Meg Dedyne

What are we really selling?

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From Flickr Creative Commons.

By Meg Dedyne

My first praise of the Nieman Reports article is for the pull quote saying that successful companies will realize the jobs people do everyday and create products that can do those jobs or at least make them easier. If companies do this, then people will start to pull their product into their daily lives.

This quote made me think of the worthiness of news and news disruptors. The first thing I thought of regarding news worthinesses, is that it can often be seen as a type of product, which news disruptors have recognized. However, first and foremost, a journalist’s job is to remain a credible source. Outlets such as The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed have created this new “product” out of the news, as this article has pointed out. I have to wonder, as the need for news as a product is swirling out there, can we still remain credible?

The Pew Research Center discussed the digital rise and the different ways consumers are getting their news. As media distributors, this makes us eager to have people click on our website, read our story or watch our podcast. The Nieman Reports article brings up that these news aggregators are now transforming into original content creators, with some, such as The Huffington Post, winning a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting. So with the digital rise, more original content out there and the hungry reporter begging for a click, how do we separate the good “product” from the bad? If websites such as these are now gaining value, how do we tell what is fake news on social media and what is factual? I think these are glitches in the product that we will still be working out for a long time.

The Pew Research Center report also discussed how there was a dramatic increase in social media use to gain information surrounding the 2016 presidential election, compared to the 2012 presidential election. Fake news was definitely an issue on Facebook especially during the election this past year. As we have discussed in class, if Facebook wants to be seen as a distributor of credible news content, what will they do sift out the good from the bad?

Important points that the Nieman Reports article brings up is that we must consider the audience first, we must ask the right questions and products will always change. News and how it is distributed is constantly changing. As media innovators, we must stay true to our audience and ask the right questions, in order to keep the product relevant.

How to Get Startup Ideas by Paul Graham defines that we have to be concise, relevant and critical when forming product ideas. My takeaway from this article was that a good startup idea is usually formatted into a small number of people that want a large amount of something. A perfect example is when Facebook started. It was just offered for those who attended Harvard. But consumers wanted a lot of it. Products shouldn’t be something people might use sometimes, it should be something they crave and need now.

I agree with Graham that entrepreneurship is something you learn better by doing, rather than reading about it or otherwise. I found it really interesting that he said one way to be unusual is to be young. Facebook couldn’t have been started by a non college student – duh! But I haven’t thought of it that way before. It just makes me think, what other ideas would my friends and I like in our lives that aren’t there currently?

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