How To Write For MetricShift

    by Jason Alcorn
    February 6, 2018

    MetricShift examines the ways we can use meaningful metrics in the digital age. We provide thoughtful, actionable content on metrics, analytics and measuring impact through original reporting, aggregation and audience engagement and community.

    I really encourage you to contribute. Seriously, that’s why I’m writing this post. At MetricShift, we value a diversity of voices. You don’t need to have a lot of writing experience or be in a senior position at your newsroom to have something to say. If you have an idea for an article, I’d love to hear it — email me at [email protected].

    There are a few ways to make sure your article turns out great:


    First, know who you’re writing for. Who is your target audience?

    Second, identify the one thing you want them to take away. Is it a case study you want to share? Or tool or technique that could be helpful to others? A challenge you are facing and want to open a discussion around?

    And finally, whenever possible, include examples. Details will keep your writing focused and accessible.


    Our contributors come from all parts of the media world: journalism and communications school faculty and students, journalists, data analysts, engagement editors and directors of revenue, as well as many other experts and practitioners. We welcome first-person posts as well as reported articles. (Did we mention that we pay for reported articles?)

    Here are some ideas to get you started.

    Four Topics We’re Interested in Right Now

    1. Changing Revenue Models

    News organizations are pursuing reader revenue, including The Atlantic, Slate, The Guardian, Spirited Media, Wired, and The New York Times, along with public media and countless local outlets.

    The analytics to track user paths, conversion and lifetime value are substantially more complex than volume or even engagement metrics. This year, MetricShift will explore the foundational concepts that audience and revenue teams need to understand to be successful.

    2. Metrics Work of Students and Recent Grads

    Journalism schools have incorporated metrics and analytics into their curriculums in many different ways, including mini-courses, semester-long classes, capstone- and real-world projects, and and entire tracks in social journalism. I expect another shift will happen now as Facebook becomes less critical in audience strategy.

    Students from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, USC Annenberg and several other schools have written about their work from MetricShift, and this year we want to add to that list. If you are a journalism school professor, please invite your students to write about their projects and share their work with MetricShift.

    3. Listening metrics

    The News Integrity Initiative is calling 2018 the ‘Year of Listening.’ “We will highlight creative, inspiring examples of newsrooms listening to and engaging with their communities, as well as civic dialogue projects that are fostering understanding and respect between people from diverse backgrounds,” Molly de Aguiar writes.

    But they aren’t the only ones talking about listening. News outlets of all sizes are considering how they develop closer, two-way relationships with their communities. Digital metrics and quantitative metrics are only so useful when you are building connections in person, at smaller scales. MetricShift will look at the ways these effort define and evaluate success.

    4. Impact in commercial and non-profit media

    Impact is no longer just the province of non-profit news. Commercial publishers are rolling out impact trackers, incorporating impact into their marketing campaigns, and training their reporters to consider the impact of their journalism. Public media, too, is beginning to embrace impact measurement.

    In light of this growth, MetricShift will be examining the new best practices that emerge. How does impact measurement change when it’s not led only by non-profit newsrooms? Does it look different in much larger news organizations? And what new templates, tools and trackers will be developed to support a larger ecosystem of media impact?

    The Nitty-Gritty

    The typical length of a MetricShift article is 800-1,000 words. If you have screenshots, tweets to embed, newsroom photos or other art, that’s helpful. We can also provide additional art as needed. First-person and reported pieces are welcomed, as are cross-posts of articles published to your personal blog, Medium or a company website.

    So please, send me your article ideas at [email protected]. I can’t wait to see them!

    Jason Alcorn (@jasonalcorn) is the Metrics Editor for MediaShift. In addition to his work with MediaShift, he works as a consultant with non-profits and newsrooms.

    Tagged: audience analytics journalism school media impact metricshift platforms reader revenue

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  • MediaShift received funding from the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), which receives support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to launch the MetricShift section to create a vibrant hub for those interested in media metrics, analytics and measuring deeper impact.

    About MetricShift

    MetricShift examines the ways we can use meaningful metrics in the digital age. We provide thoughtful, actionable content on metrics, analytics and measuring impact through original reporting, aggregation, and audience engagement and community.

    Executive Editor: Mark Glaser

    Metrics Editor: Jason Alcorn

    Reader Advisory Board

    Chair: Anika Anand, The Evergrey

    Brian Boyer, Spirited Media

    Clare Carr, Parse.ly

    Anjanette Delgado, Gannett

    Hannah Eaves, consultant, Gates Foundation

    Alexandra Kanik, Ohio Valley Resource

    Ian Gibbs, Data Stories

    Lindsay Green-Barber, The Impact Architects

    Celeste LeCompte, ProPublica

    Alisa Miller, PRI

    Connect with MetricShift

    Facebook group: Metrics & Impact

    Twitter: #MetricShift

    Email: jason [at] jasalc [dot] com

  • Who We Are

    MediaShift is the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes MediaShift, EducationShift, MetricShift and Idea Lab, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.

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