A project of Democracy Fund

March 9, 2015

Melody Kramer on Newsroom Analytics: Measurement Without Action Doesn’t Matter


The Dodge Foundation and the Center for Cooperative Media and Montclair State University recently hosted Melody Kramer for an all day bootcamp on newsroom analytics and membership models. Below is a brief summary of Melody’s discussion with local online newsrooms in New York and New Jersey about how small teams should think about analytics.

“A key part of measuring is figuring out what to measure,” she told the group of local journalists and news entrepreneurs. “Then we have to figure out how to measure it and what to do with what you measure.”

If you don’t act on what you measure then the measurements don’t matter.

Kramer pushed the group of news entrepreneurs to use analytics not to define your publishing but to guide your risk taking. She encouraged the group to test small ideas often and just see what happens. Online publishing gives us great latitude to try things and immediate feedback on if those things are having a difference.

For more of Melody Kramer on analytics, don’t miss her talk from the Online News Association in 2014.

Why should you measure:

  • Helps you and your team make actionable decisions How to best allocate resources? What to cover? How to cover?
  • Allows for more transparency, collaboration and a better understanding of how to reach goals Helpful for funders and your team, in knowing how to talk to funders
  • Allows you to know what’s popular with your audience vs. everyone. (Not every trending story will work for your audience.) Know when to devote resources to certain topics or news stories
  • Allows you to know the best platforms for your audience. (If you can’t be everywhere, where should you be?) With limited resources, how should you plan your social and outreach strategies?
  • Allows you to see which elements of the story are being shared (Photos?) Should you develop strategies around specific elements in your stories?

Google Analytics Tips and Tools:

 How To Analyze Metrics:

  • Think like a scientist: Hypothesize, Test, Measure, Iterate if Successful, Change if Unsuccessful.
  • A/B Testing
  • Ask Your Audience

For more tips like this from Melody, read the NPR’s Social Media Sandbox (all of NPR’s digital and social strategy, made public) and especially this best of post. Get fresh insights from Melody via her daily newsletter: tinyletter.com/melodykramer.