An attempt by Philadelphia’s WHYY to measure the impact of its news website has its execs asking bigger questions about the best ways to gauge success in public media. In July 2013, WHYY needed an accurate and effective way to measure the progress of NewsWorks, the station’s digital news venture, launched in 2010. The station talked with CPB, a primary funder of NewsWorks, about integrating an R&D budget for site analytics into the next phase of NewsWorks’s grant. “At some point during that conversation, we got to talking about Google Analytics and how many phantoms Google Analytics make people chase,”said Chris Satullo, v.p. of news and civic dialogue at WHYY. The popular analytics service provides data that, according to Satullo,“sound really important but [are] really set up for e-commerce” rather than public service.
To promote its online local news platform NewsWorks, Philadelphia’s WHYY developed an unconventional campaign mimicking over-the-top advertising techniques and the limitations of news published in print. A team of designers and editors created a “print edition” of the online news site and used various tactics to distribute more than 36,000 copies to Philadelphia residents. Beginning Oct. 22 commuters could pick up copies as a handout offered at public transit stations and temporary newsstands. In addition, residents of some neighborhoods received copies that were delivered to their doorsteps.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – At a forum of leading public media professionals, participants expressed mixed feelings about whether public media can, or should, replace newspapers as primary gatherers of news. At the fourth Public Media Futures forum, held Thursday at Bloomberg’s offices in San Francisco, more than two dozen public media professionals debated whether the industry’s non-broadcast capabilities are robust enough to allow it to fill the role of a daily newspaper. In some respects, public broadcasting websites have already moved into the up-to-the-minute newsgathering space. Kinsey Wilson, executive v.p. and chief content officer at NPR, said NPR.org functions much like a newspaper website, with breaking news, a story flow that shifts multiple times a day and large quantities of original content apart from radio pieces rewritten for the Web.