Do we really know what readers want?
- /…/Without listing every single study undertaken and tallying all the money spent, I think I can safely assert that over the past two decades, the news industry has spent millions of dollars accumulating data about readers and what they supposedly want. And our industry has responded by altering its products and newsrooms to produce the things that they thought the data told them that readers really wanted. Today, metro newspapers write shorter stories, with faster ledes, and publish more pictures about fluffier stuff. Our leaders have steadily used this data to make decisions that have made newspapers worse every year. Somehow, no one has stopped to consider that no industry has ever solved its problems by making its main product worse. Instead, management points to the data from readers’ survey to insist they’re doing what people say they want. The result is that we’re worse off than ever.
A « design thinking process »
An excellent article, by Chris O’Brien, on why gathering data about readers is not enough to find a new model for news media. The author propose a qualitative approach to product design, based on the observation of readers’ behavior, using the « design thinking » process (where you see the product with the eyes of the user).