API supports effort to develop stronger news audience metrics

The American Press Institute is supporting a meeting of news industry leaders and academics working to develop useful metrics for news publishers.

A 25-person working group drawn from around the country will meet Thursday in Chicago to review industry needs and begin to identify research and partnerships that will help news organizations better understand their digital audiences.

Participating organizations include the Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, The Sacramento Bee, The New York Times, NPR, BuzzFeed, Brother.ly, Chalkbeat, Medium, Upworthy and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Attending academics come from Northwestern University, USC Annenberg, George Washington University, University of Wisconsin and Stanford.

The project is an outgrowth of the Press Institute’s Research Advisory Group, a group of academic researchers and news industry leaders that the Press Institute convenes to collaborate on solving problems and answering questions through research. It is organized by group member and Northwestern associate professor Rachel Davis Mersey, who specializes in audience understanding.

Understanding and measuring news audiences in practical, useful ways is a major focus of our efforts here at the American Press Institute, because we believe digital technology has put the audience in control of how, when and what news they choose to consume.

To that end, we have conducted groundbreaking research about American news habits and we also have created new metrics and ways of measuring news audiences through a program with custom-built software and surveys for news organizations using audience data to drive smarter content strategies.

We intend for today’s meeting in Chicago to lead to experiments and partnerships that produce new knowledge and forms of measurement that we can tell you more about in future updates.