We never get tired of reading about the ways Southern California newspapers are trying to marshal website metrics. And to the credit of the new management of U-T San Diego, they have been very open about how their efforts in this regard are progressing.
From Berkeley, former Adweek and Business 2.0 writer Susan Kuchinskas spoke with the paper’s director of research Joseph Gordon for a revealing piece on clickz.com. The June 2012 paywall has led to a little over 1,000 digital subscribers. And despite an open reader limit of 15 free articles per month, U-T journalists are being asked to do something rather extraordinary:
Staff writers have been charged with increasing their traffic 15 percent, year over year, every year. Editors, meanwhile, constantly tweak the U-T San Diego home page, promoting stories whose traffic is trending upward and swapping out stories where interest has dropped.
“As things get tighter over time, we want to make sure we make right decisions,” Gordon said. “We want to make sure people write stories that need to be written. If you spend five hours writing a story that only five people read, maybe you need to write that story at one page instead of five.”
For paywall aficionados, there’s also a pretty remarkable bell curve in the middle of Kuchinskas’ piece showing how the paper’s watchdog journalism pieces have been faring.
Previously on FishbowlLA:
U-T San Diego Benefits from More Granular Use of Website Analytics