The Front Page Story

Is the front page story a reliable indicator of influence?

Landing the front page story of a daily metropolitan newspaper used to represent the pinnacle of earned media. But in an environment where digital editions are updated hourly and social media can turn a niche story viral within minutes, can the ‘front page story’ remain a reliable indicator of influence ? 

Timing is key

Back in the golden age of the print edition newspaper, a front page story would remain in position for 24 hours until the next morning’s edition replaced it. The new online news realm operates at an entirely different pace where online editions are subject to change on a minute-by-minute basis. This constant process of curation and replacement means that some stories remain for hours at the top of online editions, whereas others are knocked off and replaced within minutes.

peoplepoweredcovers_comparisons_12
Editor vs. People Powered front page. Image courtesy of NewsWhip. 

Would front pages look different if readers selected the top stories?

Web-editions would look very different if they were curated by the general public rather than a collection of editors sitting in a news conference. An experiment conducted by social signals platform NewsWhip found that stories that the general public choose to share differ greatly from the selection of news stories editors place on the front pages of their digital editions. 

Are front page mention synonymous with high social media engagement?

Not necessarily. A correlation exists between front page position and social media exposure, however it is difficult to ascertain whether social media engagement drives a front page story or a front page position drives social media engagement. To further complicate matters, a front page article is not necessarily synonymous with huge social media engagement. Articles which generate thousands of audience engagements may never make it to the front page position of an online edition, whereas ‘newsworthy’ content placed in pole position by editors may generate relatively small engagement. 

Why monitor front pages?

Streem’s front page chart helps visualise how salient a particular story was in relation to other coverage of your organisation. For example, knowing that a story about your product spent an average of 58m on the front page, or that your organisation was mentioned on 43 front pages in month would suggest high engagement, strong message cut-through or a crisis.

Streem’s ranking categorisation also helps to determine the impact of particular articles. For example, a front page story in #1 position that only fleetingly mentions your company is likely to be less salient than a feature story in #5 position which focuses entirely on your product.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-4-31-42-pm
Analysis via Streem.

How long does it take for news to spread?

Analysis of Australian news reports shows a story spreads from one source to another in less than 4 minutes*. When a news story can spread across Online, TV or Radio in a matter of minutes, monitoring the media in realtime is more than convenient – it’s critical to the long-term success of a business or the reputation of a public figure.

Australia’s two 24-hour news channels and hundreds of large-scale online news sources mean that communications teams cannot afford to miss a beat when tracking media coverage. A misleading report that’s biased or missing key facts can leave the public misinformed and unreceptive; making it harder to control your message and correct the record.social_network_analysis_visualization

Analysis* of over 1 million Online and TV news reports in 2016 found a decreasing gap between the publication of a unique news story and the time taken for a competitor to repeat it. When it takes a matter of minutes for breaking news to spread, the public is being influenced with every passing minute.

But because the majority of media monitoring is delayed, delivered by email or omits stories, the job of responding becomes harder. Add to this the lack of a Mobile App to access media on the go, or Audience Trend Data to help you understand the impact an issue is having with the public, and you’re already behind the story. In a truly 24/7 news landscape it is impossible to ignore the spread of news, and potentially damaging to rely on anything other than realtime, keyword driven monitoring.

*Based on analysis conducted by Streem on 1,087,524 Online & TV reports between 2/2015-01/2016. Analysis measured the time taken for one media outlet to repeat a unique news story.