RJI: Newsrooms using Web metrics to evaluate staff, guide editorial decisions

webmetrics01_0by Reynolds Journalism Institute

Web metrics are in widespread use in U.S. newsrooms, and are being used by some newsrooms in evaluating the performance of editors and reporters, a survey of top editors has found. In a survey conducted among 114 members of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) last year, one in five respondents reported that they use Web metrics as part of the performance evaluation of their employees. The survey showed broad use of metrics in newsrooms across the country.

webmetrics03_0 The majority of newsrooms participating in the survey use Web metrics not just to guide placement and presentation of stories on websites, but also in making decisions about news coverage and how reporters are assigned. Web metrics were initially used to guide decisions on story selection and placement. For example, 72 percent said they use Web metrics to decide how prominently to display stories on the website while 62 percent said they use metrics to help them design the website.

webmetrics05_0 But 73 percent said they use metrics information to decide “if we will assign additional stories or coverage.” Sixty-three percent said metrics were useful in helping “determine how to write the headline.”

In 51 percent of the newsrooms that participated in the survey, Web metrics reports are put together by the newsroom staff.

Only 22 percent said their Web metrics report comes from an IT division, while 11 percent said the report comes from the marketing department.

Some 55 percent monitor Web metrics using software created by a third-party vendor, such as Adobe’s Omniture (Site Catalyst), while 41 percent still depend on free online programs, such as Google Analytics.

The survey participants reported they frequently monitor the number of unique monthly visitors (85 percent) to the site.

The other key performance indicators that the top-level editors monitor include: most read articles (83.6 percent), number of page views (83.2 percent), top pages (82.1 percent), number of visits (80.3 percent), sources of traffic (73.8 percent), and session duration (72.9 percent). Of the editors who participated in the survey, most said they had informal training on Web analytics (51.4 percent) while some identified themselves as self-taught. One in four (25 percent) had no training at all. The participants also had a favorable assessment of how Web analytics are affecting the journalism they produce. Some 90.5 percent said using Web analytics have helped them serve the audience. However, only 39 percent agreed that Web analytics have made their organizations more profitable. ASNE members were invited to participate in the survey last year. Only one top-level editor per newsroom was invited to participate in the survey.

The survey results are not generalizable to all online newsrooms in the U.S. But they provide information about the trend of how many newsrooms in the U.S. are using Web analytics in their news work.

About these ads

About Zoran Opalić

Around the World: 1997. NY, USA - Design Workshop at the New York School of Visual Arts // 2003. Hamburg, Germany - Mario Garcia Studio - media design,future of print media.// 2004. Innsbruck, Austria - News Desk, News Desk work shop// 2007. NY, USA - Future of Media and New Technology, New York // 2007. Miami, USA - "React to the news in the short term - in the newsroom work flow". More info: January 1st, 2008: madeIN magazine. Occupation or position held: Publisher/Owner Name and address of employer: Dobro Slovo Brace Domany 8, 10000 Zagreb (Croatia) Type of business or sector Publishing (Magazine) Web January 1st, 2001 - December 31st, 2007 Vecernji list daily. Occupation or position held: Art Director Type of business or sector Publishing, Daily Newspaper. Early Years: I have worked on a different creative media projects — Jutarnji list daily (at the time - 1998. new daily newspapers in Croatia), Globus, Studio, HAK, Nova Vjencanja, Auto Plus...


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

BACK to BASICS: Portraits

Portraits of people are one of the first elements of the photography used in newspapers.


Newspaper typefaces require a higher legibility then typefaces used for other printed products. Newspaper are printed on a paper of lesser quality under high speed.

Typography: x-heigh

In typography, x-heigh refers to the heigh of lower case letters without upper or lower parts when compared to capital letters...

How to redesign 1

Good redesign is driven by a deep understanding of the editorial mission of the publication.

Headline on photographs

The eternal dilemma! Dilemma of all editors on the planet Earth – to put or not put the headline or any kind of type in the photo.

Design Facts

Three elements that will greatly help you to understand how readers are observing you.

Typeface: NY Times Magazine

Sunday Magazine is an expansive family of fonts for information in tiny spaces and headlines at large sizes.


When, why and whether to use infographic. The basic fact is that infographic refresh the publication, and it contributes to originality of your product.

Get to know your readers

We have moved from a solid to a fluid phase of modernity, in which nothing keeps its shape, and social forms are constantly changing at great speed...

Designer George Lois

“I always knew I was the most talented kid in the school, ” says George Lois of his time at Music and Art. “I was lucky to be exposed to the city’s best art education"...

A well-designed publication

Everything that a well-designed publication must have...

Design Theory

There is no design theory and definition. There are only basic principles that are the base for recording designers ideas and imagination on the paper, tablet or your web.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,659 other followers

%d bloggers like this: