Monday, March 28, 2011

Welcome To The (Working) Week

Like a sommelier that also develops a gourmand’s palate, a PR maven often becomes a connoisseur of news media. Yes, it’s our stock-in-trade, but the time we spend consuming and digesting news often goes far beyond the bare minimum necessary to achieve our clients’ visibility objectives (well, at least at ThinkInk it does ).

That shameless little bit of self promotion is a long way around to saying that I love the news, and that I’ve been watching the evolution of the media business a fair bit more closely than the average observer. So, when I come across an article in the New York Times about the success of The Week, the news magazine that’s been in circulation since 2001, I feel compelled to comment on it.

The Week isn’t my favorite newsweekly (I’ve recently rekindled my love for Businessweek now it’s Bloomberg Businessweek), but I understand its appeal. The NYT describes it accurately: it’s “magazine journalism at its most functional and stripped down,” which doesn’t necessarily ring my bells, but seems perfectly tailored to a world that embraces the term ‘news feed’ to describe a chronological string of status updates and turns to Twitter to glean the wisdom of crowds.

If my dad’s era saw the great newsweeklies (TIME, Newsweek, etc.) as their source for analysis following a week’s worth of fact-first newspaper articles, then this generation is turning to The Week for fleshed-out versions of a week’s worth of electronic factoids. And they are: The Week has a circulation of 520,000, and is slated to earn $6.3 million this year.

What does this mean for us, the PR practitioners? That the story matters more than ever, even if the spin and nuance don’t necessarily make the 100-word cut.

It means that we have to work harder to find the right story – the relevant story – about our clients to meet their expectations. And it means that we have to keep finding those stories, day after day, week after week.

Because as The Week has demonstrated, media consumers just don’t have the time for anything else.

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