The Smartest Thing in Journalism, Today

by Ian Tingen

A brief note on something cool I saw this morning. Check out my screenshot of today’s New York Times article about how biology plays a big role in weight loss. Notice anything uncommon about it?

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.55.51 AM
Well done NYT.
There’s a problematic bias most prevalent in the old-school: newsrooms, production houses, studios of many types. You’ve heard it before: “Content is king.”

No longer. In an age of new media, content is more a duke, serving a much stronger liege.

Too often, modern creators promote around content instead of facilitating a community around their content. It’s not a good idea. Brass tacks: what you say is not as important as how easy it is for others to talk about what you say. People don’t need to pay attention to you; they might not even need to see your work on your preferred platform. It’s frustrating for the Old Ways of Doing Things; the ridiculous amount of modern consumer choice has shattered the illusion that content matters above all.

New media calls for new royalty: community and curation. The NYT honors both in the presentation above. Community is facilitated by placing the comment box aside the article, not at the bottom. This is a place of respect for the readers, instead of marking them afterthoughts. Curation makes a brief appearance, too: check out that “NYT Picks” tab. So smart.

The NYT gets it: This comment design is a step in the right direction. It shows a much better (read: interactive and profitable) balance between content and community. This sort of design savvy is why @Twitch was acquired at nearly $1Bn.

Cool, right?

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