BusinessWeek Editor: The Truths of Our Business

BusinessWeek Executive Editor John Byrne (follow him on Twitter here) writes this week for the Neiman Foundation’s Watchdog Web site. In his essay, he talks about the challenges new media present and how his news organization is working to confront them. He also notes that as bad as the current environment is for newspapers, it might be even worse for magazines.

Byrne also lays out the new principles that are guiding the business of online news. It’s a must-read for anyone in the business:

•   Context is as important today as content. It may, in fact, be the new king on the throne. That’s because the world is evolving into niche communities, organized around individual interests and passions. Keeping your audience deeply engaged in the journalism you do is necessary to induce loyalty to your brand.

•   We live in a world in which there are far too many stories chasing far too few eyeballs. What readers need in this environment is often help in organizing, sorting and sifting through all the articles.

•   Consumers prefer multiple sources of news and consult 16 to 18 media brands a week. That’s according to a McKinsey & Company study.

•   Creating more journalism isn’t necessarily the way you win online. It’s costly, and the gains in audience from putting up more stories are by and large incremental.

•   The smart and elegant organization of content through links and editorial curation has as much, if not more, value than simply publishing more of your own articles on the Web.

I’m not entirely sure I agree with the part about how “creating more journalism isn’t necessarily the way you win online,” but I think I know what he’s talking about.

Creating journalism is certainly important, but there are other iniatives that must be in place to support it, and I don’t just mean advertising. For example, sites have to be built properly, and content must be syndicated and optimized for search engines in just the right way, among others.

What do you think? Is Byrne on the right track?

Byrne’s complete essay is here.


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