Assessing The Impact Of Explanatory Journalism

This article was originally published by the Media Impact Project. Journalists don’t as a rule have a specific impact in mind when we begin our journalism. We list project goals, but other than bringing awareness to an issue or event we do not identify what we’d like to see happen next. This is a story about the one time we did. Rockland County, just northwest of Manhattan, is one of New York’s fastest growing counties. Neighborhoods that used to feel suburban and bucolic now choke with high-density sprawl, multi-family homes rise in backyards next door, traffic is a problem and religious schools pop up on residential streets. This is the lede of our story for the Journal News and lohud.com: “A generation ago, there were few problems between Ramapo’s small ultra-religious Jewish communities and the gentiles and other Jews who made up the bulk of the town’s population. Things
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#CMANYC16: Measuring Success with the Right Analytics Tools

Friday’s #MetricShift Twitter chat is all about which analytics tools we use, so here’s my list.

I prepared it for a recent gathering of college newspaper editors and advisers, the College Media Association’s spring conference held March 12-15 in New York City.

Speaking to college students made me think about how we measured success back at The Collegian, my old newspaper at Jamestown College in North Dakota. We’d check the racks to see how many copies of the free paper had been picked up. Sometimes that was an honest measure of our appeal, at least once it was an attempt at censure and more times than I’d like to admit it might have been a prank.

We’ve come a long way as an industry since then. Our data now is more reliable (though it still doesn’t give us all the answers), and analytics can be a legitimate career for Continue reading "#CMANYC16: Measuring Success with the Right Analytics Tools"

Feeding The Morning Habit To Increase Web Traffic

This post was originally published on the USC Annenberg’s Media Impact Project site. It is republished here with permission. Feeding a habit is much easier than breaking one. Consider the morning news habit. We wake up, reach for our smartphones before even getting out of bed, and check to see what’s happening in the world. Whereas once that was a printed newspaper or morning TV, now it’s push alerts, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and destination news sites. The technology has changed, but our habit remains. News organizations working to attract and keep audiences (that’s pretty much all of us, right?) can increase their traffic overall by publishing for the morning habit — posting stories ahead of the spike. A few years ago I was the editor of Gannett’s Salinas Californian newsroom. One of my first steps in our digital transformation was to build a Post and Readership Comparison chart, which
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