(This post first appeared at Nieman Journalism Lab)
The traditional goal of news is to say what just happened. That’s sort of what “news” means. But there areÂ manyÂ more types of nonfiction informationÂ services, and manyÂ possibilities that few have yet explored.
I want to take two steps back from journalism, to seeÂ where it fits in the broader information landscape and try to imagine new things. First is theÂ shift from content to product. A news source is more than the stories it produces; it’s also the processÂ of deciding what to cover, the delivery system, and the user experience. Second,Â we need to includeÂ algorithms.Â Every time programmers write code to handle information, they are making editorial choices.
Imagine all the wildly differentÂ services you couldÂ deliver with a building full of writers and developers. It’s aÂ category I’veÂ started calling editorial products.
In this frame, journalism isÂ justÂ one part of aÂ broader information ecosystemÂ that includes everything fromÂ wire services to Wikipedia to search engines. All of these products serve needs for factual information, and they allÂ use some combination of professionals, participants,Â and softwareÂ to produce and deliver it to users â€” the reporterÂ plusÂ the crowd and the algorithm. Here are sixÂ editorial products that journalists and others already produce, and six moreÂ that they could. Continue reading The Editorial Product