A caveat

Since I’ve written the first piece in my What Do Our Customers Think series, I feel it’s time to make something clear. The premise on which the series is based, as you’ll recall, is that news is a business. I wrote that “…if news IS a business, then it naturally follows that news content is, to some degree, a product. Thus, we should know what our consumers think.” 


News isn’t really a product the same way Coke or Pepsi is. What’s more, the treatment of news content as such has led to some of the problems that the media now finds itself in. Like literature or art, news or, more aptly, journalism is something that is “other.” Don’t you think?


  1. Stephen L. Harlow June 22, 2010

    I do think journalism is other than a product. In a commerical, advertising-supportive publication business, it is the delIvery of an audiance to the sponsors’ messages that is the product. The journalism is a service that is the means to gather the audience. When providing the service, all efforts must be focused on what the audience desires and what the service requires. The gathering of advertisers, the optimizing, placement and the measuring the effect of their messages is the business, the product.

  2. Anna Tarkov June 22, 2010

    Delivery of an audience to the sponsor’s message is the product? Yes, to a degree, that’s true. But giving the audience information that is useful and can improve their personal or civic lives is much more important (in my view) than delivering their eyeballs to advertisers. Ideally, both should be able to to happen without interfering with one another.

  3. Stephen L. Harlow June 22, 2010

    Oh, I thought that’s what I was saying.  The important part is the service. Without the journalism, the art, the provision of needed and desired information, there would be no ability to have a business or to think about product. First is the gathering of an audience and that is done by focusing on serving a public,  publishing valuable content.Only after that can you start building a product, which in my view, is placing paid advertisments before that audience. To me, that’s how they seperate. The Art is Service. The platform for delivering eyeballs to advertisers is product. Two different mindsets. I am trying to say that “product” is not a useful way to think when creating content. “Service” focuses the efforts correctly. 

  4. Anna Tarkov June 22, 2010

    A great point. I like the idea of thinking of news content as a “service” over a “product.” Well said.

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