Mitch Gelman, vice president of quality for local content network Examiner.com, released a white paper Tuesday, Identifying Quality Content Online — Efficiently and Effectively, with the goal of answering the question: How is it possible to identify and promote the best news, information, and advice pieces on sites that empower the general public to contribute?
Reaction via social media, such as Facebook Likes and Tweets, is definitely a factor, but Gelman pointed out that it represents just one metric, writing, “There are available metrics, such as page views, Facebook ‘Likes,’ number of subscribers, and frequency of publishing that do correlate to performance. Along with crowd-sourcing — feedback from the audience — these numbers can help provide an overall evaluation of a contributor’s content. That said, reliance on just these metrics and audience-ratings is not nuanced enough to judge consistent quality.”
He added, “The ‘wisdom of the crowd’ can indicate which content is popular or timely, but it is not always a good indicator of quality of coverage. What, then, can organizations do to further filter content for users, advertisers, and partners in a cost-effective and scalable manner?”
The Examiner.com criteria for quality:
• Appropriate: Does the story appear to be reasonable and thoughtfully reported?
• Credibility: Does the story contain proper attribution, and does the contributor have the credentials necessary to make the information authoritative?
• On Topic: Is the subject matter consistent with the contributor’s area of knowledge and passion?
• Geographically Correct: Is the coverage consistent with the contributor’s local focus, if the contributor has chosen to write about a local coverage area?
• Timeliness or Timelessness: If the story concerns a news event, is it appropriately timely? If it is not news, is the information appropriately evergreen?
• Well-Told and Engaging: Is the story told in a clear and direct manner that is well-structured and easily understandable by the audience?
• Proper Formatting: Is the story formatted and presented correctly?
• Distinctive: Is the newsgathering, perspective, or approach to the story original and refreshing?
By applying these criteria to a general selection of articles in different categories and editions, Examiner.com has been able to establish a ranking system that is consistent for all types of submissions.