Archive for the ‘blogging’ Tag

Why the New York Times Should Stop Selling the News…

I’m sorry to everyone for being away from a while… I am writing some new research on product launches and studying for my graduate school exams, so I haven’t had the time to keep this up-to-date.

However, I am still posting sporadically on my Quoting Tumblog and updating my favorite news stories in this blog’s sidebar.

That said, the New York Times continuing poor financial performance has led many to discuss new business strategies for the firm. Since I am a loyal Times reader and do not want to see it disappear, I want to add my two cents from a product perspective…

The New York Times should (slowly) refocus it’s business away from providing the news. Why? Because the NYT’s competitive advantage lies in its opinion editorials.

Two elements make a good news story…

  1. What you cover, and
  2. How you cover it.

The “what” includes the key facts of the story, while the “how” involves the discussion and insight the author adds. Both elements are important to any news story, but they are not mutually-exclusive.

The “what you cover” is easy, and everyone with access to a computer (or even a mobile phone) and a blog account can cover the news. Therefore, the leaders in the news are the people who can get it to you the fastest. With all of the bureaucracy and editorial barriers baked into a newspaper, the Times will never be the first out of the gate. Their publishing cadence could never be as quick as the 24-7 news stations, bloggers, and services like Twitter and Outside.In.

The newspaper is not the best way to get late-breaking news stories. A few months back, there were rumors around my office that a fire has closed DC’s metro lines, and some people were trapped in between stations. To see what was happening, I search “red line fire” on Summize (now Twitter Search) to see if anyone was tweeting about it. Sure enough, some people were talking about the fire and linking to a few relevant sources.

By the time I knew what had caused the fire, it was 9am that morning. A newspaper couldn’t have published this story until the next day, or at the earliest on the web, a hour or two after the incident. Because I tracked the events in real-time, I wouldn’t want to hear the facts while reading the next day’s headlines.

If the NYT is going to be a day late in recapping a story, they must give you a little bit more than just the facts. This is why we still read the NYT today… not for the headlines, but for Thomas Freedman, Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, and many others.

Very few news sources provide the consistent level of insight as the New York Times, and this paper’s voice is important to educating and informing the public. From a financial perspective, I agree with Silicon Alley Insider’s analysis, but from a content perspective, the paper should focus its limited resources on giving readers the opinion editorials we all love.

Participation…

On Sunday, I had coffee with a friend of mine, productivity enthusiast Jared Goralnick. Jared has been pretty busy recently promoting his new product, AwayFind, so I was pleased he had some time to chat.

I like meeting up with Jared because he is quite motivating, and I learn a lot from him. I consider myself knowledgeable about business, but I’m very much a newbee to the tech world. It’s great when I get time to pick Jared’s brain, since I love to learn (as a researcher, I must!).

Because I lack much of the experience you find in the rest of the tech community, I often stand on the sideline… I don’t attend all the events I could, I don’t comment as much as I should, and I have stayed somewhat anonymous as a blogger.

Jared encouraged me to put myself out into the community, and he’s right. The only way I’m going to learn and become successful in tech (or the world at large, for that matter) is to contribute. By blogging more, improving my technical skills, attending events, and participating in the discussions, I will build upon the skills I lack… and display my unique talents and perspective.

On Jared’s advice, I registered my own domain… WarWrites.com. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to migrate my blog to this new domain, set up Feedburner and Google Analytics accounts, and make other improvements. I want to make this blog a place others come that displays my unique love of finding creativity in the often mundane world of business.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m excited. Thanks for the push, Jared.