Journalists should listen to their readers. I learned this lesson well in my last job, where I worked with the Navy Office of Information in the Pentagon to figure out a way to get a condensed version of The New York Times delivered electronically to every surface ship, submarine, and shore station around the world at the same time that you could buy the first edition of the paper in Times Square.
It was during the run up to the first Persian Gulf War in the 1990s, and our solution came in the form of creating Adobe Acrobat PDF files (Acrobat was then in beta, and was called Carousel), and delivered it to the Navy using an underutilized electronic spare parts network that allowed the PAOs (public affairs officers) on those ships and subs and in those ports to print a PDF file and distribute copies to their shipmates. I still rank it as one of the highlights of my journalism career. We didn’t stop there, however. We wanted to know what those Navy readers around the world thought of the Navy Edition of The Times, so the Pentagon conducted a survey and shared the findings with us.
My favorite response came from a Marine serving in the Gulf. His recommendation? “Less liberal propaganda and more sports.” We listened, and started including more NASCAR and football coverage than the Times normally ran.
This year, we asked you, our advisor readers, what you wanted from us. The answer? More news, data, and analysis, delivered in real time, electronically. So, beginning with a soft launch on September 15 that’s due to morph into a hard launch on October 4, we created AdvisorOne.com to meet those needs.
You said you used multiple websites and e-alerts to stay on top of the news that affects you and your clients. You said you wanted fresh market data. You said you wanted insight and analysis into that news and data. You said you wished you could get the cornucopia of content that exists on the Web in one site. That’s what we built.