The Audience-Oriented Editor: Making sense of the audience in the newsroom

Raul Ferrer-Conill, Edson C. Tandoc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Spurred by the increasingly central role of audience metrics in the editorial process, a new set of roles is being introduced in the newsroom primarily focused on navigating audience data. This paper aims to understand these emerging audience-oriented roles and to what extent considerations of the audience figures in editorial choices. This paper draws from a set of 15 in-depth interviews with engagement editors, social media editors and audience editors from different media systems around the world. Three major findings emerge: First, the definition of engagement is almost entirely centered on different types of metrics. Second, while audience-oriented editors take part in the editorial process, their role is to help journalists negotiate between the information obtained by their metrics and their journalistic intuition to make editorial decisions. Third, there is a lack of cohesiveness regarding what these newsroom positions are and how they operate. The paper contributes to the growing literature on the pervasiveness of metrics and quantification of journalistic processes by offering a more nuanced understanding of a new set of editorial roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-453
Number of pages18
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • analytics
  • audience
  • digital journalism
  • engagement
  • journalism
  • metrics
  • social media


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