The billion-dollar question: What is journalism for?
Newspapers have always argued that they are important because the stories they cover result in changes to legislation or in corrupt companies being investigated, or have other social benefits such as highlighting health problems, but in virtually all cases the evidence is anecdotal at best. And as Stray notes, this problem doesn’t become any easier online — where everything can and is measured — because it isn’t clear what constitutes success for any given piece of journalism. Is it the number of readers it draws, or the “engagement” they produce (via things like comments or tweets)? Can you find it by looking at the number of links to that story from other sources over time, the way that Google’s Page Rank does?