Processed information

This much linked to article by Philip Meyer for the American Journalism Review is well worth a read. He focuses on newspapers, but the implications certainly apply to magazines and other media.

The cliché that publishers always liked to peddle about magazines is that they should be the reader’s best friend. This was often misconstrued as meaning the tone should be fawning and desperate to be liked. In fact, ‘best friends’ are the people who will happily give you their honest intepretation of the facts regardless of whether or not it’s what you want to hear, and then equally happily have a blazing row with you about it over a bottle of wine with no grudges held.

Also, different friends have different areas of expertise – one will be your trusted source of fashion advice, while another is the one who reads the Economist and can tell you about the economic crash.

Magazines online need to do the same job – be the source of what Meyer calls ‘processed information’, on a subject in which the magazine excels.

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