Over two days in February, digital news leaders gathered for a roundtable discussion on various ways to improve engagement with readers.
New technologies have allowed news organizations to tell stories in different ways online, but many still aren’t sure how to best tell a story or present information online. “How do we know whether an [interactive] infographic is better than some old-school bar chart?” Stroud asked.
“This is such a profound question, right? How do we know whether the things we’re doing are working or not?” But back up: How do you even define “working”? Advertisers have their own favored audience metrics, but are they the best way to measure user engagement?
The focus is often on time on site and repeat visits, according to Tom Negrete, The Sacramento Bee’s director of innovation and news operations. (The report paraphrases the participants’ points rather than quoting them directly.) But he argues newsrooms and journalists have an obligation to go further, to measure comprehension: Can an individual understand what was just read in a news story?
To try to address this very issue, The Daily Beast has introduced a value-per-visitor metric which measures how visitors to the site read, comment, tweet, share, email, click a link, and click an app, Mike Dyer, the Daily Beast’s chief digital officer, says in the report, noting there is an economic and journalistic value to each of these actions....