Chalkbeat Project Summary: Planning and Tracking Impact

Chalkbeat provides deep local coverage of education policy and practice in four states: Colorado, Indiana, New York and Tennessee. Their audience is people in these states who participate in civic deliberation on public education in their communities, particularly targeting those involved in key school districts serving low-income communities.

Chalkbeat has developed a tool called MORI (Measures of Our Reporting’s Influence), a WordPress plug-in developed last year and launched this past February. This project will add a new feature to MORI to help Chalkbeat plan their stories for maximum impact, and then track the influence they have in the real world.

It is a CRM (constituent relationship management) tool linking MORI’s database of metadata on individual stories’ target audiences, types and topics to Chalkbeat’s efforts to distribute stories to readers or groups of readers directly and through the network of distribution partners in each bureau.

It will streamline their systems for getting stories directly into the hands of people most likely to be interested in them. The goals of this project are to boost the ability to attract paid sponsorships, increasing their appeal to national/local sponsors, and helping to retain and grow philanthropic revenue.

What knowledge will be gained from this experiment?

Chalkbeat has already seen that MORI is having a positive effect on their newsroom, aiding reporters to think more strategically about their stories and who they hope they will reach, and also by providing data on their stories’ impact to inform future work. The specific question is, could the one tool to distribute stories in the most effective and engaging way, and build readership, be a CRM integrated to MORI?