Northwestern: Using the Playbook on NFL Draft Day

December 12, 2016

The Experiment

During the NFL Draft in Chicago (May 29 – 30, 2016), The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University displayed the dashboard on a large monitor adjacent to the production area in which faculty editors and grad student reporters were working on coverage of the event.

The following is what we learned.

The Results

Students and faculty editors were organically captivated; they regularly looked up for spikes in traffic or walked over to the screen for updates. Classic moths to the flame.

Social Media Noticeably Impacts Site Traffic

Northwestern Parsely Big Board

Key Findings:

  • An older story had been getting steady traffic, despite all of the new draft-related content. One editor did some strategic tweeting, which helped to bump the older story off the “top daily view” spot.
  • The resulting top story then became No. 1 on Google News search for the player’s name, and No. 3 on general Google search.
  • The VP of Communications for the NFL tweeted praise for one of the newsroom’s stories to his 75,000 followers and traffic spiked noticeably!
rocket emoji