Becoming a reader-focused organization is not about technology or data. This report provides a framework for building those tools, but they are just tools. Growing engagement and shifting to reader revenue requires actions across the organization that authentically support an audience-focused mission. Truly pivoting to readers is a cultural transformation, not a development project.

A few mile-markers on that journey:

  • Corporate goals and incentives are aligned across departments and all work is prioritized appropriately.
  • Structural changes have been made to encourage collaboration and increase the visibility of mission-critical data.
  • Meetings include questions such as “What does the data show?” and “Have we talked to readers about this?”
  • Investments have been made in data systems, business intelligence tools, user research, and design and development teams.
  • UX and design improvements are treated as strategic assets. And, those teams work to make digital products easier to use by prioritizing positive interactions (browsing, reading, watching) over negative interactions (dismissing pop-ups, closing windows, muting auto-play widgets).
  • Personalization informed by deep insights is used to drive engagement and encourage account creation and log-in.
  • Third-party vendors and partners are reduced and promoted clicks off-site are reduced. Internal promotion and recirculation is highlighted.
  • Data privacy is valued and protected by the limitation of third-party widgets and trackers on-site.
  • Revenue is diversified and data insights and user research are used to generate new business opportunities. Those choices are balanced against reader perceptions of quality and trust in our journalism.
  • Content is more local, but also more in-depth. Newsroom goals will prioritize engagement, not clicks.
  • Metrics are focused on loyalty and engagement. The number of visits, time spent, and breadth of sections read are tracked.
  • Social platforms are utilized for marketing and outreach, and judged on revenue or loyal users generated.


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