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Some Newspapers, Tracking Readers Online, Shift Coverage

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Washington Post newsroom

The Washington Post newsroom displays traffic data. Raju Narisetti, a managing editor, said it helped to decide where to cut staff.

Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times

In most businesses, not knowing how well a particular product is performing would be almost unthinkable. But newspapers have always been a peculiar business, one that has stubbornly, proudly clung to a sense that focusing too much on the bottom line can lead nowhere good.

Now, because of technology that can pinpoint what people online are viewing and commenting on, how much time they spend with an article and even how much money an article makes in advertising revenue, newspapers can make more scientific decisions about allocating their ever scarcer resources.

Such data has never been available with such specificity and timeliness. The reader surveys that newspapers relied on for decades took months to produce, often leaving editors with stale data.

From The New York Times
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