Posted by Kristen Bramhall
What would happen if newspaper and web editors allowed readers to decide what was front page worthy? NewsWhip recently tracked the reader traffic, sharing patterns, and popularity of stories released by numerous major media outlets. After collecting the data, NewsWhip, featured by CBC News, recreated front pages and home pages of major media outlets. These “people powered” front pages featured the most prominent stories from the issue or site according to social media shares.
NewsWhip used Spike’s “Publisher View”– a traffic-monitoring widget-to compile these remixed front pages. To determine what was most read and popular according to readers, the tool tracked each story’s shares and popularity on social media.
The media outlets that NewsWhip used to create “people-powered” front pages, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Journal, and USA Today, displayed varying agendas of each newspaper’s readers. Buzzfeed– the ever dependable news, social, and entertainment website- featured the refashioned front pages and described the priorities of each reader according to their preferred media.
In general, the average reader of American newspapers craves hard-hitting stories, such as the conflict in Ukraine and the budget crisis. Following in popularity were features on health, human interest stories, (the teen suing her parents to pay her college tuition, anyone?) and features on popular travel destinations.
Think of your go-to news websites and other media. If your reading trends determined their most prominently featured articles, do you think the website or paper would look different? After looking at the “people-powered” front pages, are you surprised by American reading trends?