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Clickstream journalism

The internet is transforming media. But just how much will it warp editorial values?

By Andrew Currah   April 2009

“The newsroom was electric,” an editor told me after the discovery of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, who went missing for 24 days in February 2008. “Minutes after publishing the story, we watched the clicks go up like a petrol pump. In just an hour, we had 60,000 hits!”

As newspapers and broadcasters move online they are finding new ways to judge what makes a big story. Using the latest “web analytics” technologies, publishers can now monitor the trails of the “clickstream”—a measure of what their users are choosing to read, watch and share. Newsrooms now feature both giant flat screens suspended…

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