. 

Lambert says he found his time at UC to be particularly helpful because of all the external connections to internships as well as the student newspaper, The News Record. During his time at UC, Lambert held internships at WCPO and the Enquirer.

“I wouldn’t be a journalist if it wasn’t for UC and the connections to the Enquirer,” said Lambert. “But it was really the skills and concepts I took with me.”  

Featured image at top: People collaborating at laptops. Credit/Scott Graham on Unsplash.