…the editors at The Verge have a policy that seems a little bit odd and anachronistic: They don’t let writers see how much traffic their stories generate. Ever.
As the American Journalism Review reported, in a piece called “No Analytics for You: Why The Verge Declines To Share Detailed Metrics With Reporters,” the editors at The Verge simply don’t want their writers thinking about traffic.
What’s more, The Verge is not alone in this practice. Re/code, a tech site run by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, the longtime Wall Street Journal tech columnist, also won’t share traffic stats with writers. MIT Technology Review holds numbers back too.
“We used to show the writers and editors traffic, and told them to grow it; but it had the wrong effect. So we stopped,“ says Jason Pontin, CEO, editor in chief and publisher of MIT Technology Review. ”The unintended consequence of showing them traffic, and encouraging them to work to grow total audience, is that they became traffic whores. Whereas I really wanted them to focus on insight, storytelling, and scoops: quality.”
That phrase – “traffic whore” – tells you everything you need to know about why some journalists have an aversion to chasing traffic. They fear it creates an incentive to do the wrong things.
Of course these policies hold only at some margins I believe…nor are they used at Gawker.
The full article, by Dan Lyons, is here.