The New Newsroom

In 2012, The Journal News decided to accelerate its transition to a digital-first strategy. A new competitor was moving into the market, so the Gannett-owned organization jumped in with both feet. The staff learned how to shoot and produce videos, senior leaders rewrote the definition for breaking news, and editors started pushing stories to the website immediately, never holding them for the print edition. Today, with a big-screen display of Chartbeat Publishing anchoring the suburban New York City newsroom, the 100-person staff is writing the handbook for the future, and laying out a roadmap for small and medium-sized publishers who want to follow.

Harnessing Social Momentum

The Journal News uses Chartbeat Publishing to monitor its online traffic sources in real time. The staff looks out for extraordinary audience behavior, which might indicate an opportunity for action. When editors noticed a days-old story climbing back up their list of top stories, they were able to dig into the Chartbeat Publishing dashboard for clues, develop a whole new story cycle, and build a returning audience.

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Catapulting Video to Virality

It doesn’t happen very often, but with a bit of good fortune and lot of smart thinking, The Journal News was able to achieve the holy grail of online publishing: a globally viral video. The staff used the Chartbeat Publishing Video Dashboard to evaluate the performance of its videos in real time. Editors looked at key audience metrics (“Play Rate,” “Average Engagement,” and “Ad Drop-Off”) to help catapult the video into the stratosphere.

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Making Data-Driven Decisions

Prior to the introduction of Chartbeat, The Journal News staff was heavily reliant on next-day reports to tell them about the performance of their content. The reports were complicated and resource intensive to put together, and the hours-old data left the team completely powerless and unable to react to it. Today, Chartbeat shows the staff what matters, when it matters, so the team can make sound and swift editorial decisions.

"If you lead a newsroom and want to try to light a fire, this has been great for us. It becomes fun to do good work again and to do good journalism."

— Anjanette Delgado,
Mobile Editor

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Creating a Culture of Data

The Journal News originally integrated Chartbeat Publishing into its newsroom workflows to better understand the performance of their content and the behavior of their audience. But the team never imagined it would so dramatically and positively impact the culture of the newsroom, too. Now, data informs editors’ decisions. Reporters jockey for top positions on the Chartbeat Publishing leaderboard. And, says Anjanette Delgado, the team can quantify the value of its work: "Even on our slowest days, Chartbeat helps us sing about our success."

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