Writing on poynter.org, Benjamin Mullin says Carebot will try to determine how valuable stories are to readers, rather than just counting pageviews and unique browsers.
“The stated mission of the project, spearheaded by NPR Visuals Editor Brian Boyer, is to devise metrics that change how newsrooms measure and celebrate successful stories,” writes Mullin.
“Our official team motto these days is: We make people care,” Boyer said. “We believe that visual journalism has the power to make people care. So if that’s our motto, if that’s what we tell ourselves, if that’s what we’re trying to do every day, then how do we know if we’re doing our jobs? How do we measure that success?”
Carebot will aggregate data from Chartbeat, Google Analytics, Facebook and Twitter, and run an algorithm that looks at “social engagement (likes, shares, comments) time spent on site and completion rate. Rather than examining raw numbers for each statistic, Carebot will base its scores on the number of engagements per pageview. By this reckoning, a story with 1,000,000 pageviews and 1000 shares would have a lower Carebot score than a story with 1,000 pageviews and 100 shares.”
NPR plans to open-source the program for use by other news organisations, Mullin says.
Read more about the concept in Mullin’s piece on poynter.org.