“It isn’t chasing clicks”
As a founding editor of The Huffington Post, MacCallum understands well
the need to have social analytics at a news product’s core. Having been
on the business side — she joined the Times (after getting her law
degree at UC Berkeley) in a strategy and development role for video and
then the paper’s new Cooking product
— she had worked closely with tech and design teams, which gave her an
understanding of how those parts of the Times ecosystem work together.
But MacCallum said while the Times could learn from viral news outlets
like the HuffPost and BuzzFeed, her goal for the paper, as a news brand
with a strong subscription business, is different.
“It isn’t chasing clicks; it’s making people loyal to the Times
specifically,” she said. “The Times has had the luxury of readers coming
direct for many many years. As readers move from search to social, we
haven’t been as in front of them.”
Things are off to a hopeful start. In a memo to staff in January,
executive editor Dean Baquet said that in the first two months since the
paper increased its audience focus, the Times’ online readership has
increased 20 percent. (ComScore multiplatform figures back up that
claim, showing the Times’ U.S. monthly uniques rose 22 percent from
August to November, when they stood at 56.4 million.) Some of that was
due to a strong news month in October, but MacCallum has also been busy,
building her team and introducing new practices at the paper....