Your job is journalism, not container cargo

Stop calling everything “content”. It’s a bullshit word that the dot-commers started using back in the ’90s as a wrapper for everything that could be digitized and put online. It’s handy, but it masks and insults the true natures* of writing, journalism, photography, and the rest of what we still, blessedly (if adjectivally) call “editorial”. Your job is journalism, not container cargo.

Doc Searls (on advice to newspapers)


  1. Some battles are no longer with fighting.
    We’ll never stop calling it content.
    It’s not an elegant word, but it is functional.
    Content is a useful container word to wrap articles, blog posts, video, pictures, etc. all in one short-hand way of saying “all this stuff.”
    “Editorial” does not work because it’s ambiguous in many contexts.
    The word “content” is not intrinsically evil. It’s lack of elegance does not demean the collection of types it covers.

  2. You’re right, we wiil call it content.
    I love the “container cargo” phrase.
    When some people start talking about content, it sounds like they’re talking about packaged goods. It could be rice or screws or Barbie dolls.
    But what it is is information about or for people.
    Three-line classifieds ads often have more facts it them than 500-word evergreen pieces that seek not offend anyone and end devoid of useful information.
    A perceptive blogger’s spin on a news story or the conversation in their comments may very well be more insightful than a newspaper’s straight story from a reporter who barely grasps the names of the players.
    And the quality of reporting and writing varies widely among journalists and the Media titles.
    Content may be a commodity item in the cargo hold or content may be the king that brings the gold.
    Or there’s content and then there’s CONTENT.

Comments are closed.