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How Nyt Is Using Reddit To Gain Insights Into Its Audience

Attempting to measure engagement is “one of the great neurosis” of the modern media industry, according to The New York Times’ James G. Robinson.

Discussions around metrics often focus too much on measurement and not enough around insights, Robinson, the outlet’s director of analytics innovation, told delegates at the World News Media Congress in Washington DC today.

“Trying to boil engagement down to a single metric is in many ways a futile task,” he said, “because engagement is something that happens in your heart and mind… it’s an emotion.”

At the Times, metrics are centred around not just measuring engagement, but seeking to understand what motivates a reader to interact with a story in some way, whether through sharing, commenting or simply reading it.

“What we really want to do is not bring numbers into the newsroom, we want to bring the audience into the newsroom,” said Robinson. “The goal is to understand people.”

The problem with using metrics purely based on numbers, of course, is that they can easily be misinterpreted when taken out of context.

This is especially risky because, as a recent Tow Center report highlighted, story metrics that are not seen as ‘good’ enough can…

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