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
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
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

Recruitment Genius: Junior PHP Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Guru Careers: Front End Web Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: Our client help leading creative agencies ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Guru Careers: Web Developer / Javascript Developer

COMPETITIVE (DOE) + BENEFITS : Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Backend / HTML ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn