How to measure and market your impact ft. Angie Cirone and Anjanette Delgado

A LION conversation about telling your newsroom’s story, hosted by Outlier Media executive director Candice Fortman.

November 9, 2022 by Jenna Spinelle and Ben DeJarnette

News Guest graphic with photos of Angie Cirone and Anjanette Delgado

News organizations sometimes get so busy doing the work that they forget to track their impact or tell their story to stakeholders, including the people most likely to support them financially. 

In this episode of News Guest, you’ll learn why and how you can make time for this important work with insights and advice from: 

  • Angie Cirone, former director of journalism sustainability at Richland Source, a LION member in northern Ohio
  • Anjanette Delgado, executive editor of the Detroit Free Press and contributor to the Media Impact Project at the University of Southern California

You can listen and subscribe to News Guest on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts

Here are a few excerpts from the conversation with Angie and Anjanette, lightly edited for brevity and clarity:

On how to define ‘impact’ for your team:

Anjanette Delgado: It might be something that only affects one or two people, it might be a policy change that affects the entire state, or it might mean that someone else picked up your story and ran with it. Whatever it is, people on your team should understand what ‘impact’ means to your organization. 

On how to create systems that support regular impact tracking:

Anjanette: You can use something as simple as a Google Form that dumps the information back into a spreadsheet, or Julie Christie from Resolve Philly has this wonderful Airtable solution. I think the really important thing is to figure out how to tie this to your metrics, because if you’re not looking at these impacts alongside pageviews or subscription conversions or whatever it is that matters to your newsroom, then it’s going to be siloed off to the side, and your staff is going to know it’s not the thing that really matters.

Angie Cirone: The friendly reminders to track impact are important – using weekly meetings and one-on-one conversations to remind people of why we do what we do and how they play a crucial role. 

On how impact tracking can contribute to fundraising:

Angie: We put together an impact report annually and we send it to our corporate partners and prospects. We then set appointments to review the report with them and talk about the highlights, and that is really our case for support. We’re able to list out our corporate sponsorship levels and invite people to partner with us, and we also take parts of our impact report and break it into email campaigns.

On how reporters can contribute to a fundraising campaign:

Angie: We asked reporters last year to write an email in their own voice that could be sent to their personal networks and our full contact list. Those emails performed better than the ones coming from the brand. One reporter said he would eat a raccoon at the Raccoon Festival if we reached our member goal. Another said he would jump in the freezing lake for the Polar Bear Dip if we reached it. That made the campaign fun and engaging for the readers, and they appreciated that the reporters were putting something on the line.

On tracking impact in a small newsroom:

Anjanette: Track impact using the tools you already use, and just make it simple. Maybe you don’t publish a 45-item report, but you do a column or a story about your impact. It’s a chance to talk to your readers about the importance of your work. 

Want to learn more about measuring and marketing impact? Sign up for the LION newsletter to get updates on this series and other resources and opportunities for independent publishers.

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