Recipe For Big-Media Success: Ignore Your Audience

from the all-the-news-that-we-decide-is-fit-to-print dept

A post on a newspaper-industry blog takes the Torontoist to task for ignoring the story of the arrests of a number of suspected terrorists in the city, something the city and country’s mainstream media was all over. Never mind that Torontoist, like the other “-ist” sites, doesn’t pretend to be a straight-up news site, it’s more interested in pop culture and entertainment, and its editors are probably intelligent enough to realize that it didn’t have much to add to a story that its audience had probably already seen elsewhere. The post is pretty telling, though, in that it reflects the mainstream media’s idea that being everything to everyone is a viable strategy, particularly online, also ignoring the reality that bloggers don’t need to be journalists at all. It’s interesting to note that when Torontoist did cover the story, its entry didn’t solicit any comments — so perhaps actually knowing your audience isn’t such a bad thing. The original dressing-down ends with an arrogant comment typical of too many journalists’ view of bloggers: “They need to learn a lot about journalism.” If that’s the case, then this guy needs to learn a lot about the internet.

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Comments on “Recipe For Big-Media Success: Ignore Your Audience”

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Jan Christiansen says:

Big media

The problem big media has with the terrorist arrests in Canada is that they do not have the facts and so they are reporting speculation and reaction as news.

It was not useful to me to hear a commentator on the CBC radio network this morning speculating that when the suspects were running around in the woods with guns maybe they were just playing paintball.

Nor do I find it helpful when the media (copying the American networks) go and interview the families of the accused.

As a Canadian, I want to hear the wiretaps and see the videos then I can make up my own mind. In the meantime the three tonnes of ammonium nitrate suggests some of those boys should wind up doing some serious time.

Three Men In A Boat says:

Recipe for small-media failure: Ignore your audien

In Washington, DC, there used to be a bookstore called Sidney Kramer Books that specialized in books on Economics, Politics, and Area Studies. When the big box stores opened in DC, their response was to widen their selection. When the store closed, the owner’s comment, with hindsight, was that they should have sharpened their focus, rather than broaden it. The Torontoist seems to have figured this out.

Alan Abbey (user link) says:

Torontoist not on the story - and big media arroga

May I take a second to expand on my comments on the Poynter blog. If Torontoist made a point of saying on its web site that it is a blog about pop culture and fun stuff in Toronto, then I’d say the criticisms and the claims that it “knows its audience” is on point. But it doesn’t. It says it is a blog about everything going on in Toronto. Even if it doesn’t have any investigative reporters, it could at least have pointed to the best stories out there and added some meaningul commentary about how (or if at all) such events will affect the atmosphere and life of Toronto – certainly an area theoretically in their area of expertise. To ignore something like that was just sloppy work.

Further, the “ists” and other similar blogs are presenting themselves as alternatives to the big media. So, where is the alternative viewpoint? What is the impact on minority communities going to be? Is there even a sense of outrage (at the arrest or that the arrest was trumpeted by the cops)? I still think they should have done something with the story rather than wait nearly 2 days to get to it.

That seems to me a fundamental misunderstanding of the power of the Web, not my so-called MSM outlook.

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