July 6, 2017

Pivot to the Intention Economy


When it comes to civic media, the attention economy is not adequate to the task of serving the unmet information needs of neglected communities.

An intention economy can address this shortcoming in the following manner:

  • PROBLEM: Journalism in a mass-media ecosystem driven by attention and reactive fascinations will always trend toward distraction, spectacle and popular topics.
  • OPPORTUNITY: Mass media driven by specific interests rather than simple attention has at least the opportunity to build a habit of civic engagement around non-spectacular topics and issues.
  • MUTUALITY: In this equation the intention must be mutual, on the part of the media producer as well as on the part of the audience.
  • SUSTAINABILITY: Memberships, contributions, social-sharing and other forms of sustaining actions by audiences represent the apex of the intention economy.
  • DESIGN: Journalism’s practitioners advocates must design and implement systems that make it easy for those intentional economics to develop around public-interest news reporting in neglected communities.

On the demand side, civic-media advocate and Internet journalist Doc Searles explores the idea of the intention economy as a consumer-driven phenomenon, which opens up critical conceptual terrain for consumer or buyer’s co-ops for civic media.

What sort of intention can the production side — journalists and their advocates — bring to the table here?