Redefining Journalism III — It’s an App

And here’s yet another way to redefine journalism. Maya Baratz, Product Manager at MTV wrote an article (I have no idea where it showed up first – I got it from the Huffington Post, and for all I know, that’s where it started) that makes a really good point about how newspapers define themselves.  I have mentioned before that rather than thinking of themselves as distribution engines, as they have for years, newspapers should think of themselves as content engines.  Now, says Baratz, they should really think of themselves as apps. Here’s the good point that she makes:

 I think of the state of being an app – the condition of not only allowing, but thriving off of, having your content live elsewhere – and, on the flip side, that of being the platform, or the ‘giant’, if you will, that fuels that growth through attracting an audience. The growth and profitability of social games, for instance, is built upon having such games exist where the users already are (e.g., Facebook), rather than trying to draw in a crowd to a new destination. But more than a mere means of finding games to play with someone, the app environment represents a revised means of consuming content. In a way, it’s a Darwinistic solution to a problem that’s bred out of too much noise. With the platform/app structure, consumers visit one place to get content from numerous sources…..

 In terms of finding a solution, thus far news orgs have fallen back on ideas like the pay wall a means to get users to pay to view content. While this model does relate revenue directly to content (vs. site ads, per se), this is likely a sort of band-aid – because it fundamentally relies on withholding content vs. freeing it to reach consumers wherever they are.

Revised revenue streams, the creation of which is by no means a small feat, will likely encourage content to be spread; perhaps the paywall will evolve to do this, but there will probably be more revenue products and models to accompany it.

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