February 2024 Welcome: The story behind the story
How do professional journalists add value in the modern media world?
I was in Osaka at the start of this month for the big Japanese trade and consumer show. And I was lucky to spend some time with two senior editors from Wired2Fish, the angling website serving the US market. It was clear very quickly from our conversations that we are asking ourselves the same related questions.
Question one: in a world of effortlessly re-posted content, what do skilled journalists do better than anyone else? And question two: how do we make our readers and advertisers understand the value of what we do?
The answer to that first question is simply this: skilled journalists give meaning to content. It’s a service we provide for our readers by seeking out the source of any original content and interrogating it on your behalf. We ask the secondary questions that help you make informed decisions. Journalism isn’t simply writing or selecting images then posting them, it’s being inquisitive on behalf of the readers it is serving.
There is always a story behind the story.
I’ll give an example of a product launch. The spec and the name and the accompanying video are simply telling you ‘what’ it is. But how valuable is that to any reader? Something needs to be added. Wired2Fish would take that product and explain ‘how’ to fish it, its journalists dedicating their efforts to give the new product some valuable meaning to their angling readers.
At Angling International we ask, ‘why’? Because a product launch is simply the start of a conversation that informs our readers where a particular market is heading, how the launch company is developing and also about the motivations and skills of the team behind it. This is business intel and it has value – and it takes a skilled and connected journalist time and effort to bring it to you. And if launch companies can not answer why, maybe they don’t have such a great product and maybe they will do better next time.
In a world of content do not underestimate what a good journalist can do for you.
And in a world of niches and algorithms, don’t underestimate being presented with news from outside your specific sphere of interest. That’s the second great value of a journalist today.
In a world that seems to be narrowing, a magazine with a wider scope has extra value. A manager of a carp brand can learn from another company’s success in the predator market. A business in the States can learn from an innovative development at a Japanese brand. It may be obvious, but unless there is a widely connected editorial team bringing you that information from different parts of the tackle trade – and then giving it meaning – you are going to miss out on that value.
Angling International is a marketing platform for brands, it’s true. But that platform only exists because of the added value ‘context news’ that surrounds those marketing messages. We are taking steps this year to look further afield too.
You will see it in the front section of this issue. We are looking beyond the tackle businesses you know so well from Europe, Asia and the USA. We have one or two new names this issue, who have never featured in our pages before, and not only tackle producers. A charity and a retailer, plus a story about virtual reality. Our only test for inclusion was: can our wider readership learn from your news? Or, to put it another way, what is the significance to the trade of the story behind your story?
If we can find a meaningful story that helps your business, we will make the call, ask the questions and bring it to you. Our only request is that you see the value in that. We are not here to make a monthly catalogue of tackle. Save that for the reposts.