Pay Per Click Journalism

from the the-times,-they-are-a-changing dept

As news rooms continue to try to adjust to a world in which the internet exists (yeah, it’s taking them quite a while to come to terms with this), there’s an interesting experiment happening down in Chile. The publisher of the paper set up a system where everyone in the news room gets real time stats about what stories readers on the newspapers’ website are clicking on, and those clicks drive what news stories will appear in the next day’s print edition. In other words, the website acts as market research for what stories people want to read in their newspapers… and apparently, the paper is doing quite well because of the change. While some decry the lowest common denominator of journalism this brings out, the publisher claims he’s just showing people what they want, rather than trying to lecture them about what they should be reading about. What’s even more interesting, however, is how it appears to be impacting the journalists. They constantly monitor stories to see who gets the most clicks — and the publisher is going to offer salaries based on how many clicks they get. In other words, it’s pay-per-click journalism, which (of course) is going to promote more sensationalistic stories. It also makes you wonder how long it will take before we get stories of journalistic click fraud, where a journalist hires one of these click fraud services to repeatedly click on his or her articles, just to make them seem more “popular.”

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