If you saw “Page One,” the documentary about The New York Times, you might remember several scenes where editors sat around a big table discussing what stories should make the front page for the next day’s paper.
It’s almost comical, looking forward to 2012, to think of a newsroom going purely off of gut and intuition when making those decisions.
Next year, these editorial decisions will still require the knowledge and experience of editors who know their readership intimately well; but those editors will soon have a wealth of data at their fingertips to inform their opinions and, ultimately, editorial decisions.
Predictive analytics will give them a sense of how a story will perform, and real-time analytics will give them an up-to-the-second understanding of the collective interests of their readership.
But hunches and instinct will take a back seat to new kinds of technology-driven metrics.