Monday, 20 October 2008

Will the most important audience please stand up


With print titles and websites, newspapers are now juggling audiences. Add to that paid-for print audience, as well as free print audiences.

So many audiences - so many needs.

But which audience is the most desirable? Which audience does a news company want to attract the most?

Which audience's needs supersedes the others?

It's a question which every editor must now ask themselves every single day. Should a story be released immediately online or held back for the print title? Should the latest expose be used in the free title, or held back for the paid-for?

A daily struggle ... for many.

The way I see it, it comes down to another question: Which audience is the most valued?

My answer is they all are. So why risk breaking a trusted relationship with one audience in favour of satisfying another?

That is what an editor does each and every time they decide to squirrel away a story in the hopes they can capture a few more sales. Our audience isn't naive. They know stories don't break conveniently to suit our deadlines. By hoarding stories, we treat our online audience with contempt and damage our relationship with the very people who will allow us to continue in this business.

An audience is an audience. They need to be listened to. They want news now, not next Thursday. Listen to them, or they'll go elsewhere (there's no poverty of choice) and you won't have to worry about which audience is the most important, because you won't have one.

1 comment:

Lalalaura said...

Completely agree - if you try to hold back news then you're asking to be scooped over and over by one man and his website.

But it amazes me that so many regional news titles do nothing to court a younger audience.

Will these papers have any audience in 20 years time if they don't get down with the kids?