For some time, media organisations have considered content as their primary product. The stories, exclusives, breathtaking photos and well-crafted prose are what people enjoy and pay for, first in print and more recently in other forms. But increasingly, it strikes me that it’s the people behind the journalism, the journalists, that readers want to hear from and will pay good money for.

This weekend saw the first Guardian Open Weekend, a festival intended to provide ‘insight into the daily life of a newspaper and website’ and to allow readers to hear from the Guardian’s top journalists (as well as other guest speakers) about what goes on behind the scenes. The two-day event, which cost £60 to attend for the weekend and got lots of good feedback online, was branded as part of their open journalism/the whole picture campaign but was, in its most basic form, giving their most loyal readers a chance to engage with their journalists face-to-face.

Although the Guardian are the first to do a full weekend, events involving journalists are not new. The Economist have a very healthy stable of conferences (one of which I attended recently at which business correspondant Lane Greene was present) whilst The Times, through Times+, run events with journalists that are exclusive to Times subscribers (including one last night  at which Matt Dickinson and Simon Barnes chatted to Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent for over an hour).

In these cases, people are paying for time in the company of journalists alongside other speakers. But in the case of some events, such as Robert Crampton’s quiz night, people are attending to meet and engage with journalists in their own right. It just goes to show the high regard in which journalists are held and the loyalty which they have amongst readers.

So might we see more events at which the journalist is the star attraction? It’s a point that former Guardian Healthcare Network editor SA Mathieson alludes to in his blog post yesterday, in which he holds up the music business, with the way the content (single/album downloads) feeds into expensive face-to-face time with the stars (gigs/tours), as a possible model to replicate. And then there’s after-dinner circuit, mostly consisting of old sports stars, which has been around years and is built on people wanting to hear personal anecdotes from their idols.

To call this as journalism moving towards event planning is too easy a step to make. This is part of a broader move towards personality-led journalism business model, which leverages social media networks and taps into the basic human desire for contact with people they admire.

Live events are the most obvious incarnation of this but there are huge implications for commenting and online community too (an idea which I will blog about in the coming week) and the way in which content is packaged and sold across platforms. Will it, for example, come to a point, when Giles Coren has his own app with all his restaurants reviews, a map to help you find the nearest one and the ability to add your own reviews? You can bet anybody who admires Giles and his work (and a ton that don’t) would pay £2.99 for that.

Essentially, what I’m saying is that  journalism will always have the opportunity to make money whilst it has journalists with wit and wisdom. Media companies just need to cotton on to the idea that the people that write the news are as interesting to the general public as the words they produce.