Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

The value of “finishability” in your journalism

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism by Adam Westbrook on July 7, 2011

If you create a news product, say an online magazine, here’s a question for you: is your product finishable?

I recently saw Tom Standage, digital editor at The Economist speak at The Media Briefing’s Mobile Media event in central London. He was quite clear that what the Economist sells is ‘finishability‘: that moment of catharthis when you put down the magazine having completed it.

In a world where the stream of information coming into our minds is non-stop (I never seem to keep my Google Reader empty!), providing a product that is ‘finishable’ could be a simple way to make sure people enjoy it – and therefore come back for more.

Lots of products, such as The Huffington Post’s new UK edition, which launched yesterday, provide you with almost stupid amounts of content everyday – an unending barrage of choice.

But few seem brave enough to offer less: instead making it really remarkable.

Finishability is also a valuable asset among the freelancers, starters and entrepreneurs of the journalism world. Coming up with ideas is not good enough. Starting projects is no good either: none of it means anything unless you finish.

And as a tribute to the value of finishability, I am making this post decidedly…finishable.

3 Responses

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  1. Kieran said, on July 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Interesting point Adam.

    I think the whole “finishable” approach works better for longform pieces and can apply to the individual stories.

    If blogs were finishable, or didnt update frequently, then they lose traffic

  2. […] The value of making your journalism ‘finishable’ : the Economist prides itself on being ‘finishable’ – why doesn’t more journalism do the same? […]

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