Staten Island Media Group Keeping Digital Tabs on News Trends

A Look into How SILive Connects Communities

By Ryan Miller

Three is the magic number when it comes to identifying a news trend, but the digital era has helped us redefine this standard with access to more complex data than just how many stories follow a specific topic.

The role of the public’s voice has been diminished in determining what news is circulated by their local outlet, but most are unaware of how they still affect the local news climate everyday.

All it takes is just a few clicks.

“We have a software called Omniture that tracks almost any quantitative vale imaginable,” said Staten Island Media Group Sports Editor Joe D’Amodio.

“The amount of information that we’re presented on an every day basis is staggering. The system computes not only how many people link to a specific page, but where they’re linking from and how often they’re linking to one story as opposed to another.”

Technological innovations have seen our world evolve into a more digital and mobile consumer space. In order to keep up with the ever changing news landscape, primarily print publications like the Staten Island Advance have been forced online.

Since 1980, subscriptions to the Staten Island Advance have plummeted from nearly 750,000 to where they stand now at approximately 300,000.

This sharp decline is evidence of the outlet’s audience moving primarily to an online space, where their activity is more easily tracked.

“The digital footprint left behind by every visitor to tells a story,” said Staten Island Media Group Digital Operations employee Caroline Jastremski.

“There’s very little guess work anymore in determining what articles are most prevalent to our readers. We’re only ever a few clicks away from compiling charts and graphs which explicitly tell us what’s hot and what’s not amongst our readers.”

Staten Island Media Group’s use of advanced software still doesn’t dictate what events happen in our community, but it is an essential tool in determining what’s worth continual coverage.

Hyper locality plays a major role in Staten Island news trends, as many of the Island’s inhabitants allude to a “small town” mentality for the city of just under 500,000.

New York City’s smallest borough is even further compartmentalized into neighborhoods, each with a unique identity and news specific to the area.

“When something happens in Tottenville, naturally the highest concentration of visitors to that exact web page is going to come from the South Shore,” said Jastremski.

“We often see geographical patterns in page visitation and try to capitalize on that by offering advanced searches online by neighborhood. We still also try to localize news for print subscribers who receive special editions for their area a few times a week.”

Despite the mass migration to an online medium, the pressing issues in our community have remained the same for decades.

Crime and drugs still dominate the front-page headlines while events distinct to the Island (high school sports, business features, local celebrity rumblings) comprise the remainder of the content.

A trend is defined as the general direction in which something is developing or changing and with a plethora of info coming across the wire daily, it’s nearly impossible to forecast a trend far into the future.

No matter what new trends may arise, or what old ones may recourse, media outlets are well equipped to handle this inevitable change.

“Omniture coupled with other software we have allows us to more tightly monitor every situation in order to see how our readers respond to the coverage,” said D’Amodio.

“Regardless of situation, we know we’ll always be able to cater exactly to our audiences desires,” he said.

“What more could either side of the news ask for?”

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