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Journalism as a Product
Alex Watson
@sifter
What is the Product*?
*And why does he keep capitalising “Product”?
Because Lemonade
🍋
– James Harding, Head of BBC News
“Dissecting journalism can be like analysing a joke.
It takes the fun out of it and miss...
– Marshall McLuhan
“The medium is the message”
$100k test
You’re running a big news site, and commercial need +20% more page
views. Budget is $100k. What do you do?
• Hi...
Every choice matters
Real world
slow information / instant interfaces
Digital world
instant information / slow interfaces
What game are we playing…
& how do we keep score?
– Jeff Jarvis, journalism professor, blogger and writer
“We should measure our success not on old mass media
metrics of tho...
Some advice.
Interfaces &
Networks.
Interfaces
• Where can you still have that direct
connection with a reader?
• Why would someone choose direct, as
opposed ...
Networks
• Put your journalism onto platforms,
and get a scale audience
• Hard to make it work commercially
in isolation… ...
“Art challenges technology,
technology inspires art.”
Ed Catmull, Pixar co-founder
“Technology challenges journalism,
journalism inspires technology.”
Thanks.
@sifter
Further Reading
• Jay Rosen on “product” as a term at news orgs: https://storify.com/
jayrosen_nyu/newsies-techies-and-tha...
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
Journalism as a Product
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Journalism as a Product

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A talk given at Ryerson Journalism Research Centre's Transformations colloquium (http://transformations.journalism.ryerson.ca/) in Toronto on April 28th. It focuses on Journalism as a Product, and how newsrooms and product managers can work better together.

Published in: News & Politics
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Journalism as a Product

  1. 1. Journalism as a Product Alex Watson @sifter
  2. 2. What is the Product*? *And why does he keep capitalising “Product”?
  3. 3. Because Lemonade 🍋
  4. 4. – James Harding, Head of BBC News “Dissecting journalism can be like analysing a joke. It takes the fun out of it and misses the point: whatever change is to come, our job remains to find out what’s really going on and report it.”
  5. 5. – Marshall McLuhan “The medium is the message”
  6. 6. $100k test You’re running a big news site, and commercial need +20% more page views. Budget is $100k. What do you do? • Hire a big name columnist • Investigative journalism series • Snowfallssss! • Get the UX team to do infinite scroll like Quartz etc
  7. 7. Every choice matters
  8. 8. Real world slow information / instant interfaces Digital world instant information / slow interfaces
  9. 9. What game are we playing… & how do we keep score?
  10. 10. – Jeff Jarvis, journalism professor, blogger and writer “We should measure our success not on old mass media metrics of thousands of eyeballs that watched our message, but instead on the answer to the question, did our journalism help you meet your goals, improve your life and improve your community?”
  11. 11. Some advice.
  12. 12. Interfaces & Networks.
  13. 13. Interfaces • Where can you still have that direct connection with a reader? • Why would someone choose direct, as opposed to reading on a platform? • (eg Subscription / high quality data / features / interface / archive / community etc) • This will not be your scale audience, so your business model needs to be about high value transactions… ironically, the front page is now for the core audience (exact opposite of what it was in print)
  14. 14. Networks • Put your journalism onto platforms, and get a scale audience • Hard to make it work commercially in isolation… so embrace it for what it is: a way to get people to try you out • Accept that you need to be fast, popular, fluid, adaptive to get people into your brand
  15. 15. “Art challenges technology, technology inspires art.” Ed Catmull, Pixar co-founder
  16. 16. “Technology challenges journalism, journalism inspires technology.”
  17. 17. Thanks. @sifter
  18. 18. Further Reading • Jay Rosen on “product” as a term at news orgs: https://storify.com/ jayrosen_nyu/newsies-techies-and-that-troublesome-term-product • Paul Ford on Product Managers: https://medium.com/message/its- kind-of-cheesy-being-green-2c72cc9e5eda#.qu58mi1bc • BBC Future of News report: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30999914 • Facebook and the News ecosystem: http://www.cjr.org/analysis/ facebook_and_media.php

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