Membership? More of a partnership

After reading through the Membership Puzzle‘s special report on making journalism more memberful, I realized I’ve been coming at my pitch backwards.

It’s not surprising, given my initial motivation was to create a place where like-minded journalists could break free from the shackles of pack journalism and obsessive click-tracking to focus on work that drove them to enter the industry in the first place.

From that perspective, it makes sense that I heralded the value of the project to fellow journalists and journalism nerds.

But once I ingested the 61-page report, I realized that the differentiation strategy for a membership site has to be more about the partnership between the news organization and the members.

One key phrase that I noted was “public-powered journalism.” The idea is that the members actually help focus the coverage patterns with their feedback and direct engagement with the newsroom.

Tools like surveys and polls can be used to measure the most important issues in the community. But beyond that, members can also aid in fact-checking and sourcing. We can reach out and ask for help in ways that news organizations never have in the recent past.

The report reminded me that I don’t know best when it comes to coverage focus, the membership base does. Those engaged enough to support us through membership have a passion for their community and want to see specific topics on the radar.

For fellow nerds, the full report is embedded below.


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