Mobile navigation


Celebrating humanity

If you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of employing a real live journalist, the make sure your readers know about it.

By James Evelegh

Celebrating humanity

Who creates your content? Humans? If so, start shouting it from the rooftops.

AI is a wonderful thing which is giving publishers the opportunity to streamline their processes, organise their content, develop new product ideas, personalise their marketing and much more.

The downside is that it gives unprofessional publishers and bad actors alike the means to flood the zone with quick and cheap content, which at best is bland and at worst is untruthful and misleading.

The risk to professional publishers is that the whole content ecosystem gets tarnished, that all publishers become distrusted in equal measure.

The challenge for good publishers is to differentiate themselves from the bad.

Part of the answer is to put our most valuable asset – our humans – front and centre of everything we create.

Our readers / viewers / listeners must know immediately who has created the content they are enjoying and, should they want it, have easy access to more information about them.

That doesn’t mean a one line bio.

“Joe Bloggs is our health correspondent,” is next to useless. It’s so sparse that those of a distrusting nature might suspect that Joe doesn’t actually exist, and those that are trusting might wonder why Joe’s writing about health is worth reading.

The New York Times recently announced that they are taking a different approach, by providing ‘enhanced bios’ on their journalists – offering a far greater level of detail than just their job title.

According to them, “Our journalists are what set The New York Times apart… The new format, which we call enhanced bios, is designed to bolster trust with readers by letting them know who we are and how we work… With the increasing prospect of more A.I.-generated content filling the internet, we want to address this head-on by emphasizing the people behind our work.”

Take Vanessa Friedman, their fashion director and chief fashion critic. The traditional approach, still common across much of the news media sector, would be to tell readers not much more than that.

The NYT’s new approach gives the reader much more information about her, over 250 words across three subheads: ‘What I cover’, ‘My background’ and ‘Journalistic ethics’, along with contact details and links to her ‘featured’ and ‘latest’ work. All of which shows to the reader that she is a well-qualified, experienced and ethical journalist whose opinions are worth taking seriously.

If your content is created by skilled humans with expertise in their field, then tell everyone about it. If it’s not, err… then ultimately, be prepared to lose out to those whose is.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.