Media Moves

How The Information built a successful tech news operation

February 5, 2021

Posted by Chris Roush

Jessica Lessin

Sarah Scire of Nieman Lab interviewed Jessica Lessin, the co-founder and CEO of tech news site The Information.

Here is an excerpt:

SCIRE: If I can ask you to generalize on what you’ve seen as an advisor, why does a new news organization succeed? Why do some fail?

LESSIN: I think every organization I’ve seen produce really differentiated content is successful. I think it’s really that simple. It’s no different than asking,”Which of these 10 new video apps will survive?” What’s the differentiated value? I think the demand for journalism and for commentary is so great right now that there’s a huge market for content creators that are doing something original and important. I’ve seen so many businesses that double down on that succeed.I think that’s a bit counterintuitive to people. I certainly know that when I started The Information, it didn’t seem like the world needed another tech publication. There were so many blogs and it just seemed like we were swimming in it. But what we saw is that that coverage was skewed, it was often hype-y, and it was not very deep. We found this huge open field of coverage no one was doing by digging and trying to get to the bottom of how businesses were actually doing. There’s a huge market for that. It really comes back to the originality of the journalism.

Most of the people I work with are building companies and teams — they’re not one-man shops. But I think you’re also seeing the rise of individuals go to platforms like Substack and others and the same dynamics play out there. The ones that are saying things that are unique and valuable are seeing very substantial audiences and ones that are not doing that aren’t. It’s kind of that simple.

Read more here.

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