Skip to comments.Do the math: Hugh Hewitt urges media sites to release readership stats
Posted on 12/08/2004 2:31:13 AM PST by JohnHuang2
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
Do the math
Posted: December 8, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Hugh Hewitt
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
On Monday, Bill Bennett wrote a great column for RealClearPolitics, which included a kind plug for my website, but which was widely noted in the blogosphere because of Bennett's recognition of the rise of the New Media.
Late on Monday night, I compared Bennett's serious writing to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne's Tuesday column, which was as weak an effort from a major columnist as I have seen in a long time.
My point was that the Old Media, also known as MSM or "legacy" media, has within its ranks scores of the tired and the tenured, who scribble their quotas of words and mail them in. In the past, no one could really challenge their positions or their influence except their editor, and there was no way to measure whether anyone was actually listening.
That has all changed, of course, and the question is whether shareholders of the Old Media companies are going to demand that their publishers demand that their editors exercise accountability by tracking traffic the number of visitors to a columnist's column or a reporter's story or an unsigned editorial.
As print moves toward text with amazing speed, consumers of news are increasingly going online to obtain their stories and commentary. They are also raising the bar, choosing to read the Belmont Club or Little Green Footballs for analysis of conflict in the Middle East rather than good, old predictable Thomas Freidman.
Serious readers aren't stuck with Frank Rich or Margaret Carlson any more, they can go find their text elsewhere and not just folks who agree with them, but better, sharper opponents as well. I'd much rather read through the online American Prospect, the blogs at the New Republic, or Matt Yglesias than the tired old cliches of Dionne and yesterday's big feet.
The key is that popularity can be measured there is a way to count how many readers Dionne and his colleagues accumulate. No sooner had I penned this on Monday than did blogger Doug Ross name this proposal "metrics for journalists." He's right. That's exactly what they are and it would be very useful indeed to know who is being read in what quantity.
So, which will be the first paper to publish the traffic of their columnists on a weekly basis? Does Dionne get 1,000 readers online, 10,000, or 10 million, and how does that compare with Charles Krauthammer? The insecure might stutter that such statistics won't tell us much, but they will tell us what attracts readers to Internet editions of newspapers.
In an increasingly competitive world, that tells shareholders a lot. And if their management isn't asking the question, that tells them a lot as well.
A side note: One critic of the Los Angeles Times is former Times man Ken Reich, who has begun TakeBacktheTimes, a new blog devoted to critiquing the Los Angeles Times. Look, Patterico already has a lock on that space, but Reich makes some interesting points and has an insider's view. Of course, when you read some things you laugh. For instance, Reich on balance at the paper's editorial pages:
For the most part, the news coverage remains fairly straight. But the editorial pages are now as sharply to the Left as they once were to the Right. And just as before, they cost the paper credibility.
Now, it has become representatives of the Jewish community who have come downtown to remonstrate with editors over Times editorial policy, persistently anti-Israel. But like the Democrats of yore, many of the Jewish leaders have concluded it is pointless to argue. Times editorial pages are devotedly biased and are going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
The news accounts devoted to politics are hopelessly way left recall when the Times tried to make Arizona a "swing" state in the fall? but Reich does nail the new Kinsely regime. Again, if the folks at the Tribune Company are serious about stopping the bleeding, ask for Internet traffic stats on the Times' editorials and columnists. Max Boot will be the leader though Scheer has a following in the fever swamp but the rest will be among the most unread of writings available in cyberspace.
Unread in cyberspace unread anywhere. Do the math.
Good morning, John
Thanks for the ping.
Hewlett debunks that by reference to "straight news" reporting by the Times suggesting that Arizona was a "swing state." The more fundamental critique is, however, that all journalism suffers from three biases:
A reader who does not discount journalism for all of those biases is simply not a critical reader. And if that is a problem with printed newspapers, the same problem exists - doubled and in spades - in broadcast journalism.
- Superficiality inherent in writing to a deadline,
- Negativity, inherent in story selection motivated by the need to attract attention, and
- Arrogance, inherent in a posture of assuming their own wisdom (i.e., their own "objectivity."
Broadcast journalism is unnecessary, in that the Republic was designeed to work very well without it. And broadcast journalism is illegitimate in that, unlike the (literal) press - which includes books as well as journalism - broadcasting depends on censorship for its existence. The FCC gives you the right to listen to any local broadcaster - and the duty to shut up so as to not interfere with anyone else's right to listen. It is the First Amendment stood on its head.
All journalism is politics, and journalism is most political when it claims to be objective. The Constitution defines the public interest, and broadcast journalism does not fit in the First Amendment framework of political discussion. Broadcast journalism obscures that fact by asiduously fitting in with the coloration of mass-market print journalism, but that just goes to show that broadcast journalism is unnecessary. One NY Times per country is enough, and it must be considered that electronically amplifying it may be too much.
Media bias bump.
From 'Grease' -- 'Hopelessly Devoted to You'
I know I'm just a fool
To sit around and wait for you
But baby can't you see
There's nothing else for me to do
I'm hopelessly devoted to you
The Times will never change until there are no more bird cages to protect.
Hugh Hewitt is becoming one of my favorite nationally syndicated talk show hosts in the country. It's intellectual talk radio, much like Mike Rosen on KOA 850am and Dan Caplis on KHOW 630am, both here in Colorado.
Hugh promotes freedom and liberty each day by mentioning those new media patriots in the blogoshpere every chance he gets.
As Sean Hannity (and Bill Cunningham) says, "you are a great American!"
So, which will be the first paper to publish the traffic of their columnists on a weekly basis?
Publishing these numbers would be a great project for an aspiring investigative reporter. These ratings are obviously known to the management of the papers, ---and are much more closely guarded than the Grand Jury testimony of major league ballplayers, for example.
Thanks for the post; bump!
aka, the BDM or Blue Dress Media
Publishing these numbers would be a great project for an aspiring investigative reporter.
And will happen about 10 mins. after pigs fly out of my butt. In addition to the french looking candidate, the big loser in this last election was the MSM.
I just voted for you. Good luck!
Thanks! The rules allow voting once per day per computer, and the contest lasts another five days, so please remember to vote again! I appreciate it.
Publishing these numbers would be a great project for an aspiring investigative reporter.
Performance Based Pay?????????? Actual readers = $
On Monday, Bill Bennett wrote a great column for RealClearPolitics, which included a kind plug for my website, but which was widely noted in the blogosphere because of Bennett's recognition of the rise of the New Media... - Hugh HewittThat would be THIS thread:
Wither The Mainstream Media?
By William Bennett
In many waysespecially from the views of Blackrock, 30 Rock, and Times Square President George W. Bush should not have been re-elected: the economy was in less than stellar shape; images of terrorism and death from Iraq flooded the news coverage; civilians were being kidnapped and beheaded; President Bush did not acquit himself well in the presidential debates; and Osama bin Laden gave us a long-awaited (and, in some cases, long-unexpected) proof-of-life days before the election. And, yet, instead of George W. Bush packing up his office this December and January, Dan Rather announced that he will be packing up his, Tom Brokaw has delivered his last broadcast, and the New York Times is, well, one wonders .
What happened? Many things, from the values of rural Kansas proving more widespread than the values of urban Massachusetts, to the precedent that presidents are not voted out of office during war-time. But there is something more, and it has to do with the continuing decline of the mainstream media that has been taking place concomitantly with the rise of a new media; a media that is not confined to one specific headquarters or address, a media thatwhile more diverse in race, gender, religion, and politics than the mainstream headquarters personnelshares the common address suffixes dot com, dot org, dot net and AM. the Internet combined with talk-radio...
(If you want OFF - or ON - my "Hugh Hewitt PING list" - please let me know)
Even those numbers would be skewed because of "excerpt" posting on sites like FR of most of the MSM's rantings, requiring one to click on the MSM site to look a the whole roll of toilet paper. Since many/most of these pieces are posted for the sole purpose of being debunked, it's a Cache[;^)] 22. Not unlike the "free" hard copies delivered to vacant lots, dumpsters, etc.
Now, whether they're actually interested in stopping the bleeding is a moot point. But somebody within the organization has got to be scratching their heads. In the words of Tom Brokaw(?), maybe they're "managing the decline"? Where are the shareholders of the Trib? They're acting like taxpayers instead of owners!
And this from Ken Reich: "For the most part, the news coverage remains fairly straight.", leads me to wonder if maybe there's koolaid in the water fountains at the LATimes, the effects of which takes some time to wear off.
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