How do you measure the success of a piece of online journalism? By hits? What’s the point of that if people aren’t reading the article? By comments? Not according to Nick Robinson. By the amount of people willing to pay for the content? Well, that’s a work in progress.
According to Joanna Geary, communitites and web development editor for The Times, it is the collaborative stories which rock the boat. The ones that people come together to rant/rave/dissect… The ones that everyone has read. So what stops journalists posting sensationalist stories just to generate more hits? Who is to say that Andrew Marr didn’t make his comment about pimpled bloggers just to generate attention?
I came across this anti-twitter article by Janet Street Porter on the Mail Online site this week, in which she claims the social media site ‘confuses activity with content.’ From the perspective that Twitter rates trends and tweets by hits, I see what she means. But as Joanna Geary pointed out during her guest lecture at CJS, one of the best ways to generate traffic and comments is an anti-blogging/twitter article. So, you could argue that Ms Street-Porter is, whether intentionally or not, practising the very traffic-generating tools she condemns. After all, the article has generated more than double the number of comments than her last despite being in the public domain for half the time.