Despite concerns about control, news publishers are still pushing a lot of content to third-party platforms

Gather round for this history of the troubled, not totally requited relationship between news publishers and powerful technology companies like Google and Facebook. No publisher wants to be reliant on a platform that isn’t within their control, but few want to miss out, either — whether it’s on free(ish) money from Facebook to produce exclusive videos, or trainings from Google, or the promise of making money from readers subscribing on Apple News. “Platforms don’t always reward the best behavior,” one publisher told the researchers at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University in a new report on platforms and publishers, out Thursday. “So you can end up in a rabbit hole where you look at your product in the rearview mirror and think, ‘Is that what I intended to create?’” The 23,721-word report, which is the culmination two years of interviews, publishing data, and tracking of
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For the World Cup, livestreamed online video is threatening to score the equalizer on traditional TV

Nearly as many people plan to watch this summer’s World Cup via livestreamed video as on regular ol’ live TV, a new study out today from the Interactive Advertising Bureau says. It’s another sign (if we still need one) of how even live sports — cable companies’ best hope for saving something like the traditional channel bundle — is giving way to digital. IAB’s study — which surveyed 4,200 people in 21 countries around the world — found 71 percent said they were extremely or probably likely to watch matches live on TV, versus 65 percent online. In some countries, digital streaming actually beat TV — including in China (+6 percentage points), Russia (+7), Saudi Arabia (+2), United Arab Emirates (+1), and even the United States (+1). (American soccer fans have lots of unused rooting capacity ready to assign to one of the 32 countries that actually qualified for the
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Canada’s The Logic is a new subscription news outlet focused on the innovation economy, à la The Information

Information wants to be $300 a year — and it wants to be exclusive, high quality, and lower quantity. At least that’s the bet being made by The Logic, the new Canadian subscription news outlet that soft-launches today. Modeled in large part after Silicon Valley news site The Information, its focus will be on the innovation economy and its impacts across business, policy, culture, and more. The site in beta will offer a free, curated 4 p.m. ET email briefing and an initial paywalled offering of two reported feature stories per week — though the editorial ideas and business model underpinning the site have been percolating for some time. “I got advice early on that you’ve got to be passionate about what you’re creating as a business, and there’s nothing I’m more passionate about than the fourth industrial revolution,” David Skok, The Logic’s CEO and Continue reading "Canada’s The Logic is a new subscription news outlet focused on the innovation economy, à la The Information"

Here are some of the ways you might be doing email newsletters inefficiently (and how to do them better)

Get into email newsletters, they said. It’ll be easy, they said. It’s cost-effective, mostly not algorithmically filtered, and good for turning loyal readers into subscribers, they said. The last few years’ fervor for email can obscure the production efforts that go into editorial newsletters and the metrics around engagement and conversion — headaches discussed widely among the people actually sending those emails. How much time are those people spending on fiddly work — trying to make the template cooperate, cutting down the size of an image-packed email, worrying about broken links? Trying to recreate stories for the website that were first produced for email? Trying to figure out whether its open rate — to be distinguished from unique open rate — is respectable, or whether it’s a useful metric at all? Trying to guess whether all that hard work ends up hidden in readers’ promotions tab in their inboxes,
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Facebook is shutting down its Trending Topics for news module. Will any of its new features for publishers last?

Against all odds, Facebook’s Trending Topics lasted more than four years. The company debuted a mostly algorithmic module that pulled in stories posted across the network, based on users’ interests and posts that were getting a lot of increasing attention, in early 2014. This month, Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s head of news products , announced in a blog post that the company will remove the module sometime this week. Hardiman said the box was only available in five countries anyway and drove less than 1.5 percent of the clicks from the platform to news publishers’ sites, “on average.” Facebook is also shutting down any third-party integrations that have been relying on the Trending API. For a couple years, the types of stories surfaced in Trending Topics were subject to some mockery (how did “Deez Nuts” come to be a “Trending Topic”?) and criticism. But the heaviest scrutiny came Continue reading "Facebook is shutting down its Trending Topics for news module. Will any of its new features for publishers last?"

Papua New Guinea’s government said it would shut down Facebook for a month to conduct “research.” It’s now walking that back somewhat

Papua New Guinea, the southwest Pacific nation of more than 8 million people, may soon be getting what a thousand Medium pieces have called for: life without Facebook. The country’s government is planning a nationwide Facebook blackout for what it is calling research purposes, the country’s Post-Courier reported on Tuesday. “The time will allow information to be collected to identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed,” the country’s minister for for communications, information technology, and energy Sam Basil told the Post-Courier in an initial announcement that kicked off an outpouring of confusion and condemnation. “We can also look at the possibility of creating a new social network site for PNG citizens to use with genuine profiles as well,” he added. “If there need be then we can gather our local applications Continue reading "Papua New Guinea’s government said it would shut down Facebook for a month to conduct “research.” It’s now walking that back somewhat"

Many major newsrooms, champions of transparency in other cases, remain tight-lipped about their newsroom diversity

When it comes to shining a light on their own hiring practices, many major newsrooms seem to be less forthcoming about the demographics of their staff, Joan Shorenstein Fellow Farai Chideya found in her new report on the state of diversity in American newsrooms, with a focus on the political press corps. As part of her research, Chideya reached out to 15 news organizations asking for race and gender breakdowns, specifically of newsrooms’ 2016 political reporting teams. She only heard back from four of them with the data she’d requested: USA Today, The New York Times, NPR, and The Washington Post. BuzzFeed, which has disclosed its diversity numbers in previous years, didn’t provide data to Chideya. NBC instead provided diversity numbers for its parent company, Comcast. The Wall Street Journal and CBS declined to provide data. Few were willing to put anyone on the record about staffing choices, with Continue reading "Many major newsrooms, champions of transparency in other cases, remain tight-lipped about their newsroom diversity"