Editors should consider their audience and have a strong awareness of who their outlet’s primary readers are. Considering a number of factors such as readers’ age, demographics, topics of interest and political identification are important when making editorial decisions of what a news outlet should include and prioritize. If you prioritize what your readers enjoy, that makes it more likely that you will retain their interest. Additionally, being aware of who your audience is allows you to grow your base of readers and/or viewers.
While catering to your audience is strategic, it could also have some negative consequences if an editor overestimates the majority or fails to represent minority interests in their decision making. Only representing the views or interests of your primary audience can lead to biased reporting and might actually inhibit the outlet’s ability to reach more people.
This week’s reading, The Audience Oriented Editor, notes how important it is for editors to balance “what the audience needs to know and what the audience wants to know.” This really stuck out to me as I think it perfectly articulates one of the major issues with journalism today. Editors and journalists are obligated to report the news objectively, but the line can begin to blur when considering what the audience wants to hear takes precedence over being objective and fair.