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Intangibles and news

There is a rich debate going on about the role played by traditional newspapers in the online information ecosystem (Shirky, Berlin Johnson), in view of the double challenge posed by technology on both content creation (the old mainstream vs blogs dispute) and distribution (obsolescence of paper). My guess is that it might be necessary to go beyond the old revenue model, where the purchasing price is progressively irrelevant when compared to the income derived from advertisement.

As a matter of fact, attention plays a major role in creating the interest for advertisers to pay for exposition, strongly moving towards a strong influence of intangible variables in the value-creation equation. But what if we bring other intangibles in the equation? After all, it is commonly accepted that the Gross Domestic Product is not an exhaustive and effective description of actual wealth for the nations…

Reputation is surely a strong candidate for the balance in journalism, especially if we think of it in both terms of a part of the networked identity (from the readers' point of view) and a defining point in the vague concept of quality – one that is too often traded with the practice of maximizing attention-capturing content. Any other ideas?