Finding the Right Metric for News

The New York Times’ Aron Pilhoefer pitches what he wants from a 2013 Knight-Mozilla Fellow.

pilhofer:

The project our Knight-Mozilla fellow will help tackle was hatched in January during a bus ride to the Austin airport with news brainiac (and karaokaholic) Greg Linch.

He had just written a terrific post on his blog, The Linchpen, about the need for more sophisticated metrics to measure the success or failure of journalism online. I’d been thinking about the same problem, but Greg crystalized the challenge and the opportunity perfectly.

In his words: “So, what if we measured journalism by its impact?”

It sounded to both of us to be an ideal project for someone to sink his or her teeth into. After all, the benchmarks we use now are so ill suited. They are the simplistic, one-dimensional metrics we all know: pageviews, time on site, uniques. We use them largely because they are there and because they are easy — even though we all know they’re a lousy way to measure impact.

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