Measuring Success

It’s a good idea to track several elements of your project:

  • Number of tips and verified tips

  • Number of stories produced

  • Impact from stories

  • Outside media coverage generated from the project

Our Collaborate tool makes it easy to track the tips, but if you build your own system, be sure to make tip tracking an integral part of the database. In the Documenting Hate database, it's easy to see tip totals and to update tips to show which are being worked on and which have been reported out.

Collaborations may involve one, several or many stories, but no matter the case, it's a good idea to have a public landing page where all the stories live with a description of the project and partners. We also keep spreadsheets of stories generated from our collaborative projects, which lets us keep detailed notes and get a sense of which partners are having the most success and which might need more help.

Make sure at least one person is in charge of tracking impact, which ranges from media coverage of the project and individual stories to responses from government officials to legislation. It can also be useful to keep tipsters up to date on the stories you're producing and the impact they have, if it makes sense for your project. The Center for Investigative Reporting has a helpful glossary of what types of impact you can track. At ProPublica we most value real-world impact.

For Documenting Hate, I rely on a number of things to track impact: our reporters, Google Alerts, following the hate beat in the news, searching for news clips for follow-up on partner stories and checking footnotes of legislation/congressional testimony for links to our work.

ICIJ, which works with partners all over the world in multiple languages, relies in part on its internal social platform for partners to share highlights of impact from their countries. The organization also has regional coordinators focused on sets of countries who are more attuned to what's happening there.