The Inverse Relation Between Quality & Measurement in Journalism

Online media and television is different from print media in many ways. But the most important difference is that you can measure almost everything online and on television.

That’s one value proposition digital media offers its advertisers– targeting and more bang for the buck. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The problem with being able to measure every small thing, that it quickly drags quality down the drain. Unless the editorial consciously decides that it doesn’t want more clicks. Or decide to focus on better metrics– like total attention minutes.

Let me explain: There are certain type of articles that will do very well online. Because we get to know immediately, or within a few minutes, that it’s going viral, we try and do more of it. That’s probably the danger newsroom must steer clear of.

It’s really not that different from the real world. When you focus on quantity, quality takes a walk.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, you must be a shallow Upworthy clone doing incredibly well!

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