Media companies should open up an HQ2

Amazon has announced its list of 20 finalists to be the new home for its second headquarters, its HQ2. (Though 20 feels more like a longlist than a shortlist, to be honest.) For anyone hoping that Amazon would play urban revivalist and plunk its employees down in some down-on-its-heels third-tier burg, it’s a disappointing list of the usual major-league cities and suburbs. (While the city that wins will obviously get a development boon, it seems borderline unfair to have raised the hopes of places that never had a chance. I love my home state of Louisiana, but I’m pretty sure the Lafayette–Baton Rouge corridor wasn’t going to be competitive no matter how good their PowerPoint was, barring a crawfish-specific ask in the RFP that I missed. I’m reminded of the time Tulsa tried to get the Summer Olympics: You want to applaud the chutzpah, but you also Continue reading "Media companies should open up an HQ2"

If Facebook stops putting news in front of readers, will readers bother to go looking for it?

I gave a talk at NYU’s Studio 20 last month. It’s a review of the year in journalism innovation; I’ve given it at the program’s graduation each of the past four years. It’s a nice opportunity to look back over the past 12 months and see what mattered. I headlined the first section of my talk “OUR FRIENDLY NORTHERN CALIFORNIA OVERLORDS” and went through some of the highs and lows in Facebook’s relations with the news business. The evolution from “fake news on Facebook didn’t affect anything” to “sorry, didn’t mean to be so dismissive.” The steady decline in Facebook traffic to major news sites. The “experiment” where Facebook decided to screw around with the journalism ecosystem in six countries — each with its own relatively recent history of civil war, dictatorship, or just fragile democracy — by shipping most news out of the News Feed. The last slide
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Stratechery, but for jokes about Frasier: Mallory Ortberg tries the paid newsletter route

Our old friend Tim Carmody recently revived his email newsletter (and started a Patreon, go give him love), and today’s edition features an interview with the writer Mallory Ortberg, perhaps best known as one of the founders of the late The Toast. Among other things, they talk about Ortberg’s new experiment into subscriber-supported media — migrating her own email newsletter The Shatner Chatner from a free TinyLetter to a paid model, using Substack. (We wrote about Substack in October.) The new version of the email costs $5 a month. The annual round of Q4 layoffs at media companies means that there are even more journalists thinking about some kind of paid solo model than usual. Here are a few excerpts from their conversation, and go sign up for Tim’s email.
Tim Carmody: And you’ve been writing this as a newsletter on TinyLetter since March?

Students: Spend the summer working with Nieman Lab via the Google News Lab Fellowship

Hey students: Want to spend next summer working with Nieman Lab? I’m very happy to say that we will again be one of the host organizations for the Google News Lab Fellowships. You can apply here, and the deadline is January 15. Here’s Google’s description:
Google_Logo_Color_WideThe Google News Lab Fellowship offers students interested in journalism and technology the opportunity to spend the summer working at relevant organizations across the US to gain valuable experience and make lifelong contacts and friends. While the work of each host organization is unique, Fellows have opportunities to research and write stories, contribute to open source data programs, and create timely data to accurately frame public debates about issues in the US and the world. Fellows receive a stipend of $9,000 USD and a travel budget of $1,000 during the 10-week program, which runs from June-August. We’re looking for students who are passionate Continue reading "Students: Spend the summer working with Nieman Lab via the Google News Lab Fellowship"

Come work for Nieman Lab

We have an opening for a staff writer here at Nieman Lab. If you’re interested, apply over here! The job’s pretty easy to describe: You see all the stories on this website? The ones about journalism innovation — changes in how news gets reported, produced, distributed, discovered, consumed, and paid for? This job is about coming up with, reporting out, and writing those stories. There are some other duties, of course, like helping run our social media presence, but it’s a reporting job at its core. If you’ve ever thought I’d be good at writing Nieman Lab stories, I’d encourage you to apply. This person will join our little five-person Harvard newsroom. She or he will also be joining the larger Nieman Foundation, which does a lot of exciting things for journalism and for journalists. (That’s our home, Walter Lippmann House, above; it’s nice.) For more details, Continue reading "Come work for Nieman Lab"

HomePod, death to autoplay, and a smarter Apple News: These are the key Apple updates for publishers

Apple went the first five full months of 2017 without a public event to announce new products, so there was a backup of things to talk about at today’s WWDC overstuffed keynote. As usual, a few of the announcements had impacts on the publishing business; here are the highlights. HomePod: Apple led its presentation (and picked the name) of the HomePod with music in mind — putting it in a historical line with iTunes and iPods rather than voice interfaces. (Its first stated need was to “rock the house.”) In the same way the Apple Watch sells fitness as the hook to get a computer strapped on your wrist, HomePod sells music to get a microphone in your home — and for many people, music will be all it gets used for. But it also features the same sort of interaction patterns we’ve become familiar with with the
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The scariest chart in Mary Meeker’s slide deck for newspapers has gotten even a smidge scarier

It’s an annual moment of print realism here at Nieman Lab: The posting of the attention/advertising slide from Mary Meeker’s state-of-the-Internet slide deck. It’s enough of a tradition that I can now copy-and-paste from multiple versions of this post. Here’s a sentence from the 2013 version:
For those who don’t know it, Meeker — formerly of Morgan Stanley, at VC firm Kleiner Perkins since late 2010 — each year produces a curated set of data reflecting what she sees as the major trends in Internet usage and growth. It may be the only slide deck that qualifies as an event unto itself.
And a chunk from the 2014 version:
What’s useful about Meeker’s deck is that its core data serves as a punctuation mark on some big, ongoing trends. The kind of trends we all know are happening, but whose annual rate of progress can be hard to
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