3 reasons why media should put readers first

The customer comes first. What seems obvious for most industries seems still hard to find in the news industry. Maybe because we are still conflicted about who’s our customer – advertiser or reader/viewer.  So, for those who still need some convincing, here are 3 good reasons, from prominent thinkers, to put readers first.

  1. The reader doesn’t give a flying fuck who breaks the news, writes Felix Salmon in this excellent post. Still, news organizations decide on what to publish, based on what their reporters have seen elsewhere. Which is not helping make the world better informed. “The argument for caring about such things is that news dissemination has become increasingly fragmented and social: if you have the news first, then your story gets a headstart on Twitter and Facebook, which is how more and more people are getting their news. But frankly while a headstart is nice, it should never make the difference between publishing and not publishing. Readers come first, and all decent publications have their own readership: they shouldn’t be so meek as to assume that their readers will have invariably found the same news elsewhere, just because someone else’s version arrived a little earlier.
  2. Law of supply and demand applies to journalism, underlines Bill Keller in this Politico interview. “The law of supply and demand applies to journalism, and there is a demand for it. It’s really hard sometimes finding the connection between the supplier and the customer, and that’s what’s been so utterly disrupted in the last 10 or 20 years.” It’s kind of ironic for an industry named to be the middle.
  3.  We work in tech. A friendly reminder from Cindy Royal at Nieman Lab. Which means we have to stop thinking of the Web as a shelf to deposit content. “The ways we communicate both personally and professionally have been profoundly altered“. Social networks rule the Web, distribution trumps production, and sharing is done… by people.