OLD Media Moves

TheStreet CEO: We pay for journalists to become certified in Google Analytics

November 4, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

TheStreet.com chief executive officer Elisabeth DeMarse spoke Monday night at the Knight-Bagehot Fellows dinner at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Here is an excerpt:

I meet with many reporters, and many times the person says, “I just want to report the news; my job is just to give the facts, not explain it or give my perspective.”

Well, of course every great journalist first gathers the facts. But Americans need and want perspective. America needs James Michaels’ flair and style to make business and stocks relevant, accessible and interesting.

I tell these young reporters, who just want to report, the days of tepid, overly neutral reporting are over, and that as I learned from Nik Deogun, in addition to news judgment, you have to have something to say. You have to have something to say.

Is digital changing journalism? Only around the edges. Today our journalists at TheStreet, The Deal, and MainStreet must be comfortable with video, with social media, and incorporating search engine optimizations as well as writing. They need to be Ninjas at Excel and know their way around a pivot table.

Digital journalism is not for everyone. It’s very different from the meme of a journalist who is buried somewhere off writing in a kind of vacuum. In terms of hiring criteria, it’s a new world.

Have I gotten pushback from folks about our expectations that they do videos, radio interviews, listcicles and guest appearances in addition to generating great enterprise stories and pageviews?

Sure, but most of our news floor has embraced these opportunities. We expect everyone to be comfortable with data and take an analytical approach to their work. We pay for our journalists to become certified in Google Analytics and other important tools.

The vast majority of our journalists have really stepped up to getting out of their comfort zone. We look for a mix of news judgment and digital chops. People who have a sense of what works well on the web as well as strong journalistic experience.

Photo credit: Char Smullyan

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