The business of the business

Former Time correspondent and Worldcrunch founder Jeff Israely is discussing content quality and content quantity. In the economics of news he says the dynamic of working with different journalistic ideals creates value.

Last spring, in a different context, Canadian entrepreneur Ashkan Karbasfrooshan summed up the pursuit of digital value in a way that just kind of stuck in my head: Ultimately, the company that can create the best content at the lowest cost possible will create most value over time.

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Karbasfrooshan’s dictum above reminds us that quality exists along a continuum, often (but not always) linked to the cost of achieving it. Quantity, of course, come with its price as well. The imperative is to find new, economical ways to increase both.

A news business, however, is all about making choices, both about which story to do in what way, and which new product to launch in what market — and of course, ever more these days, what must be left undone and unlaunched for lack of time or money.

Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal recently spent some time on the job with Kevin Reynolds, who runs Bloomberg’s “Speed Desk,” which serves up the latest news flashes from around the world, often whooping the competition. Weisenthal noted the resources that go into churning out such a “mind-blowing” news product — identifying two factors that always play up against cost: speed and accuracy.

That’s a wire model (Weisenthal is himself a one-man news wire), a good starting point to think about the economics of how news is produced and distributed. But to take into account other forms of journalism, I would expand the list to five: speed, accuracy, range, depth, and … grace.

If you’ve read this far read the whole thing.

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