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7

The year we kill the news article

“A one-size-fits-all approach fits no one in the end. It places a heavy burden on the reader/viewer/listener/user to do the work of sifting through the story and mapping it to other relevant content and information.”

This year, we retire the news article as the default unit of journalism. It had a good run, but it’s a relic of distribution, audience, and revenue models that no longer function the way they used to.

A one-size-fits-all approach fits no one in the end. It places a heavy burden on the reader/viewer/listener/user to do the work of sifting through the story and mapping it to other relevant content and information. It asks our audience to identify the new information and skim over the old. To formulate the right questions to find the context they need to understand a new development, or to get up to speed on an ongoing issue. To rely on social headlines and teaser text to accurately assess whether a piece is worth their time.

This year, we’ll continue to see forward-thinking outlets discard the news article in favor of more dynamic formats that place the individual at the center of the story and news product. We’ll better understand a person’s shifting needs throughout the day and mold our stories and story selection to those moments. We’ll improve our reputation by improving our approach. Audiences will learn to trust us more because we will transparently strive to serve them better, and we will listen when they speak.

Successful news organizations will adopt a more nimble product approach — building a culture and habit of quick experimentation and establishing that expectation with readership, opening channels for conversations about those experiments and how they might improve. Our readers will feel like they’re a part of the process, not a part of the product.

Emily Withrow is director of R&D at Quartz.

This year, we retire the news article as the default unit of journalism. It had a good run, but it’s a relic of distribution, audience, and revenue models that no longer function the way they used to.

A one-size-fits-all approach fits no one in the end. It places a heavy burden on the reader/viewer/listener/user to do the work of sifting through the story and mapping it to other relevant content and information. It asks our audience to identify the new information and skim over the old. To formulate the right questions to find the context they need to understand a new development, or to get up to speed on an ongoing issue. To rely on social headlines and teaser text to accurately assess whether a piece is worth their time.

This year, we’ll continue to see forward-thinking outlets discard the news article in favor of more dynamic formats that place the individual at the center of the story and news product. We’ll better understand a person’s shifting needs throughout the day and mold our stories and story selection to those moments. We’ll improve our reputation by improving our approach. Audiences will learn to trust us more because we will transparently strive to serve them better, and we will listen when they speak.

Successful news organizations will adopt a more nimble product approach — building a culture and habit of quick experimentation and establishing that expectation with readership, opening channels for conversations about those experiments and how they might improve. Our readers will feel like they’re a part of the process, not a part of the product.

Emily Withrow is director of R&D at Quartz.

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