Some time ago, I submitted answers to a short survey from the University of Texas Engaging News Project. To tell you the truth, I’d forgotten all about it. Until, that is, I got an email this week from the organization, which is part of the university’s Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. The researchers were sending me a draft of their findings.
To back up just a sec, the project is housed within the UT Moody College of Communication. It’s stated purpose is to help foster “a vibrant American news media that more effectively empowers the public to understand, appreciate and participate in the democratic exchange of ideas.” Sounds great to me!
The research focused on audience engagement, the way we all handle comments and other aspects of our online product. Some quick numbers:
- Nearly 90 percent of all news organizations surveyed monitor metrics such as unique visitors and pageviews.
- Only 33 percent specifically tailor news content for mobile. Hmmm…
- More than 80 percent of respondents across all size organizations have someone who responds to reader comments online. Yet, only 20 percent of them have written policies governing how and when to respond. …
Most of us think pretty highly of ourselves. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed would give their organization an A or a B grade for coverage generally. No one said their organization deserves a D or F.
I don’t know what to make of it. Just passing it along, I guess. More interesting is what the group has to say about “solutions journalism.” This is reporting that focuses on solutions to community problems rather than just incremental reporting on problems in the town that so often consumes us. Take a look.