Media companies must differentiate journalism and content experiences

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


As we start delving into the intersection between newsrooms and product teams, it’s helpful to think about how we frame “content.” A senior executive recently explained their thinking: The content experience is where product leads; but when it comes to the journalism itself, product is in a more supportive role.

Let’s break that down a little. 

There may be many different ways to showcase journalism for maximum impact. Just think about the graphics and charts we all use around COVID. Sometimes a photo should lead because it’s so impactful; sometimes it’s simply illustrative — size and placement matter. Newsrooms have high stakes in these decisions and usually (arguably) bring a lot more to the table than product. 

While editorial teams focus on showcasing their journalism, content teams enable the journalism.
While editorial teams focus on showcasing their journalism, content teams enable the journalism.

Consider a simple article page. Editorial will have demands around how to showcase the journalism. There are numerous ways the text, graphics, video, etc., can be implemented on the page. Which format options are available? What do consumers respond to? How can you optimise for impact? 

Product enables the journalism. 

A content experience will combine the journalism with all objectives. There will also be demands from the business: How much advertising should be placed? Where do we place marketing calls to actions such as prompting people to subscribe? How do we optimise for consumer experience such as speed? A product team will need to make decisions based on all of these factors. And, in an ideal world, the decision will be agreed by all relevant parties.  

How does your organisation handle the balance between the journalism and the content experience? E-mail me at

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About Jodie Hopperton

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