They don’t want your cheap shit.
“So what will matter in the next age of media? Compelling voices and stories, real and raw talent, new ideas that actually serve or delight an audience, brands that have meaning and ballast; these are things that matter in the next age of media,” Joshua Topolsky, co-founder of The Verge and Vox Media and former head of digital at Bloomberg, wrote recently on Medium. Not exactly a novel idea for an industry that’s been around forever, right? As publishers far and wide try to figure out where in the hell media is going in 2016 and beyond—and, more importantly, how to monetize it—Topolsky reminds us, quite correctly, that media titles need not chase popular trends and fads, a.k.a. “the New Thing,” if they want to survive and thrive over the long term. Media brands, whether they put out a print publication, set up shop in the digital space or operate in both spheres, need to stand for something and focus on producing quality, smart and innovative content that serves an interested audience. Why? “They don’t want your cheap shit,” Topolsky writes. “They want the good shit. And they will go to find it somewhere. Hell, they’ll even pay for it.”
+ Related reading: They don’t want your automated shit, either. One of my favorite bloggers is John Gruber of Daring Fireball and that’s because he provides a unique point of view I respect and admire (not to mention try to emulate in my own way here at the morning shakeout). He recently wrote about Facebook’s trending news team and why the automation of news curation doesn’t faze him—in fact, Gruber views it as a challenge to do a better job providing a unique point of view on the topics he covers (Apple and tech). “I do two things here at DF most days: find interesting things to link to, and comment on them. An algorithm may well beat me at finding interesting links,” Gruber writes. “My job then, is to be a better writer — smarter, funnier, keener, more surprising — than an algorithm could be. When I can’t do that, it’ll be time to hang up the keyboard.”