A 14-minute podcast about front pages, tweets, getting fired, rivers.
The users drifted away from the NYT front page, yet the organization remains structured around it. In many ways it’s the front page, and the sections, that define who they are. And then the front page was no longer wanted.
News has always been a river. The front page model was necessary when the pulse to the news was daily. But behind that, the news has always been a flow. The reporters take the flow and turn it into a front page.
To even observe that there has been a fundamental change is enough to get you in trouble, and most people don’t want any more trouble than they have. This is esp true for employees. And most people at the Times probably like their jobs and want to keep them. That’s why the fundamental change has to be realized outside their organization, made to seem friendly and then at some point can be adopted by them.
Every org has to deal with that. For Twitter the whole place is structured around the 140-char limit. No one knows what lies on the other side, and who wants to even find out! Things are okay. And also, as with the Times, most people who work at Twitter want to keep their jobs.
But — and here’s where things break — with users, the front page and the 140-char limit are not sacred. They are comfortable. But no one will fire you for saying you think otherwise.