Master of Arts
Journalism & Strategic Media
This paper explores the story selection process of reporters in newsrooms that use online metrics to measure article performance. As most media companies pressure reporters to deliver bigger viewership numbers, the gatekeeping power has been placed mostly in the hands of reporters. The questions investigated are whether this pressure is affecting the traditional First Amendment watchdog role of journalists and whether government oversight stories are being cast aside in place of lighter fare that will attract a mass audience. The study used a mixed-method involving story tracking data from a large East Coast newsroom; a national survey of reporters; and in-depth interviews with journalists. This investigation found that many reporters are embracing watchdog stories and such stories are likely helping them grow their metrics numbers. Reporters are using readership metrics to fine-tune their hunt for stories to maximize watchdog content, and readers reward reporters with higher metrics for the content.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
D'Ambrosio, Paul, "Growing the Audience: Are Newsroom Metrics Killing Watchdog Reporting?" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1825.