Last seats available for a pre-ISOJ workshop on “media metrics, analytics and impact”

Journalists, media executives and scholars who will come to Austin for the 16thInternational Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) on April 17-18 can also participate, on April 16, in a workshop on how to measure the impact of digital media. Registration is open here.


Collab/Space Austin, hosted by Mark Glaser, the executive editor and founder of PBS MediaShift and Idea Lab, will focus on metrics during an intensive day-long learning experience at the Belo Center for New Media, the state-of-the-art facility that anchors the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Metrics are very important as we move to digital media and journalism,” said Glaser in an email interview March 17. “Trying to gauge both audience and engagement is more important than ever.”

A result of efforts by PBS MediaShift, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, the Media Impact Project at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, and the Knight Foundation, the workshop will be a hands-on experience focused on media metrics, analytics and measuring impact.

“The first question asked by nearly everyone — potential sponsors, funders, collaborators — is: ‘What’s the size of your audience?’ And then, ‘Who are they?’ Metrics and analytics try to answer those questions,” said Glaser.

“But it’s also a time where we need to get beyond simple measures like page views and unique visitors. How do we measure impact? That’s the major focus of this gathering, finding new metrics and figuring out the real societal and cultural value of stories that are told.”

The workshop will start at 9 a.m. and run to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, followed by a mixer to unwind and network. The mixer is also the welcome reception for ISOJ participants.

The workshop itself promises to be offbeat.

The day will start with improvisational comedy facilitator Andy Boyle conducting improv warm-up exercises followed by a talk by Laura Evans, vice-president of audience development and data science at Scripps Networks Interactive.

Representatives of eight projects — start-ups, non-profits and academic endeavors — will “in lightning fashion” give presentations about either metrics, analytics or measuring impact. Participants will then pepper the representatives with questions to identify their three biggest challenges, which may fall in areas like financial, technological, marketing, and distribution.

“In the afternoon, participants will break out into groups aligned to each of the projects. Andy will again have them do improv exercises, likely coming up with their own startup idea based on a random phrase — and then creating a TV commercial to pitch it,” said Glaser. “Then the breakouts will focus on solving those three big challenges for each project. At the end, the breakout facilitators will present the best solutions for those challenges to the whole group.”

Glaser expanded on why improv techniques will be employed:

“The biggest technique we use is ‘Yes . . . and’ which improv people use. The idea is that rather than shooting down ideas we don’t agree with, you say ‘Yes . . . and,’ adding in your own idea on top of that one. We force participants not to say ‘no’ to anything just to see what it feels like.

“We’ve had people tell us afterwards that they took those lessons into their own workplaces and it worked well too. Most people in media and journalism have a ‘no’ complex and like to shoot down ideas all the time. It’s a time for experimenting and saying ‘yes’ to a lot more now.”

This is the sixth Collab/Space workshop that PBS MediaShift and Glaser have organized, events that have “all been very well received, mostly for bringing together such great groups of people. We’ve had people connect for new jobs, companies getting connections for funding and more.”

Glaser said they have about 20 spots left and he’s positive the workshop will sell out.

The fee for the day, including a networking lunch, is $129 for professionals and faculty, and $69 for students. Registration for the workshop can be accessed through Eventbrite.

Register here for ISOJ. Register here for Collab/Space Austin.