When metrics drive newsroom culture

“Metrics inspire a range of strong feelings in journalists, such as excitement, anxiety, self-doubt, triumph, competition, and demoralization,” Petre writes. Depending on how they’re implemented, metrics can have vastly divergent effects on editorial culture. But regardless of how newsrooms shield their staff, Petre found, the emotional effect remains.

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After all, metrics alone don’t create a newsroom culture, it’s the way they’re interpreted.

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More tellingly, staffers said their willingness to experiment was dampened by pressure to feed the numbers.

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With traffic as the complete arbiter of merit, reporters responded rationally.

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And, she observed, editors spoke about metrics after-the-fact—when they justified a decision—rather than factoring them in during the decision making process. Yet none of this prevented reporters from gut-checking the analytics themselves, scouring the site’s “most-emailed” and “most-viewed” displays, unsure how seriously to take inclusion (or exclusion) from those daily round-ups.

 

NOTE: Read the entire article at the link below which is an interesting view on HOW-NOT-TO interpret metrics:


Source: When metrics drive newsroom culture | Columbia Journalism Review


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