A whole storm of responses came up to my pointing out this article about AOL’s new content strategy and how AOL is hiring up tons of displaced journalists.
The storyline of what most people are saying is, “Yikes. It’s pop culture over hard journalism. Society will collapse. Etc.”
First, let’s be clear: the pursuits of journalism and the pursuits of publishing aren’t the same.
Journalists seek to create compelling information that is helpful and news-worthy.
Publishing seeks to push more product, deliver higher circulation value, and create more value for sponsors/advertisers/money-holders.
Publishers need content creators of some stripe to do what they do. Journalists don’t need publishers, but publishers pay, so that’s a decent place to connect with an audience and be paid.
But never confuse the two.
The move by AOL is both smart for business and helpful for journalists who’ve lost their jobs.
Does this spell the end of news as we know it? Um, no. But news has been broken for a while now. That’s a good chunk of what Jeff Jarvis writes about when he’s not writing about Google. (Oh wait: Google is a publisher/media company, too!)
See how tricky this is? But don’t let your “shame, because we want purist journalism” to get confused in there with the “publishers give people what they want, and what they want is pop content” argument.
It’s harder than that to unravel.
And you said…