Impact factor. No, not that impact factor – impact factor for news. What would that look like? In particular, what would that look like beyond “was it seen?”
The New York Times is hosting a Knight-Mozilla fellow to tackle that question. I read today on Twitter that that fellow is going to be Brian Abelson.
I took a look back at the job description to see what “impact factor” looks like in the mind of someone not immersed in academia, and found this language, which could apply just as well to research (or to teaching, really, but this is not a learning assessment post):
What we do not have are ways of measuring how a piece of journalism changes the way people think or act. We don’t have a metric for impact.
What’s interesting is the implication here that the obvious solution is the data, particularly the immense amount of it now available:
But the math changes in the digital environment. We are awash in metrics, and we have the ability to engage with readers at scale in ways that would have been impossible (or impossibly expensive) in an analog world.