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Audience Development and Analytics

Back in the day, journalists focused on finding and telling great stories.  It was someone else’s job – say, the marketing or circulation department – to figure out how to reach and build the audience for the journalists’ work. No more – we now need journalists to work in the emerging field of “audience development.” That’s the focus of our class: learning how to build an engaged audience to support and strengthen a sustainable business model.

You will learn how digital publications reach and engage audiences, how web audience measurement systems work and which measurements are most useful to publishers.  You will also gain practical experience using Web analytics.  Woven into the course will be a Medill Explores experience consisting of a multifaceted tour of established media companies and startups in New York City, the center of the publishing and media technology industries. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the art and science of audience development, the ways publishers envision and measure their audiences, and the factors that contribute to building a successful media business.  

In this course, and Medill Explores experience, you will:

Travel component:

We will visit a broad range of companies to learn about what makes publications successful in the digital age, from long-established publications (e.g., New York magazine) to digital-native media (e.g., Quartz) to companies providing enabling technologies (e.g., Chartbeat and Piano software).  Students will see how these companies apply the approaches being taught in Audience Development & Analytics in order to engage audiences and develop sustainable business models.

For student perspectives on some of these companies, see article about the 2017 New York trip: