Many professional journalists and journalism scholars consider the increasing attention paid to audiences as one of the causes of the gradual loss of journalistic quality. They reason if ratings, circulation figures, hits and shares determine the content of journalism, the core values of journalism become jeopardized. This article argues how and why studies of journalistic quality should take the actual readers, listeners and viewers of journalistic texts seriously. It reports on a different kind of research for measuring the public's news interests and preferences; one that concentrates on value - what makes journalism precious for people and how news organizations can provide this. By zooming in on the professionals' and public's experience of quality information instead of their views on the topic, the article shows how pleasing the audience might be compatible with producing excellent journalism. © The Author(s) 2012.