The Observer's Gillian Reagan wrote a piece on how the content is managed on at NYTimes.com. Reagan spoke to the Times executives who manage the paper's website, two guys whose view of the web is, well, interesting.
The aforementioned executives are Times deputy managing editor Jonathan Landman and associate managing editor/NYTimes.com's digital news editor Jim Roberts. Here's part of what they told Reagan about the process that goes into putting together the stories featured on the Times home page.
Both Mr. Landman and Mr. Roberts say that Web stats have no bearing on what they choose to put on the front page of the newspaper or the home page of the site. "In terms of minute-to-minute news decisions, I think that would pretty much drive me crazy," Mr. Roberts said.
"You know, I would say if I had more time I would probably try to investigate more in what our readers are doing," Mr. Roberts said. "I guess I would rather know some broad trends, than some specific minute to minute thing," like whether readers are more interested in science news or fashion reports.
"Or if a profile of someone that I thought was a really really well written piece, if it sort of got miserable traffic, I would like to know about it and at least like to think about why that was the case, whether there was a message to be sent there," Mr. Roberts said.
Now look, we understand the need to create a varied and eclectic array of stories for readers to choose from on any website's homepage, especially that of a newspaper, but how can they completely ignore traffic stats altogether? I mean, really? Isn't that incredibly, oh, I don't know, dumb?!