Newsrooms have increasingly become to take a regular look at analytics. Many newsroom now have big displays of the users on the site, in the least, beside real time data such as the most popular articles being read.
Almost every single news website uses Google’s free Analytics tool. With the introduction of the real time analytics tab, it probably is kept open in one tab of the digital editor, if not the shift head as well.
The emphasis on the metrics tracked depends on the kind of publication the website belongs to, including the kind of ownership of the institution. But most often pageviews, sessions, unique users, and bounce rate/exits would be of great concern to a breaking news operation, while average time spent and pages per session are metrics that a site that publishes long-form articles and so might emphasis on. Not that all parameters are of interest for all of them, but the emphasis might depend of the type of owners and the type site.