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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

Good piece on Medium from Reuters’ Paul Smalera arguing that the job of editing needs to be integrated with the systems that deliver that content to audiences.

An editor or writer who gets to file her copy into the system and forget about is an editor who is being alienated, in the most Marxist possible way, from the fruits of their labor. That journalist has lost contact with his or her consumer. Editors need to help craft the way their content gets presented to their readers. They themselves don’t have to be designers, coders or even, strictly speaking, ticket-moving product managers. They do need to have a seat at the same table as those other people, and explain the way their content will be most valuable, come to consensus, and then work with those other colleagues to help spec out, design, build and release the code that can bring that value to the reader.

— Joshua Benton
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  • Ryan Sholin

    Ungh, I like Paul’s frame of “editors should also be able to do some product management” much better than the equals sign in your headline.

    Editors should be able to use analytics and feedback to improve content, and they should be able to express on behalf of a team of journalists what they need from products like mobile platforms and content management systems. Sure. But there’s a lot to be said for having a full-time product manager around.

    No, I’m not just saying this because that’s in my job description.

  • Joshua Benton

    Fair enough. Similar in some ways to “Reporter = editor” — meaning that someone who used to just have to worry about assembling the facts and words now should have to worry about tasks previously left to editors. Maybe “Content editor ≈ product manager.”