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The impact of web metrics on news judgment, by Chris Anderson April 18, 2009

Posted by Raquel in symposium.
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Chris Anderson from CUNY presented his research “Web Production, News Judgement, and Emerging Categories of Online Newswork in Metropolitan Journalism.”

How is citizen journalism understood? How does new technology help us understand our audience? These are questions Anderson posed to the audience at the beginning of his panel.

Anderson looked at the relationship between a quantifiable audience (which can be measured in numbers, visits and clicks) and an active audience (a productive audience which at least rhetorically is creative/productive/engages in acts of production). A passive versus an active producer of journalism.

The differences between these two audiences are not always distinct. The rhetoric around these audiences are intertwined, and technology impacts editorial processes.

“What I’m talking about in this study is how I saw in newsrooms the emergence of a certain type of metric –driven news judgment,” he said.

How it’s driven partially by news metrics. Online data can be used by managers of newsrooms to make decisions, management deliberately putting out the numbers of traffic for people to see, and encourage news behavior in the newsroom.

He talks about web production, which is a new type of newswork, he said.

“As aggregators, hierarchies, interlinkers and illustrators of web-content,” he said. These are people who are finding content, bundling it, packaging it, etc.

He also said that the money for news media is dependent on metrics, and concluded questioning the meaning of users that are producers of content.