Media must manage their numbers and keep records of work they do on daily basis, according to SembraMedia

How many stories did your media outlet publish in the last year? How much money has your media outlet earned in the last year? What impact did your article have in your community? What evidence do you have that your media outlet achieves what it says it achieves?

With these questions Micaela Fernández and Chiara Finocchiaro, finance director and project manager of SembraMedia, respectively, began their presentation on finance and the importance of metrics in digital media at the 17th Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism held on April 14.

For them, it is important that each journalist can answer these questions in order to comply with the premise that SembraMedia has had throughout its 10 years of operation: “Never do anything without studying it first.” Additionally, they consider it important that media leaders and journalists manage their numbers, know accounting, and feel comfortable talking about finances.

SembraMedia is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote diverse Spanish-speaking voices in Latin America, Spain, the United States and Canada so that they can sustain their independence, journalistic quality and positive impact on citizens.

“We are continually studying the ecosystem, working alongside the media, seeing the strengths, the risks, the threats that arise and, based on this, we start our work,” Fernández said.

As part of this constant study, SembraMedia has been able to notice that there is currently a lack of measurement and recording of the work done daily in media.

“Many times what moves us journalists deeply is our conviction for our profession. We are always after some story to tell and, many times, in this maelstrom of solving operational tasks and the daily agenda we lose a lot of focus and almost always the business comes later, it is postponed,” Finocchiaro said.

Throughout the presentation, the speakers emphasized that the only way to know if the journalists' work is working and reaching audiences is by knowing and analyzing the numbers. And they not only refer to the metrics of how many people are clicking on the stories or following along on social networks, but also to the records of time spent and impact.

Examples of things that can be measured within the media outlet include the record of new processes implemented, how many audience connection activities were carried out, tangible impacts within the community such as changes in legislation, etc.

Regarding the area of ​​finance, according to Fernández, it is key to be able to measure the media outlet’s income and expenses. New alliances with other media or organizations, new contracts, among others, can also be measured.

“Everything can be measured but it is better to start with finances, equipment and processes, and impacts,” Fernández said.

For SembraMedia, measurement will allow media and journalists to make strategic and informed decisions with a clear purpose, know their media and work better, connect better with the audience, know the changes that are achieved in the communities, be accountable to financiers, support with evidence and even increase professional self-esteem.

Fernández and Finocchiaro closed their presentation by inviting attendees to visit SembraMedia's resources and learning guides and giving a final conclusion: “We measure to understand why we do what we do and make better decisions.”


The Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism is an annual meeting of journalists from the region that is organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. It is traditionally held the Sunday following the close of the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) and this year was held on April 14. A recording of the Colloquium can be found here.