New York Magazine: The Extraordinary, Inward-Facing Lens

The brutally candid survey, and what it says about us

New York magazine undertook a deep-dive survey into the heart, soul, psyche and habits of American journalists, and emerged with a revealing portrait, the reading consumers.

Not on purpose, by any means,  The research, "The Case Against The Media.  By The Media" is a survey-and-summary driven look of the forces propelling journalism today, and the ways in which the writers' feel accountable. 

The reporting take a thorough look at how journalists are responding to the influx of social media and channel choices in covering the news, how the craving for highly-clickable headlines interferes with broader news coverage, the (almost) inability to provide in-depth coverage within a seconds-to-publish news cycle, and, as you guessed, and how the drive to profitability in a competitive news consumption marketplace has replaced deep news reporting with a "give the customers what they want" mentality.

The lessons to be learned from this survey and self-examination by the fourth estate are eye-opening, much more for consumers of the news, than those of produce it.  Doubly so for those of tasked with a role in the creation of it - the communicators.

While the journalists' interviewed held themselves mercilessly accountable for current media coverage trends, the rest of us need to take heed.

When it comes to creation of a better news and media product, it's upon the consumer to drive healthy content demand, not the journalist to force us to eat our editorial "vegetables."

Ironically, trust in the news-making institution is at an all-time low (only 21% of the public "trust" TV news these days), at the same time the media are giving us more of what we want then ever before:  irresistible content.

Competition, in the form of channel proliferation, the rise of social media as a news-capturing tool, has given consumers greater choice.  And our choice, demonstrated by our clicks and viewership, are snack-worthy headlines centered around scandal, personal and professional misconduct, celebrity doings and more.  We can do better, can't we?

As a consumer, the role I can play in turning this trend around is to simply be more mindful of what news I choose to consume.  The number one step to take?

Think before we click. 

This simple step will go far in re-directing the national flow of news away from the sensational, and back towards substance.

But, wait.  I'm a communicator first, which tasks me with a double-duty:  to create as responsibly as I consume, for myself and my clients.

So, it's  upon us to ensure accuracy in all we portray of our clients to the media, and to work tirelessly to elevate the media conversation towards the larger platform of thought leadership and market impact.

Insightful briefs on the topics driving technology and industry.  Informative articles that explain, not sale.  Working in tandem with our clients, we have the unique ability to drive accurate,  quality conversation in the marketplace of news and media coverage, to the betterment of their business as well as the quality of media content.

The irony is not only is this more fascinating reading for technology, business and consumer alike, it's a greater benefit for the industry, a more compelling look at issues over product features, and a chance to let journalists do what they do best:  report the news and issues of the day. 

Which in turn gives:

  •  Readers a more compelling reason to click and consume;
  • Business leaders a clear call to share their knowledge and insight;
  • Journalists the chance to shine.

A win-win for all involved.

So, I say "kudos" to New York magazine, andto the journalists willing to speak so frankly and with such high accountability. 

Now let's do our part as communicators and consumers to drive demand for the insightful, balanced news coverage those media professionals are chomping at the bit to produce, and that consumers are willing, ready and eager to read.