For your weekend reading, we have a couple of pieces diving deeply into storytelling as if stories were products. One comes from the business side and makes that case for using data to inform storytelling. It’s product thinking because it approaches the process from the point of view of creating hypotheses to test, and then coming up with ways to run the tests.
The next story is an interesting critique of a New York Times long-form piece. I think it’s really good to do deep dives on major projects like this. With data you should be able to see time on page and scroll depth. It’s important when investing so much time into projects like this to test your assumptions. As much as we like the aesthetics of projects like this, it’s really important to make sure that they resonate with audiences as much as they do with journalists and their peers. As a product manager recently said to me, if we’re creating a project to win awards, we’re creating it for an audience of 12.
Close to me here in the US, a local news co-op called the Devil Strip is facing a very uncertain future. It was one of those outlets that had been held up as the future of news. As co-owners, funders were supposed to have a say, but with almost no notice, the Strip announced that it was shutting down and laying off all nine of its staff. Read on. I worry that even if they find some stopgap funding to stay afloat that they have destroyed their credibility with their co-owners and the community.