Emmanuel Quartey

Curious about cities, patterns, media, and marginalia.

The different ways media companies use metrics in the newsroom

Digiday has an informative article about how different media companies use data/metrics in the newsroom.

  • The Verge and News Corp won’t show traffic numbers to reporters.
  • Buzzfeed gives all staffers a personal dashboard that shows how much traffic is going to their stories.
  • Mashable’s home-grown metrics platform is called Mashable Velocity. It tracks what people are talking about online (so it can tell what is about to go viral), and this informs story assignments.
  • Forbes ties metrics to staff compensation. Writers get bonuses based on 8 categories, including how many stories they’ve written. There’re also bonuses for how well they engage with readers. Non-staff contributors are compensated based on the number of unique visitors to a page.
“ [Buzzfeed’s] slight problem is that an overwhelming majority of that mobile traffic goes to BuzzFeed’s mobile website instead of its app, where the average visitor tends to read for longer and share more… ”

Why Buzzfeed brought on a mobile czar

Interesting to learn that Buzzfeed considers people who read via the Buzzfeed app to be preferable to people who read via the mobile browser.

“ Every person who works in a creative field has an aspiration for her work, a yearning for that ideal plane which is the culmination of her taste. When an environment fails, over and over and over again, to provide her with a means to follow her internal compass, then she will leave. ”



1) It’s weird to live in a world where a VC matter-of-factly declares an interest in investing in companies who’re working on curing death.

2) It doesn’t feel good to know that as the rest of our species grapples with the existential implications of merging man and machine, we appear unable, as a country, to keep the lights on for 24 hours in a row.

I’d reverse this though: It doesn’t feel good to know that the tiny richest sliver of the population who control an obscene proportion of the worlds limited resources want to spend those resources on extending their already probably quite long life span and merging their brains with computers rather than helping keep the lights on for, like, entire countries.

Not to mention the blanket assertions about what constitutes an acceptable level of public spending on healthcare. And a whole bunch of other stuff too. Grrr.

Completely with you that it would be silly to consider any of this uncritically! Just wanted to point a finger at the very odd sensation of being increasingly unable to tell the difference between a Vernor Vinge novel and a TechCrunch article.

Also with you that we aren’t talking enough about the assumptions that come bundled with VC money. How does VC money alter incentives and definitions of success? That stuff is important to keep in mind because the way a thing is funded comes embedded with scripts that influence what it becomes.

In Sam Altman’s defense, though, the article really does come from a place of “These are big hair problems for most of the species - education, food access, energy. If we solve them, we really can lift all boats.”

Again, it’s an open question as to whether venture capital is the right way to do this.

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