Journalism can not be reduced to clicks. Tell McClatchy to live up to its promise.

Despite ours and our readers’ protests, the owner of the Idaho Statesman continues to ram through mandatory pageview quotas for its journalists.

Apparently it hasn’t received the message. So join us in collectively telling McClatchy this is wrong. You can send an email directly to McClatchy leadership by filling out the form below.

McClatchy promised for years it would not judge employees on pageviews. It said they were just goals to strive for. It said it was no big deal if you missed them.

But it has broken that promise.

In our most recent round of performance reviews, management inserted pageview quotas and other digital metrics into goals supposedly set by employees. There was no discussion, and no conversation about their weight.

Under past practice, success on these reviews dictates our salaries. Pageview quotas have never been a required part of these reviews.

And in current contract negotiations, McClatchy revealed plans to use annual reviews – which it says must include pageviews – to determine layoffs.

Employees have zero input on these arbitrary quotas. It’s unclear how McClatchy sets them. It can’t clearly explain how they help our bottom line. And they create perverse incentives for our coverage, incentives that defy everything McClatchy publicly claims to stand for.

McClatchy tried this at the Sacramento Bee. It relented after national blowback and does not require them.

So why require them here? Are Idaho journalists lesser than Sacramento ones? Do Idaho readers deserve less than those in California?

The Idaho NewsGuild has filed an Unfair Labor Practice against McClatchy and the Idaho Statesman over these quotas. These mandatory quotas are a violation of our status quo protections under federal labor law.

Let us be clear: We are not against measuring digital readership. It can be an effective tool to expand our audience and provide meaningful feedback.

But it can not capture the work and value of a journalist. Period.

Judging journalists by pageviews rewards controversy over clarity. It rewards quantity over quality. It rewards outrage over solutions.

It’s bad for the Idaho Statesman. It’s bad for our readers. It’s bad for Idaho.

Please join us in telling McClatchy to keep these mandatory quotas out of Idaho.

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