Behind The Blog

Behind the Blog: Why We Stalked a Target Through the NYC Subway

We discuss the importance of impact, missing phone calls from sources while at the dentist, and the games Amazon plays with journalists.
A collage related to 404 Media articles this week
Collage: 404 Media

Here is this week's “Behind the Blog,” where subscribers get a glimpse behind the scenes into how we pulled together certain stories and how they intersected with our everyday lives. This week we talk about the importance of impact, missing calls from sources, and how Amazon handles our inquires.

JOSEPH: Let me talk about impact for a second. At Motherboard, I never paid attention to how many clicks an article got. I was so hostile to this metric that I refused to even have a set of login credentials for the service Motherboard used to track that sort of thing. Jason and Emanuel knew to not tell me about it unless absolutely necessary. For me the reason was, I don’t want to even introduce the chance that I could be influenced by how many clicks each article got. What if I saw a certain article got a lot of attention, and then another got next to nothing—would that then change which stories I pursued, either consciously or subconsciously?

Instead, I focused heavily on generating impact. That is a metric I care deeply about. If the entire point of journalism is to provide information so people can make informed decisions, seeing those decisions result in action is affirmation that this is a useful piece of journalism. It’s not my job to say whether the impact is “good” or to push towards a certain piece of impact; that’s for activists, lawmakers, and the public. My role is to just provide a way for that to happen, in even a small way by publishing information people were not aware of before.