The New York Times Is Experimenting with Personalization to Find New Ways to Expose Readers to Stories
One of The New York Times’ greatest offerings to readers is its editorial judgment; whether it’s Page 1, the Times app, or the homepage of NYTimes.com, the package of stories selected by Times editors comes with an implicit statement: This is the most important stuff to know right now.
But over the past few months, The New York Times has been conducting a series of small experiments aimed at customizing that story selection to the individual reader, based on a variety of signals — such as past user behavior, location, or time. Just as your Google search results aren’t the same as mine, your New York Times might be subtly different from your neighbor’s.
“We produce a lot of great journalism; we just don’t want to waste it,” said Caroline Que, editorial director of the Times’ news desk. “Instead of thinking about having stories compete for limited space on the homepage, we’re trying to shift the conversation to a different understanding of our distribution.”