For our “Stop Doing” list in Milwaukee, our measuring stick for success was whether something fit our new strategy to:

  1. Attract a new audience/segment
  2. Engage that audience/segment
  3. Know that audience/segment
  4. Get that audience/segment to pay for a digital subscription

These goals came about through our participation in the yearlong Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program.

If something didn’t meet at least one of those four categories, it needed to be evaluated on whether we should be doing it or if it should be placed on the “Stop Doing” list.

We thought the list would be dominated by the things we do to fill print holes. Instead, we found there were a whole lot of digital tasks and initiatives we were doing that didn’t really accomplish our strategy or that took more time, effort and resources than we had available.

So, what didn’t make the cut?

  • JS Politics, a weekly Facebook Live show and podcast with rotating hosts and guests
  • The community police blotter, which involved a full day of work for each community reporter and got very little digital traffic
  • Manually tweeting to all accounts
  • Posting to Facebook pages that had few followers
  • Adjusting section pages that had little traffic
  • Reading story budgets at planning meetings

Read more about what we did in a piece on Better News that I co-authored.

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