Journalists: What do your readers really think of your work?
Sunday, April 17, 2016 by Dave Winer

Here's a weird future-of-news question. 

Have you ever heard a journalist ask a reader what they liked or didn't like about their work? 

I know what you're thinking. Any journalist who did wouldn't have any integrity. But why would it have any impact on integrity to know how your work is received, or if a user of your product might have a feature request. 

Good developers immerse themselves in the use of their product. And soak up the feedback. Lately I've been insisting that my health care providers do the same, and you know the good ones actually want to know what your experience is. At least they seem to.

I think that might be the business revolution of the 21st century. Something happening so quietly that it's almost invisible. Caring how your work is received. 

I am certain that journalism could benefit from this. 

The other day in a tweet, I made the suggestion I make whenever the NYT is in the process of hiring a new Public Editor. They're on the 6th one now. I say they should hire a user, not a journalist. Someone who sees their product as a reader does. Someone who is a reader! Rather than confining the users to the LTTE column, give at least one of them prime real estate on the website and in print. Equal to any op-ed writer. 

Go back to the beginning of this piece, if you've made it this far, and ask the question again. And if you're a journalist, go talk with some of your users and really listen. That is what your business is, isn't it? Listening?

This is the best advice anyone has ever given you to get your work in sync with the times you're in. The Times has to adjust to The Times.