Those who signed the email cited a number of problems with the practice, including ethical ones. I guess.
From the AP story:
"It is a fundamental principle of journalism that we do not give people outside the newspaper the option of deciding whether or not we should publish a story, whether they be advertisers, politicians or just regular readers," the e-mail read. "Focus grouping as done in the past is one thing. But this appears to break the bond between reporters and editors in a fundamental way."
The reporters and editors also said many have become uncomfortable that the marketing department appeared to be playing an undefined role in the newsroom.
No one will say what stories were under consideration or whether reader response shaped editorial decisions. Still. Scary practice that is unlikely to end well: It's like measuring news value by the click. bk