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Exercising patience in the midst of a 24/7 news cycle is crucial in building and maintaining an audience, said Dafna Linzer, managing editor for MSNBC.com. She spoke to the Shorenstein Center on Tuesday about how difficult but crucial it is not to get swept up in the Twitter mindset of “instant gratification.” Instead, she argued, the focus of good journalism should be to stick with stories and develop them over time.
People tend to associate cable news with cycles that change constantly, filled with stories that don’t last very long, Linzer pointed out. But MSNBC, she said, is “committed to staying on stories that they believe in and that matter.” For example, the network has produced more stories on voting rights, civil rights, and immigration reform than their competitors. “Patience always pays in the end,” she said. “Our readers reward us for staying on a story and developing it, and for helping them get further ahead in learning more about a subject.” She cited investigative stories that have received Goldsmith Awards and how “years later, their stories are still reaping dividends.”
The new MSNBC site that launched in October, 2013, is “medium agnostic,” Linzer said. The site uses content from the broadcast side, but also from original reporting without aggregation or blogging. “Community organizing is welcome,” she said, and with the “giant built-in social network,” the site is a place “for progressives to organize online around issues.”