IBJOpinion

KING: News in the age of instant feedback

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Mason KingIn a surprise move, Marion Country Prosecutor Carl Brizzi announced Friday that he would quit his job in the wake of an IBJ investigation into his business relationships and join the Butler University men’s basketball coaching staff as an unpaid assistant.

“Tim Durham, my financial and spiritual adviser, said it was the right time for a change,” Brizzi said at a news conference Friday, joined by his fiancee and motorsports icon Danica Patrick.

Brizzi will continue to host a local radio show on WIBC, but his weekly program, “Crime Watch,” will give way to a weekday drive-time offering, “Butler Blitz with The Brizz,” co-hosted by local radio mainstay Jimmy “Mad Dog” Matis, who will change his nickname to “Blue III.”

Do I have your attention? Thanks to the in-depth data we now have for readership trends on IBJ.com, I bet I’ve been pushing your buttons.

For better or worse, we know what our online readers like.

Most IBJ editors and bloggers now can access readership stats for every bit of news content on our website. We know how many times each story, blog and video has been viewed and for how long, for any month, week or day. We know viewers’ preferred search engines, the kinds of connections they use, and their blood-alcohol content while reading. (Yes, I’m talking to you, BoonesFarm_1953@yahoo.com.)

Just kidding about that last part. We don’t know your individual identities or e-mail addresses, but we’re aware of which stories and features tickle the collective consciousness of IBJ’s Internet audience. And I assume our print readers share common interests.

As you might infer from the fabricated story at top, you’re fascinated by our pieces on Brizzi and his financier friend Durham. Anything related to Butler or the Indianapolis Colts gets your mouse clicking. Putting Danica Patrick in a headline helps pile up page views.

One quirk consistently surprises us: your intense interest in local radio programming. Our most-viewed online story so far this year focused on Matis’ firing from Q95.

Most major news organizations now have access to their online stats, and each is considering how it can use that data to drive page views, whether the content qualifies as “hard news” or “total fluff.” That’s a big break from the past. For centuries, print journalists toiled in a vacuum, with no better gauge of reader reaction than street sales, letters to the editor, and angry shouts after shrinking the font size on the obit page.

Is this cause for alarm? Journalists might pander to readers’ proven interests at the expense of “news” — assuming there’s a difference.

At IBJ, we use this data to figure how to deploy our finite reporting resources—at least in a limited way. News gathering is far from an exact science, filled with hunches, time-consuming research and dead ends. It sometimes helps to know what readers find intriguing when you’re deciding which stories to pursue.

You could accuse us of trolling for page views or, in the old parlance, “trying to sell papers.” As sports reporter Anthony Schoettle wisely puts it, “OF COURSE we’re trying to sell papers.” This is a business. No readers, no paycheck.

The difference is that we have high standards for ground-breaking journalism and readers who hold us to these standards. It helps that readers usually respond in greatest numbers to hard-hitting, investigative stories, and that we consider such reporting our bread-and-butter fare.

Our staff is populated with ornery truth-seekers who enjoy that kind of stuff. Managing Editor Greg Andrews spent weeks sifting through Durham’s financial filings. Reporter Cory Schouten clocked 60-hour weeks nailing down connections between Brizzi’s business relationships and his role as prosecutor.

That’s complicated stuff, and hardly Internet-friendly. That these and other aggressive stories still pay off in online page views is gratifying and instructive, although hardly an imperative.

So…trust us like you always have. Sure, we know some of your online reading habits, but that information will never replace good, old-fashioned news judgment.•

__________

King is IBJ’s multimedia producer. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mking@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT