Nieman Journalism Lab reporting:
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in
France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics
In my research, I analyze online news in two countries, the United
States and France, which have different journalistic traditions. I rely
on ethnographic methods, a mix of observations and interviews, to
systematically compare what editors and writers say about their work
with what they actually do when they are in front of their computers. ..
Several factors explain why journalists react differently to web metrics,
including the size and age of the website, its financial situation, its
editorial line, the age of the staffers, their career background (print
or web), the management style of the organization, and the country in
which this takes place...
In other words, all media sites now rely on web analytics to make
editorial decisions. But this does not mean that they all use and
interpret metrics in similar ways. In fact, each editorial department
makes sense of traffic numbers differently. There is not one but several
“cultures of the click.”...
Journalism has a double nature. It is both a public good and a commodity. With the multiplication of web metrics, good and bad,
new strategies are needed to protect editorial independence from market
forces. The need to find workable arrangements between editorial
ambitions and economic realities is as old as journalism itself. It is
also the only possible way to secure the future of the media, online.