An article on the article

In the Guardian, I pull together thoughts on reconsidering the article, the reaction to those thoughts, and the impact on a digital-first strategy. Excerpt:

The article is no longer the atomic unit of news. It’s not dead. I didn’t kill it. But in the age of online – of “digital first,” as the Guardian defined its strategy this month – we should reconsider the article and its place. No longer do the means of production and distribution of media necessitate boxing the world into neat, squared-off spaces published once a day and well after the fact. Freed of print’s strictures, we are finding many new and sometimes better ways to gather and share information. . . .

In print-as-luxury, the article should be elevated to Economist standards, combining reporting with cogent analysis, unique perspective and brilliant commentary. Should such a newspaper be published daily? Can it meet that standard that often? Perhaps not.

Imagine if a British newspaper with tens of millions of online readers became a digital-only brand freed of the leash of the distance its trucks can drive, able to become a truly international voice. Imagine then if the once-separate Sunday sister title – printed on a more lucrative day of the week than Sunday – became a luxurious journal of reporting and commentary like Die Zeit in Germany (whose print circulation is still growing).

That’s not a recommendation, only an example of where reconsideration of the article could lead. I want to challenge assumptions about the article’s role, not whether it lives or dies. After all, I just wrote one.

  • Al Pittampalli

    We must always question the status quo! And you have me sold on your views on “the article”, Jeff.

  • Eric

    Even the atom is no longer the smallest unit. the Article has been broken and now journalism, like nuclear physics, needs to rethink its basic understanding of itself.

    Will the new smallest component of news be like the atom, electron, Proton or will it be like the Quark or Meson etc.?

    Even if it is like the electron and proton, there are still the barely understood anti-proton and anti-electron.

    Our world view must change or become false.

    To quote Galileo “And yet it still moves.”

  • As a follow-up on my previous comment I point you to the article and debate “Note to media: We are all brands now, so get used to it” which discusses a recent article in the Washington Post in response to ‘a letter from a young journalism student who asked [Gene Weingarten] how he had built his “personal brand.”’

    Proof that your theory of value and positioning are getting out there into mainstream discussions.

  • come on people, fix the problem, x-president clinton SOLD america to the chinese the rest of us just pay for it, tarrif them the way they do us, (fair is fair ), it will fix the dept problem and slow the JUNK they shove down our throats