News avoidance is high and trust in the news is low. The long-awaited release of the latest Reuters Oxford Digital News Report 2023 confirms this trend and is packed with averages and percentages to back it up. But beyond the metrics and despite the grim indications, the intrinsic value of journalism remains irrefutable.
However, how are newsrooms responding to stay relevant? “Are we complacent with the role that journalism plays in society?” asked Nic Newman, one of the Report’s authors, at the Africa launch this week.
“People care a lot about crime and security, social justice issues; they are moving away from toxic debates… They say they are interested in more positive news, or news that not only points out problems, but also offers solutions; explanatory journalism. So some of these new approaches that have become particularly popular since COVID.
“They are less interested in the big stories of the day and every twist to every story. And that’s in stark contrast to people who say they never avoid the news, who think that’s the most important thing. A lot of news websites and TV broadcasts are basically optimized for that group of super loyal users, but they’re basically turning other people away. So that’s the problem. There is a unique approach to news that we have been practicing in the media.”
Make better use of data
To keep abreast of changes, many newsrooms have adopted a data-centric approach: and analyze reach, attention and participation metrics of your journalism. Beyond these numbers are the facts: that people will engage in news that they can relate to or use. “Relevance is the main driver of news consumption,” was a significant finding in the report.
One method of determining that relevance would be to measure the social value of journalism. How do you determine the impact of journalism on people’s lives, behavior and politics?. And how could this be used to convince critics of journalism of its value to society?
“Impact measurement has always been done for grant proposals and sometimes for marketing, but it’s always been piecemeal and reactive when we need to report on it,” he says. feelers Charalambous, CEO and co-founder of daily hipster he said in a panel discussion on impact at the International Festival of Journalism in Perugia, organized by the World Publishers Forum.
“We use shock value in our acquisition marketing, and I can tell you that shock is not good for business; It’s great for business.”
LOOK: How do you measure the social value of your journalism?
daily hipster is an award-winning independent South African publisher offering free access to all content, with revenue driven by patronage, business activities and member subscription.
“Daily Maverick has the highest retention rate of any of our peers, and I think a big part of that is because we make a lot of impact and also do relatively well at communicating that back, but I also recognize that we can make a much better,” Charalambous said. “To really embrace shock value, we need to be aware of the desired impact we want to achieve and plan for it in the stories we choose to report.”
‘We can see the impact in the real world’
Daily Maverick is transparent in its reporting, and its impact.
“We are an organization that does a lot of research and reporting where we can see an impact in the real world: from instances on the ground affecting communities to institutional and social impact to the governance of cities and our country,” said Charalambous. . “The great stories are the ones we can see unfold, in layoffs, suspensions or investigative commissions, but often there is an impact that cannot be easily seen and you need to go out and find it. You need to do a lot of research and that, combined with the analysis, the extraction of information and then figuring out how to use that impact requires a dedicated person.”
The Office for Investigative Journalism, a UK not-for-profit news organisation, has created a role for an impact editor – check out our conversation with Miriam Wells about the vital benefits this role brings to a newsroom.
“We are 100% committed to creating at least one new role in impact measurement and monitoring; we have a good idea of how we will use that information both internally and externally. And not just for Daily Maverick, but also for the industry, because journalism doesn’t do a very good job of promoting the impact it has on society.
Using Impact Tracking to Promote Membership
Charalambous confirms that they will be using a multi-layered approach.
“We plan to use impact tracking in a number of ways: to promote our membership program to potential readers who haven’t joined yet, and to retain our existing members to let them know, ‘Look, here’s what your support has gotten us. . do,’” she said.
“We also see it playing a role in helping to promote changes in legislation to make the environment for journalism more favorable and supportive. The more impact shown, the more likely we are to find support for the cause. It is also a way for journalism to build trust with audiences who might be avoiding the news or have misconceptions about publishers,” she adds.
“If we have a dedicated person, we can certainly do a better job and help us move beyond looking at impact simply as a reporting function. To truly embrace impact value, we need to be aware of the desired impact we want to achieve and plan for it in the stories we choose to report.
Styli Charalambous will attend the Global Publishers Summit on Newsroom Transformation and Sustaining Change, at the WAN-IFRA World News Media Congress 2023 in Taipei.
Record here for this prestigious annual event.