Portland's 'The Oregonian' to reward journalists for number of articles they post online

The changes at the publication have been criticsed by a reporter at the 'New York Times'

A US newspaper in the east coast city of Portland, Oregon, has told its reporters that their bonuses will be linked to the number of stories they post on the publication's website.

Journalists working at The Oregonian have been alerted by the publication’s owners, Advance Publications, to changes including a quota system that has been put in place for their work, with bonuses for employees who post the most articles, according to internal documents seen by Willamette Week.

News of the management's demands has spread across the country, prompting an article by the New York Times' media correspondent David Carr.

"In the more-with-less annals of corporate mandates, this one is a doozy..." he wrote.

"Journalism's status as a profession is up for grabs. A viral hit is no longer defined by the credentials of an individual or organisation. The media ecosystem is increasingly a pro-am affair, where the wisdom — or prurient interest — of the crowd decides what is important and worthy of sharing."

The changes announced in late February include 75 per cent of a reporter’s performance being measured according to targets, including how often they post to Oregonlive.com.

Beat reporters will be expected to file three articles a day, and all reporters are expected to increase their average number of daily posts by 25 per cent by the middle of the year, and another 15 per cent in the second half of the year.

Writers are also required to produce “two major projects a quarter” which reflect “top-flight journalistic and digitally orientated enterprise,” measured by “page views and engagement”.

On top of reporting duties, the policy explains that: “On any post of substance, reporter will post the first comment.”

It adds:  “Beat reporters [are to] solicit ideas and feedback through posts, polls and comments on a daily basis.”

Depending on whether the company’s finances are stable enough, employees who exceed the goals will receive yearly bonuses and “final performance ratings will determine merit pay.”

The announcement follow significant restructuring at the newspaper in the past few months.

In October it moved to becoming a ‘digital first’ platform, meaning news stories are posted first to its website, then put into its print edition. Meanwhile, hard copies have been reduced to home delivery four days a week, according to Willamette Week. Employees also have to contend with 49 member of staff having been made redundant.

Prior to the new measures, reporters were rewarded when the management thought they produced the year’s best work, or distinguished themselves as leaders in the newsroom, longtime employees told the Willamette Week.

Oregonian Media Group president and publisher N. Christian Anderson did not directly address the memo, but told Willamette Week that web posting will be one of many factors in evaluating reporters.

"Incentive pay is not tied exclusively to any one goal, but rather to the full range of journalistic achievement," he said.

Internal communications among Oregonian editors show they are still discussing how to apply the new standards to their departments.

Read more: Not good enough for the cover of ‘Vogue’? Kim Kardashian has a lot to be proud of
Crowdsourcing: should fans get more for their money?
BBC goes meta with 'W1A' and marks a big birthday by sending itself up
Investigative journalism is getting harder – but we need it more than ever
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee