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Why The "Just Good Enough" Paradigm Could Change Journalism Forever

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, 08 May 2012Blog
Why The "Just Good Enough" Paradigm Could Change Journalism Forever

A world of free services and content has given rise to a paradigm that one could name, JGE or Just Good Enough, and has permeated throughout the web ever since "free" became the online "Lingua Franca".

The concept of JGE stems from a simple observable fact; in a world of free content, the majority of people are less fussy about what they get for their money because there's no currency being exchanged and no pecuniary transaction per se.

By not being fussy -- and I mean that, as a cohesive entity -- they do not always aim for qualitative excellence and instead choose to hop from one source to another until they find a place comfortable to settle for a while before moving elsewhere, eventually.

And because, unlike social networking websites, most non-UGC (user generated content), content-heavy websites do not employ sticky features that force their audience to stay put, most readers just site-hop.

Google's head of news products, Richard Gingras, recently said that three quarters of uniques come from external sources, with only a quarter hitting the homepage directly.

This means that news websites overwhelmingly depend on third parties (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit, Linkedin etc) to guide the audience to the news content they want to consume and this can only get worse as depleted newsrooms try to refocus their existing resources onto more profitable but harder to crack, rarer niche segments.

And journalists can only cringe when reading Gingras' statement that "We need to rethink how we teach journalism" as he advocates computational journalism - relying on data - to reinvent the reporter's notebook (ed : the wolf guiding the sheep to the slaughterhouse).

Actually, the chances are that you might not even need a journalist to crunch data - tables, query strings, status updates, tweets - into meaningful information.

Narrative Science and Forbes have already been doing it for a while. You can read a sample on Forbes' website and yep, as you can guess, the content is "Just Good Enough" for Forbes' audience.

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