Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Melody Kramer

Melody Kramer and Betsy O’Donovan are the cofounders and principals of Hedgehog+Fox and have more than 30 years of combined experience in community journalism. They have led teams and projects at local and national media organizations, in the federal government, and at global non-profits, and collaborate with a deep bench of designers, developers and creative talent on behalf of organizations that want to think differently about their revenue models, audience and talent development, and digital and editorial strategy. Betsy is an assistant professor at Western Washington University and has been a fellow at Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism since 2012. Melody became a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation in 2014, where she created new models for subscription and membership that built on more than a decade of experience in public media.
Their work has been commissioned by and featured in The Chicago Tribune; The New York Times; The Boston Globe; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Poynter; Nieman Reports, Nieman Lab and Nieman Storyboard; The American Press Institute; Source; Fast Company; Editor & Publisher; Federal Times; Literary Journalism Studies; Associations Now; Current; Journalism.co.uk; Digiday; GigaOm; Quill from the Society of Professional Journalists; Publishers Weekly; and USA Today, among others. They can be reached at www.hedgehogandfox.net.

Six steps to create a metrics-driven newsroom

After interviewing dozens of journalists and analysts, we emerged with a lot of inspiration and a blueprint that can be applied to any newsroom. Although each organization’s path to, and use of, its data was unique, we saw the same six steps repeated by small and under-resourced newsrooms to large, multinational newsrooms. If your newsroom […]

Build a positive feedback loop

If a newsroom wants reporters to learn from experimentation, then the end point of every project is feedback and inspiration. “The most important part of being an analyst is to take all this data and say, ‘This is what we value as good,’” said Parse.ly’s Kelsey Arendt. “If you’re only reporting on numbers, you’re purely […]

Unleash curiosity to get journalists working with metrics

In every single case, the journalists and data analysts we consulted said there’s one crucial factor that gets journalists on board with data experiments, and it also happens to be the single most common trait in any newsroom: curiosity. Experiments begin when someone looks at one data point and says “I don’t understand what’s happening […]

Ask the right questions, use the right data

One of the most popular knocks on metrics-oriented newsrooms is best summarized as “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” In other words, if the only metric you have is unique visitors, then you might be fooled into thinking that growing the number of unique visitors is the goal. While […]

Make metrics simple — and meaningful

How do newsroom metrics advocates pique their colleagues’ interest in using data? Many of the editors, data analysts and trainers we spoke to start by offering a checklist of simple things, like adding links to related stories, that journalists can add to their workflow. After a week or two, the metrics evangelists check back in […]

Connect metrics to strategy

To see the point of metrics, journalists need to understand what their organizations are doing to survive and thrive. That goes way beyond the high-flying language of a mission statement. “You have a better chance of getting people to use data if they really understand how their work fits into the larger goals,” said Liz […]

How to build a metrics-savvy newsroom

Journalists have a reputation for dismissing data about their stories. But it’s undeserved. After all, the axiom “if it bleeds, it leads” describes a newsroom practice driven by the metrics of newsstand sales and broadcast ratings. Pulitzers and Emmys are qualitative data that indicates a reporter’s work is respected by her peers. Journalists don’t hate […]

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