September 6, 2010 1 Comment
Metrics are the one thing that can keep your dream alive. Esp if you are a newspaper in the face of an onslaught of new technology and waning interest in old tales..
Sounding upbeat on analytics definitely makes us a miniscule minority, but then if you read thru this NY Times copy, you can see what is behind the enthusiasm to read those boring graphs and irritating red dots. After all, getting to instantly correct something in your approach is a tangible win and gets results too.
Looking to the public for insight on how to cover a topic is never comfortable for newsrooms, which have the deeply held belief that readers come to a newspaper not only for its information but also for its editorial judgment. But many newsrooms now seem to be re-examining that idea and embracing, albeit cautiously, a more democratic approach to serving up the news, particularly online.
“How can you say you don’t care what your customers think?” asked Alan Murray, who oversees online news at The Wall Street Journal. “We care a lot about what our readers think. But our readers also care a lot about our editorial judgment. So we’re always trying to balance the two.”
Editors at The Journal, like those at other large newspapers, follow the Web traffic metrics closely. The paper’s top editors begin their morning news meetings with a rundown of data points, including the most popular search terms on WSJ.com, which articles are generating the most traffic and what posts are generating buzz on Twitter.
At The Washington Post, a television screen with an array of data — the number of unique visitors towashingtonpost.com, how many articles those visitors view and where on the Web those visitors came from — is on display for the entire newsroom. A red or green marker designates each data point, indicating whether the Web site’s goal for the month on that particular metric has been met. About 120 people in The Post’s newsroom get an e-mail each day laying out how the Web site performed in the closely watched metrics — 46 in all.
- TBD director not satisfied with how Washington Post used its video feed during Discovery hostage standoff (thenextweb.com)
- WaPo poll: Don’t get cocky, GOP! (hotair.com)
- WaPO Secret America, site up (warintel.blogspot.com)