New Journalism: Staff writers must become day traders of content

My brother was in town this weekend for a bit of shenanigans.  He came by this morning while I was doing some work and saw my media monitoring dashboard.  I scour the web; listen for news, sentiment and such via Tweetdeck and Google Reader. He’s a systems engineer and designer for transit, first in New York and now in Seattle.  He’s not a web guy so it’s always interesting to get his view on my web-based work.  After I talked him through all my listening posts, Facebook accounts and reader he came up with a great analogy.  “Writing the news is just like being a financial analyst” he said and that got us on a whole new tract and the idea for this post.

News gathering and content creation has become a whole lot like being a financial analyst. Content creators need to track keywords, know a stories potential value and make snap decisions to buy or sell on a story based on the data available.  With the proliferation of consumer demand data media companies inform writers what the stories of the day will be. Very much like day traders watching overnight market activity to know what will happen in the market on the opening bell.  There is always going to room for good writing, but the bulk of the profitable writing is going too based of analysis of what readers want and not the old model of guessing!

What we are seeing is that data is becoming the driver of all content creation.  A good writer will get good traffic!  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a large media company go to a per traffic pay model with writers. (Their are smaller companies doing this)  Lots and lots of professions have commission built into the pay scale – why not content creators/writers?

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By Laurent Courtines

I'm here and I am ready to go. Been doing my homework and I have things to say.

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