Incoming public editor Liz Spayd’s advice for the NYT: Listen to your readers

In her first column as public editor, Liz Spayd offers her advice for how the NYT can attract more readers: Listen to your readers more. Spayd writes: “What The Times and most other newsrooms mostly do now is not so much listen to readers as watch and analyze them, like fish in a bowl. … What would prove more fruitful is for newsrooms to treat their audience like people with crucial information to convey — preferences, habits and shifting ways of consuming information. What do they like about what we do and how we do it? What do they want done differently? What do they turn to other sites for?”

+ But Isaac Chotiner writes that this advice is flawed: “You might think that amid a general dumbing down of news coverage and with local newspapers losing circulation, the Times’ commitment to quality journalism is all the more necessary and urgent (and even strategically sensible). … [Spayd] seems unaware that there is a difference between giving readers what they want and ensuring that readers receive the best news coverage possible — the latter being the purpose of a newspaper, including a digital one.” (Slate)