News informs the reader so that it affects the way they experience the world around them. It does so in three different ways:
News That Entertains – The least compelling, but the most often consumed, entertainment news is the light stuff we seek out when the going is rough and we just want a “guilty pleasure.” Entertainment Weekly, People magazine, and most newspaper feature profiles are what we’re talking about here. While this kind of news attracts the broadest audience, it also claims the least loyal and most fickle readers.
News That Edifies – Most of what you might find in a metro daily’s City Hall coverage or anything in the New York Times falls in this category. Most readers don’t need to know any of the content, but it aims one feel smarter and more aware. The power of these publications are often in their brands and perceived authority. When a reader drops the name, they are saying something about themselves, as in, “I read in the Economist that…”
News That Alters – Readers of these publications expect to learn something that will change how they live their lives or how they do business. As a consequence, these publications command high subscription prices, since they are meant to prove their value. Every trade publication falls into this category, as do some lifestyle magazines like Living Simple. The key to the Wall Street Journal‘s steady circulation rates has been its success at convincing readers that it falls in this category.
As the news landscape shifts, which one of these would you like to be a part of?