Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A night at the Times.

Last night I left early and went to something called a "Times Talk," over at "The New York Times" building on 620 Eighth Avenue and 41st Street.

The building itself is a tower of strength.

Tall, beautiful, rich-looking and beautifully designed.

But the folks at the Times, unlike most people running agencies, know that their giant office tower is built on disrupted ground.

The news industry has seminally changed.

Advertising revenue has cratered.

The Times knows it's in a fight for its very survival.

The talk I went to was hosted by Food Editor, Sam Sifton with food writer Julia Moskin. And as much as they spoke about recipes, restaurant reviews and the craft of journalism, they talked, imho, about bigger, more important things.

They talked about "unique visits." They talked about reaching new audiences with new digital appurtenances. They talked about      how      to     give     real    value    to     readers.

Sifton and Moskin talked, in a macro-sense about keeping the paper relevant to its readers and thereby reaching new readers.

Sifton was busting his buttons when he told the audience that the Cooking section received five-million unique page views in October, and already in November has received three million unique views.

What we are missing in our business is what Sifton and Moskin were hitting upon.

It's the necessity of giving the viewer information, entertainment, ideas, insight they can't get anywhere else.

Beautifully crafted. Respectful of the viewer's time. Valuable.

If advertising as an industry is to re-assert its relevance we have to be, above all, relevant. We have to remember--messaging isn't about what we want to say, it's about information consumers need.

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