Community management in journalism and beyond…

As Tom and Steve have said the topic of our blog is so widespread but it would be useful to look at what marks out community management as different in journalism than other fields.

People in fields as diverse as online sales, charities, marketing communications, to special interest-blogs all profess to be community managers.

In real-life the worlds of journalism and PR often blur with workers crossing over, PR creating articles and journos rehashing PR releases. But when it comes to how the two groups manage (or should be) managing their communities, the differences are clear.

For one thing a PR community may find and build a community around a certain product. But their goals for that community are limited. Usually they will only provide information and content for the purposes of that product, not for its community. Newspapers have always been focused on its readership and the question: what do they want?

Time is also a factor, the community will only last as long as the product does, or at least the PR company’s contract. Established newspapers have been around for years and intend to continue for many more. Newspapers are create and actively pursuing long-term goals for their communities. Newspapers are also starting to work towards creating a larger, more involved platform for readers – who are no longer simply readers but contributors.

While the field is diverse I think newspapers and news sites are on their way to creating true, engaged communities. Well, hopefully. What are your thoughts?

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