WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Making News Decisions Based on Web Clicks

Sep 10, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the thinking that goes into the placement of stories on news media websites.

Are stories given a prominent position because they’re important or because they might generate more web hits?

Panelist Lisa Kernek said it’s similar to the fine line newspapers have walked for many years between giving people what they want and what they need.  She feels newspapers have an obligation to inform readers, but they also face business pressures to sell those papers and attract advertisers.

Panelist Jasmine Garcia said it was her responsibility to get clicks when she worked as a web producer in Ohio. She said videos and slide shows were used to  keep visitors on the site for a longer period of time. She said longer stays are more appealing to advertisers.

Both said it’s also possible that a light story will draw page views, and then encourage visitors to stay and look at more important stories. But panelist Rich Egger does not believe that someone who clicks on an entertainment story is likely to next read a story about the Middle East or a presidential policy matter.