The New York Times Just Made a Series of Moves to Get Closer to its Audience

The New York Times is entering a new era in journalism that’s marked by greater accountability, wider perspectives, and a focus on its audience.

Dan Sills

Associate Director at C Space

Dan Sills produces C Space’s customer experience podcast, Outside In, which The Huffington Post called one of “The 7 Best Business Podcasts You Should Be Listening To” and Entrepreneur included in a list of “Best Podcasts for Entrepreneurs.” When he’s not locked in an edit suite, Dan talks at Story Slams and was a 2016 grandSLAM finalist for cult storytelling circle The Moth.

Changes are afoot at the Gray Lady, and they all center on its audience.

The New York Times just announced it is establishing a Reader Center that will offer improved response to tips, reader feedback, and questions, regardless of the channel in which they are submitted. It will also help journalists build communities around issues that matter most to readers, ensure readers’ voices are heard, promote greater transparency in stories covered, and encourage collaboration across company departments.

“We want to capitalize on our readers’ knowledge and experience, using their voices to make our journalism even better,” wrote Clifford Levy, a deputy managing editor at The Times, in a letter to staff about the announcement. He said the Reader Center “will work across the newsroom and with opinion, and it will have close ties to colleagues in marketing, product and other parts of the company.”

In a separate announcement, The Times also said it is eliminating the position of public editor. Liz Spayd, who currently holds the role, recently wrote that, in the coming weeks, The Times will start customizing the way stories are delivered to readers according to their individual tastes, interests, location, and other factors.

This spate of announcements shines light on a broader effort by the entire Times organization to get closer to its audience. By expanding its reach across media platforms and involving its audience directly in the stories that shape their world, The Times is doubling down on its relationship with readers, subscribers, viewers, and listeners.

Ejieme Eromosele, managing director of customer experience at The Times, echoed these sentiments on an episode of the Outside In podcast.

Whereas in the past readers were seen as an avenue to generating more advertising revenue, today that view has changed. To thrive in the new media landscape, where audiences expect on-demand access and personalization across devices and platforms, she said The Times has shifted to placing a greater focus on the customer experience.

“It’s not only about acquiring new customers and making sure that we can get them to our domain,” Eromosele said. “It’s about understanding who they are, what they need, and what they’re getting out of The New York Times, and making sure we can provide that.”

If these recent moves are any indication, it’s clear that The Times understands the vast knowledge and influence of its audience, that they have the ability to carry the company into a new era in journalism that’s marked by broader access, greater accountability, and a wider variety of perspectives and experiences.

You may be interested in:

The Collaborative Advantage

The Collaborative Advantage7 Ways to Combine Big Data Methods with Active Customer Collaboration The huge promise of Big Data also lies in its biggest limitation. There’s a temptation to think that companies no longer need to bring the active, knowing, feeling human...

Getting the Most from an Online Customer Community

Getting the Most from an Online Customer Community

Harvard Business Review

Simply having access to customers in communities is no longer enough. Not when all your competitors have similar platforms. The differentiator is how you use those platforms to make your customers a strategic asset – what you do with the insights and how you draw inspiration from the community to align priorities, create meaningful change and, ultimately, generate new value.

Twitter: The Art of Influence and Discovery

Twitter: The Art of Influence and Discovery Subscribe to the Outside In podcast: It seems like everyone in the world is on Twitter. Including brands. But what works, and what doesn't? Alex Josephson knows. He leads Twitter's global brand...

In Print: Our best thinking

Thinking In Print: Our best thinking delivered to your desk Every quarter, we publish the very best thinking from across our global network in In Print. It’s a physical magazine that brings together brilliant ideas, provocative thinking & our very latest insights....

Customer Inside: A Practitioners Guide to Online Communities

Report Customer Inside: A Practitioners Guide to Online Communities C Space partnered with the Market Research Society (MRS) and 130 client side practitioners to explore & understand how to get the most out of online communities (and the agencies that run them)...

How do you solve a problem for IKEA?

How do you solve a problem for IKEA? "We discovered a happy life at home is a mix of my space, your space, and our space - but people have a hard time really defining my space, within mixed/shared spaces." Lydia Choi-Johansson Intelligence...

The Rules of Community Engagement

The Rules of Community Engagement: A Study of the Motivations for Participation in Online Communities At C Space, we have been studying the art of engagement and honing our craft for well over a decade. We understand that vibrant participation begins with community...

Market Segmentation in Online Consumer Communities

Market Segmentation in Online Consumer Communities: Does it Matter? It is easy to understand why after investing heavily in a market segmentation strategy, companies would want their online consumer communities to represent those segments. But does segmentation really...

Customer Inspired: How to Achieve Growth in the 21st Century

Customer Inspired: How to Achieve Growth in the 21st Century What do In-N-Out Burger, Ace Hardware, Trader Joe’s, Kaiser Permanente, Nordstrom, and Mary Kay have in common? Here’s a hint: none are leading advertisers. Yet all are cherished by consumers over their...

Gen Z & the Future of Mobility

Gen Z & the Future of Mobility Gen Z is diverse, connected, and mobile. Which begs the question: What does Gen Z want from their mobility experience? And how would they make it better? To find out, we brought together dozens of Gen Zers and execs from brands like Bose...