It’s All Journalism: Journalism as a form of customer service

In the “old days” when Jennifer Brett was getting started in journalism, people would go out, interview sources, come back with their reporting and have an article published in the next morning’s newspaper.

“People who come out of school today might find it quaint,” says Brett, now a multi-platform journalist and digital coach with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Today, it’s live tweeting for Facebook Live or Periscope, some kind of live presentation from the scene, then a blog post, then a slideshow or video, maybe audio clips,” followed, finally, by a re-purposed presentation of the same facts as an article in a publication.

This production process might sound like more work, but in the end it translates to better content, she says.

“I think the print product is greatly enhanced by having an aggressive digital game at the beginning,” as it provides reporters the opportunity to constantly refine and hone their story and tone.

She’s also a big believer in viewing journalism and presenting information as a customer service opportunity.

“I want people to be able to find me on the platform, the device and on the timetable that suits their needs,” she says. “It’s important in journalism to meet people where they are and make sure your content is easily and readily accessible in any device, platform and time frame that meets our customer’s needs.”

Brett says there’s a “precious covenant” between reporter and reader that should be treated with the utmost respect and responsibility.

“People have every choice in the world. When someone reads your blog post or scrolls through your slideshow or listens to your audio clip, they have literally chosen your content over the entire repository of human knowledge,” she says. “They could do anything in the world besides consuming your content. … The most precious currency someone can spend with you is their time. If someone’s going to choose me over the entire internet, I need to make it worth their while and I need to make sure it’s on their device, platform and in the time frame they’re choosing.”

Jennifer Brett, a multi-platform journalist and digital coach at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, talks with producer Michael O’Connell about how digital and real-time reporting can help refine a finished print article and how journalism relies on good customer service.