Modernizing online journalism through Web Analytics?

With websites such as Facebook and twitter, the online news stories of media companies have become increasingly popular. News should be available at any second, in any form. To keep an eye on what the public wants to read, media companies use Web Analytics. In their article Thomas and Tandoc discuss their concerns with this development and its influence on Journalism as a profession. I can see the logic in their arguments but I think this Web Analytics isn’t all bad, it forces journalists and ‘journalism’ to change, to modernize, something that is much needed from time to time.

Consider ‘De Correspondent’ as an example, a news platform that is exclusively online. This new form of online journalism became very popular. Not because they had short, snappy, sexy, sensational news items, but because they had a new concept: longer pieces on topics that are always relevant.

With Web Analytics there is a risk that all of the online news will look the same, after all one can see which topic or subject got the most ‘clicks’, but journalists can also take on the challenge to come up with better ideas when the traditional (online) broadcasting of news isn’t working. Video’s, interactive news games, exciting podcasts. Web Analytics can make journalists try new things when it comes to online news through the influence of the audience; in that sense I think it’s a good development.

Sozan Toksoz


References:

Tandoc, Edson C., and Ryan J. Thomas. “The Ethics of Web Analytics.” Digital Journalism 3.2 (2015): 243–258. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web.

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