Earlier this month a newsroom analytics team was introduced at the New York Times, with the aim of establishing a better understanding of how editorial content is consumed.
The team, which currently consists of James Robinson, who moved across from the news outlet's wider analytics team, and the New York Times's Knight Mozilla fellow Brian Abelson.
It was set up by Aron Pilhofer, who also runs the Times's interactive news team, social media team and communities team.
Speaking to Journalism.co.uk at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia this week, he said that currently "we know next to nothing in the newsroom about how people consume our content, whether we're publishing in the right way, whether all the time and effort we're putting into creating these interactives actually work".
"The only way you can do that is through analytics, understanding how people are interacting, what they're doing with your content."When you're spending so much time, you're putting so many resources into these projects and into these pieces you really shouldn't be publishing blindAron Pilhofer
He said that the news outlet has been looking into the different ways to understand this for some time.
Although the metered paywall has been in operation for two years now, this data stays on the business-side of the company, which is kept separate from editorial.
Now, with a dedicated analytics team for editorial, the aim is to help the newsroom "make data-driven decisions" where appropriate, Pilhofer said.
"I don't think everything should be approached that way," Pilhofer said. "I'm not even sure most things should be approached that way, but having the ability to make data-driven decisions, I think is super important.
"When you're spending so much time, you're putting so many resources into these projects and into these pieces you really shouldn't be publishing blind."
The team will look at things such as the way consumers of the New York Times navigate through the stories across platforms, although currently "the best data" is for the website, Pilhofer explained.
He added that they will look at how the newsroom wants users to be consuming content, and then compare that to the reality. "Those two things can be amazingly different," he said.
"We have lots of ideas of things we want to work on... It's exciting and it's something that we've wanted to do for a very long time so I think it's going to make dividends for us."
Free daily newsletter
- What should journalists and newsrooms do when facing online abuse?
- Take part in the Journalism.co.uk readership survey
- The value of diversity in the newsroom
- Tip: Use up-to-date and reliable covid-19 data
- Transphobia Project uses data visualisation to zoom in on outlets that spread biased transgender content