Leaked ‘Insider’ memo reveals reporters are judged by ‘impact points’
Reporters at media outlet Insider must report the “impact points” their work generates, according to a memo leaked Tuesday, though at least one Insider journalist downplayed the metric’s importance.
The memo from editor-in-chief of Insider’s news division Jim Edwards was posted on Twitter by Daily Beast reporter Max Tani and detailed how “impact points” should be recorded as well as which ones are and aren’t important.
Insider just sent out an email defining “impact points,” which is one way beyond traffic or subscriptions the company measures a story’s success. Apparently RTs from some journalists count as impact points, unless that journalist is me 🙁 pic.twitter.com/Yx00AfP8Gz
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) April 6, 2021
“What counts,” Edwards wrote in the memo, are story shares or publicity through “major national/international titles,” on titles with a “great deal of prestige,” websites with more than 10 million users, certain TV or national radio appearances, social media accounts with a million-plus follower or high profile Reddit hits.
Local radio, newspapers, smaller sites and journalists on Twitter, including Max Tani himself, do not count, Edwards wrote.
In response to questions about the memo, Edwards told The Hill that Insider’s editorial leaders would “get back to you if we have anything to say.”
Mario Ruiz, a spokesperson for Insider would also not comment on the memo except to say it was not written to imply that local papers lack prestige.
“Otherwise the memo pretty much speaks for itself,” he added.
However, one Insider journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, said the memo was likely sent to clarify confusion among staff about which media mentions matter most to Insider’s executives.
“I think the reason why they’re telling us about what counts in terms of tweets and shares is there is a lot of confusion around that,” the source said. “Sometimes they change. Maybe a publication or a newsletter at a big publication counts. Then sometimes they don’t count it. They were more or less trying to straighten that out.”
And there’s no doubt, the source said, that Insider reporters are expected to hit their goals.
“[With] metrics, there’s a lot of tension around that sometimes,” he explained. “We’re subject to dips in traffic and that’s something you can’t control. Metrics can be tough for some people to reach and there’s a lot of pressure.”
However, while he explained that a reporter’s “impact points” are examined on a monthly basis, they are not the most important measure of success at Insider, at least for him.
“For me, those are nice-to-haves,” he explained. “I care more about subscriptions at the end of the day; if people are subscribing because of my stories. Subscriptions help our business and allow me to get my bonus.”
Tani’s tweets showing the leaked memo drew responses from other media notables on Twitter including the Washington Post’s media reporter Jeremy Barr:
Max doesn’t deserve this. Please RT me, Max. https://t.co/Y4Gm9DMuil
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) April 6, 2021
this is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 6, 2021
And CNN media reporter Kerry Flynn:
I really want to know how Insider / BI (or well I guess this one person) defines “prestigious”
And then I’d really like this person to explain to me why local news outlets aren’t considered “prestigious” https://t.co/PbUc3UV0JW
— Kerry Flynn (@kerrymflynn) April 6, 2021