Reconsidering quality

We’re starting to see this sentiment in more and more think pieces, Defining quality in news has to value the user experience:

You could frame the big challenge for the next few years of digital news this way: How can we create a news user experience that’s as easy and friction-free as Facebook — but as good as the best a dedicated news power user could assemble?


“Quality” isn’t just about how many foreign bureaus you have or how long your big features can run. It’s about every step of the process that moves from a reporter’s idea to a reader’s eyes. Too many news outlets make too many of those steps frustrating — and frustrated readers are all too happy to go back to playing Candy Crush.

That conversation is a good and needed one. It signals a maturation of the medium. And what the author, Joshua Benton, is saying ultimately leads to an effort to create a variety of interfaces for a spectrum of users. Not every story must be print, or video, no. And not every example in this enterprise need to be the TV attempt at multimedia: the broadcast package over the text of the story. There comes a time where we ask consumers to choose what they want, and we shunt them into not only the stories they want and the format they want (and the advertising they’re looking for) but also give them control of those capsules. We build it, they select how they want these stories and where. We get it there. They move back and forth through the media.

They’re doing that already, just not under one shingle. As we try to make that happen, it might be important to keep the ideas of tone and brand as uniform as possible, given the medium or the platform.


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