Audience should be considered in editorial decisions because news organizations are businesses. One of the reasons these organizations sometimes fail is because of the loss of their audience, so in considering the audience in editorial decisions news organizations is making an effort to maintain audience loyalty. The issue with this is that to be too audience oriented is to sacrifice some degree of autonomy; Autonomy is one of the fundamental pillars of journalism. Apart from staying afloat as a business, considering the audience can actually enhance a news organization’s value. An organization that creates a hierarchy of importance with the way in which stories are organized and distributed is likely to be of more value to a community in comparison to one that is less strategic about what an audience needs to know versus what they want to know. Entertainment value is also important. As such pleasing the audience while providing them with the necessities is a balancing act for news organizations. This was an idea expressed by “The Audience Oriented Editor.”
Issues with considering the audience in editorial decisions is in determining who is one’s audience and what they actually need. The current methods used to accomplish this are sometimes questionable. The audience-oriented editor relies too heavily on insights gained from social media and other metrics. It must also be considered that these platforms only portray a limited view of an audience through their engagement- those engagements being likes, shares and comments. Ultimately this can lead to misinformation and inaccurate tailoring of news work toward audience needs.
Ferrer-Conill, Raul. “The Audience-Oriented Editor.” Taylor and Francis Online, 23 Feb. 2018, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21670811.2018.1440972.