Among the phrases used in recent years in such efforts as the NewspaperNext report to try to get journalists to rethink the business in light of the changes in culture, work/leisure habits and technology was “jobs to be done,” as in ask yourself what is it that people really need help with in their daily life that news organizations are equipped to handle. One of the answers is providing them with something to talk about. Broadly speaking, that’s what good journalism does. In recent years, as social networking has taken off, it has become clear that conversation is one of the things people value most about the news. They share links constantly. An article by Megan Garber at the Nieman Journalism Lab site looks at whether this conversation — more specifically, the communities that can form around the conversation — is where news organizations should be looking for the future business model:
“News outlets are certainly getting into the community game — through social media, of course, but also through IRL events like the NYT’s TimesTalks, the Journal’s Weekend Conversations, the Texas Tribune Festival, the Register-Citizen’s newsroom cafe, and on and on — but often those happenings are presented as subsidiary products, as events that are separate from the news itself. They’re just another revenue stream — just another product sold, just another milkshake.
“But: What if they were more than that? What if news outlets were to consider themselves as doing a job rather than selling a product? And what would happen to organizations’ business models if we started to think of ‘the news,’ at its core, not as a product, but as an event?”