Now There's A Concept: Newspapers Should Add Value To The News

from the why-hasn't-anyone-else-thought-that-one-up dept

It’s certainly been rather painful watching newspapers struggle to adapt to the internet age. While there’s more demand for news today than ever before, many news organizations are still struggling with the fact that their old way of doing business has gone away. Romenesko points us to a useful, if somewhat obvious quote on what newspapers need to do from the chief marketing officer of Northwestern’s Kellog School of Management: “The majority of ‘news’ customers are past ‘what happened’ — they want to know ‘how it happened.'” What’s scary is the idea that news organizations need to be told this. “News” today is a different beast than it was in the past. The basic facts, people can get anywhere. What they’re interested in is being able to dig down and learn more. In other words, they want journalists to actually add value. What a concept.

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Comments on “Now There's A Concept: Newspapers Should Add Value To The News”

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Iron Chef says:

Re: The Economist

I agree with TJM.

In business, I’d like to pass along that WSJ does a great job of “concepts” and “why” things happened. I recently renewed my print and electronic subscriptions.

Also, Harvard Business Review does an okay job, but as of late they’ve become a bit soft, like Strategy+business. This comes apparent when doing a side-by-side comparison to content written 4 years ago.

I think this may be because they are often the first to break a story, and are able to get more candid interviews, whereas later-published articles seem to be re-interpretations of the same story..? I dunno, but I am also not a journalist.

Michael (user link) says:

People don't read the news

My experience with a fairly large news website suggests that people don’t read the news. Of the tens of thousands of readers that see our list of headlines every day, less than 20% actually click through and read the stories. Now, many of the headlines we run are informative enough — “5 Die in Iraq Explosion” — but that is exactly what the guy quoted says people don’t want. It appears that the vast majority of people just want to know what happened.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: People don't read the news

Sometimes I just skim headlines – especially on major news sites – because I’ve read enough stories to know just from the headlines what the first 3 or 4 paragraphs are going to say. If it says “5 Die in Iraq Explosion” there’s going to be 1 paragraph with mundane facts that say much more than the headline. Paragraph 2 will be background about the war I already know. Paragraph 3 will be about how General Petreus says the surge is working. Paragraph four will be a quote from a critic or Democratic presidential candidate.

We read past your headlines because we already know what they’re going to say.

Instead more people are getting their news from Drudge, Digg, Fark, or other aggregators because those sites filter out the cookie cutter stories and focus on news that has a little more meat. Otherwise, the headlines are usually enough and the meaty stories get lost among the cookie cutter stories.

Wolferz (profile) says:

Too much boring news, too little interesting news.

…and too many people who are tired of wasting their time reading stuff they thought might be useful.

I spend a lot of time on sites like Digg, Slashdot, and Techdirt. Perhaps I’ve been focusing on the wrong topic but I find I have more interest in seeing what people have to say about something than the something itself. That is to say… I find peoples highly opinionated/agendized takes on what happened more interesting than what happened.

As some one noted above most of the stories are cookie cutter. After you have read enough of them even the stories about man eating rabbits and murderous office chairs start to become repetitive. However, occasionally I read something that IS useful. Like an update on the ongoing war with the RIAA and MPAA that does more than declare “F*CK THE RIAA.” Stories that actually point out some of the ways the RIAA are losing or gaining ground. Or how about a story on how Hillery wants the government to take further control of how parents raise their children (which lost her my vote long before Obama even announced running).

Perhaps the solution isn’t adding more superfluous information. Maybe the solution is taking all the superfluous information away. Maybe the problem itself is as simple as supply and demand. Too high a supply of stories (both low and high quality) with too little demand has resulted in a lessening of the value of all stories, interesting or not. The news market is flooded with low quality stories and only a few useful stories can be found. I do believe this scenario, coupled with other factors not present in the “News Industry,” was the primary cause of the Video Game Industry Crash of 1983. Perhaps the solution is to cut back on supply, so that demand can catch up with it. They should focus only on bringing news forward that is actually interesting and HASN’T already been reported by another news source or that at the VERY least hasn’t been reported from that angle (assuming the new angle is, in and of itself, worthy of a story).

I’m no economist (and I don’t play one on tv) but the high prevalence of low quality stories is why I don’t even bother with news sites. Nine times in ten the stories seem obvious or just bore me. Then again, Perhaps I’m just so jaded that nothing interests me any more.

/2 cent

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike's obvious description of the obvious

Really Mike? This had to be pointed out?

I’m not sure which is sadder, that newspapers need to be told to provide richer content, or that you feel pointing out the idea that someone else pointed out the idea was worthy of TechDirt.

C’mon man, you’ve done your best to make sure I don’t expect quality from you, but this sets new lows.

- dOnt wOrry // .. says:

wOw ...

— what the hell i thought this was an unblocking site .
are yu fucking serious kidd dont be saying this shit is and unblocking site wen its not what the flying fuck ? god so retarted im in school fucking bored and i cant do ishhh cause this fucking thing do you know how many sites i tryed and then this one comes to work and it dont unblock anysites are you kidding me wow retarted .. anyways you people suck!!

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