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The Internet Trap$
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Matthew Hindman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159263

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159263.001.0001

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Making News Stickier

Making News Stickier

(p.132) 7 Making News Stickier
The Internet Trap

Matthew Hindman

Princeton University Press

Publishers, technology leaders, academics, and policymakers have proposed a broad and contradictory set of “solutions” to the local news crisis. This chapter argues that preserving local journalism is mostly about helping newspapers make the transition to the digital age. It shows that a dynamic perspective on web traffic leaves room for both hope and skepticism. On one hand, the traffic models suggest that the biggest problems facing local papers are both different and more severe than is generally acknowledged. On the other hand, they suggest concrete ways to increase traffic, and metrics to judge whether changes are working. Dynamic models of web traffic let news organizations move beyond vague calls for “innovation” and “experimentation,” while actually providing metrics for success. From here, the chapter argues that a compounded audience is the most powerful force on the Internet. The success of local news in the digital age depends on this compounding process, on measuring stickiness and optimizing for it.

Keywords:   local journalism, local news, web traffic, traffic models, local papers, news organizations, compounded audience, stickiness

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