What We Are Reading Today: Metrics at Work by Angele Christin

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Updated 30 June 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Metrics at Work by Angele Christin

When the news moved online, journalists suddenly learned what their audiences actually liked, through algorithmic technologies that scrutinize web traffic and activity. Has this advent of audience metrics changed journalists’ work practices and professional identities? 

In Metrics at Work, Angèle Christin documents the ways that journalists grapple with audience data in the form of clicks, and analyzes how new forms of clickbait journalism travel across national borders.

Drawing on four years of fieldwork in web newsrooms in the US and France, including more than one hundred interviews with journalists, Christin reveals many similarities among the media groups examined—their editorial goals, technological tools, and even office furniture. 

Yet she uncovers crucial and paradoxical differences in how American and French journalists understand audience analytics and how these affect the news produced in each country. 

American journalists routinely disregard traffic numbers and primarily rely on the opinion of their peers to define journalistic quality. 

Meanwhile, French journalists fixate on internet traffic and view these numbers as a sign of their resonance in the public sphere. 

Christin offers cultural and historical explanations for these disparities, arguing that distinct journalistic traditions structure how journalists make sense of digital measurements in the two countries.

Contrary to the popular belief that analytics and algorithms are globally homogenizing forces, Metrics at Work shows that computational technologies can have surprisingly divergent ramifications for work and organizations worldwide.


What We Are Reading Today: Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer

Updated 03 August 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer

Author: Volker R. Berghahn

Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer takes an in-depth look at German journalism from the late Weimar period through the postwar decades. Illuminating the roles played by journalists in the media metropolis of Hamburg, Volker Berghahn focuses on the lives and work of three remarkable individuals: Marion Countess Dönhoff, distinguished editor of Die Zeit; Paul Sethe, “the grand old man of West German journalism” and Hans Zehrer, editor in chief of Die Welt.
All born before 1914, Dönhoff, Sethe, and Zehrer witnessed the Weimar Republic’s end and opposed Hitler. When the latter seized power in 1933, they were, like their fellow Germans, confronted with the difficult choice of entering exile, becoming part of the active resistance, or joining the Nazi Party.
 Instead, they followed a fourth path—“inner emigration”—psychologically distancing themselves from the regime, their writing falling into a gray zone between grudging collaboration and active resistance. During the war, Dönhoff and Sethe had links to the 1944 conspiracy to kill Hitler, while Zehrer remained out of sight on a North Sea island. In the decades after 1945, all three became major figures in the West German media. Berghahn considers how these journalists and those who chose inner emigration interpreted Germany’s horrific past and how they helped to morally and politically shape the reconstruction of the country.