Having said in the past that while I was not entirely comfortable with using “brand” as the modern term of discussion for a journalist’s reputation but accepted it as the term already in wide use, I find myself now saying I’m not ready to make a similar leap to describe the online interactions between journalists and their audience as “transactions,” as Lewis DVorkin does at Forbes. He explains:
“Now, journalism is not commerce and it’s not advertising. But the Web’s impact on the news media is not dissimilar. No longer is the journalist addressing the abstract notion of ‘the reader.’ On the Web, the author connects one at a time with individual readers, right down to the IP address. That means journalists now must engage, or ‘transact,’ accordingly.”
Although I can acknowledge it’s just a degree of a semantic difference, and we may both be looking for the same end result, “transaction” doesn’t feel quite human enough to me.