21st Century Journalism XXVI: The AP's Tom Curley Weighs InAt last November's Knight-Bagehot Dinner, Tom Curley, President and CEO of the Associated Press, offered a bracing view of the healthy possibilities that lie ahead for journalism as a profession and a business if content providers play their cards right.
Playing their cards wrong would involve persisting with traditional ways of delivering and packaging the news. Another wrong move would be continuing to allow portals to use news organizations' content to attract traffic without paying for the content in proportion to its value.
Playing their cards right means responding to news consumers' trend toward deciding for themselves when to check for news and what to read about. As Curley puts it, the "focus must be on becoming the very best at filling people's 24-hour news needs. That's a huge shift from the we-know-best, gatekeeper thinking."
Playing their cards right also means adding "real value whether through perspective, deeper reporting or great writing." And it means consistently adopting "the best way to tell the story whether words, pictures or both and without regard to format."
Three-quarters of the way into his remarks, Curley gets to the proposition that I myself believe is crucial: Quality will rule. As Curley puts it:
With traffic to destination websites flattening and new distribution making all content accessible, we're entering a new era of brutal competition. The best will stand out because they will be sought out.Those with an appetite for news will vote with their mouse clicks.