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Newsroom Magazine’s principal goal is to earn trust as a source of responsible, relevant and credible journalism.
Robert W. Butche
Q I don’t see any advertising on your publication. You don’t ask me to subscribe. You haven’t once asked me for a donation. If you have a political agenda I can’t identify it. Yet from what I can see when I Google for information, the search engines hold Newsroom Magazine in high esteem.
Which makes me wonder exactly what it is you’re doing?
A We’re building an audience. When we launched Newsroom Magazine in 2006, we thought we’d attract a small, but influential audience. We seriously underestimated the potential audience for news, information and commentary content published solely for its editorial value, not its audience attraction potential.
Our worldwide reach and audience growth were the motivating factors behind the development of proprietary tools intended to make it possible for us to evaluate our reach and audience from a journalistic perspective, not an advertising model. Nearly two years ago we set out to define what publishers, writers, journalists and editors needed to know about an online presence.
After nearly 18 months of planning, development, code writing and testing, Newsroom Magazine turned on our Tracker CMS Metrics system January 1, 2011. To fully understand what we’re doing, and how we manage content for its editorial, journalistic, and news value requires some familiarity with our mission and the Tracker CMS Metrics system that guides our ongoing development.
For those unfamiliar with online publishing and/or technology, the letters CMS stand for Content Management System.
Separating Assumptions And Beliefs From Reality And Verifiability
At the outset, we thought that Newsroom Magazine might one day attract something in the range of 10,000 visitors a month, or 120,000 annually. Our assumption was that few people under 65 would be interested in important national stories, or our conservative views on journalistic standards, ethics and credibility.
We were wrong — both in terms of audience potential and demographic skew. We not only have an 18-35 readership demographic — it too is growing.
This year some three million article requests will be served up from from our Washington server alone. If you find that number impressive, or indicative of success, or a meaningful way to value our content, service or reach, you’d be wrong.
Entertainment Values Trade Long Range Potential For Short Term Expediency
Everything you’ve heard about Internet publishing — predicated solely upon entertainment values — distorts reality and places immense value on meaningless numbers. The point often lost in the kerfuffle surrounding a publication’s online presence is that time-worn newspaper management practices, one set for the business office and another for the editorial department, apply to online publishing.
Traffic count is indeed important — but no more so than any of the other four mechanical metrics:
Content Readership Requires knowledge of a visitor’s intention, location, means of referral, and internal navigation choice(s).
Time On Page Requires knowledge of when a visitor arrives, the ability to measure Page Time in seconds, whether arrival was by means of internal or external link, and to what degree subsidiary services such as printing, email or refresh occur.
Target Audience Reach Requires knowledge of a visitor’s means of reference, institutional affiliation ( if any ), geographic point of origin, affinity index (inclination toward frequent visits), solicitation device (computer type and browser version), and mobility state.
Tangential Readership Reach Requires knowledge of a visitor’s relationship to your target audience — for example in addition to reaching law firms do you also reach law schools, courts, law publications, etc.?
Tracker CMS Metrics Provide Insight Into Content Value And Journalistic Quality
As important as the principal mechanical metrics may seem, none of them are as revelatory as qualitative metrics that reflect how well a publication is serving its journalistic mission and goals:
Content Model The publication’s overarching vision of it’s sphere of coverage.
Content Quality The degree to which the publication serves its target audience.
Institutional Reach The degree to which the publication grows readership in significant .organizations, private and public.
Credibility & Reputation The degree to which the publication’s content is ranked by, acted upon, and referred to content of every description.
Tracker CMS Seminars
A Masters Course In Internet Publishing is one of several possible Tracker CMS Metrics based seminars being researched this summer.
Anyone with questions on Tracker CMS Metrics, or who would like to be notified by email about Tracker CMS seminar development can contact Jeffrey Slee at firstname.lastname@example.org