Vox.com tries a membership program, with a twist: It’s focused on video and entirely on YouTube


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Would you pay an extra $5 a month to attend a quarterly meeting over Google Hangouts? Not “$5 a month to skip a meeting.” “$5 to have the privilege of attending a meeting.” Well, it turns out, plenty of Vox.com video lovers would. When you sign up for a Vox Video Lab membership, you can choose between two different price levels. For $4.99 per month, you get the “DVD extras” of Vox videos: behind-the-scenes content, videos explaining Vox’s process, recommendations for non-Vox videos, and a monthly live Q&A with a producer. For $9.99 a month, you get all that plus…access to a quarterly Google Hangout where they can give Vox more advice about its membership program.

Anchor too? With a second big acquisition, Spotify shows it’s serious about podcasts — as both producer and platform


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


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Told you Spotify wasn’t done shopping. This morning, the Swedish streaming company announced that it has closed its acquisition of Gimlet Media and that it had also acquired another podcast company: Anchor, the podcast hosting-and-monetization platform founded by Michael Mignano and Nir Zicherman. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Here’s the press release, and here’s the particularly relevant chunk:
With these acquisitions, Spotify is positioned to become both the premier producer of podcasts and the leading platform for podcast creators. Gimlet will bring to Spotify its best-in-class podcast studio with dedicated IP development, production and advertising capabilities. Anchor will bring its platform of tools for podcast creators and its established and rapidly growing creator base.
To quickly repeat myself from yesterday’s piece on the subject of Spotify’s podcast angle:

The end of an era: Spotify buying Gimlet signals the start of something new in podcasting. Is that good or bad?


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 194, published February 5, 2019. Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! Okay, so, obviously I’m going to go long on the Gimlet–Spotify deal this week, but we need to start with some other stories first, because plans were made. A quick exclusive: Vox Media has added Switched On Pop, a popular independent music podcast by Charlie Harding and Nate Sloan, to its podcast network. The show will officially relaunch next month as Vox’s first music-centered podcast and will publish on a weekly basis. This is Vox Media’s first external podcast signing, though Harding and Sloan will retain ownership over the show. Why file organization matters [by Caroline Crampton]. Preserve This Podcast exists to help podcasters protect their work against digital decay. Funded by an $142,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, it started work in February 2018; it’s tackling Continue reading "The end of an era: Spotify buying Gimlet signals the start of something new in podcasting. Is that good or bad?"

Researchers crunched 13 TB of local newspaper subscriber data. Here’s what they found about who sticks around.


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Hey, local newspapers: Want to try to predict which of your subscribers are going to stick with you — and keep paying — no matter what? New research out of the Medill Local News Initiative at Northwestern suggests that creating a habit is the most important thing to focus on: The frequency of reading local news is “the single biggest predictor of retaining subscribers — more than the number of stories read or the time spent reading them.” In some cases, in fact, “high rates of story reading and time spent per story” were actually associated with people dropping their subscriptions. Yes, the researchers say, this is indeed a “puzzling surprise” (more on it below). Folks from Medill’s Spiegel Research Center, led by research director Edward Malthouse, analyzed 13 terabytes of anonymous reader and subscriber data from the Chicago Tribune, Indianapolis Star, and San Francisco Chronicle. In doing so, they Continue reading "Researchers crunched 13 TB of local newspaper subscriber data. Here’s what they found about who sticks around."

Transparency, diversity, philanthropy: The Knight Commission’s final recommendations for 21st-century journalism


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Radical transparency, committed philanthropy, disinformation-debunking technology, organizational diversity — and a year of service: There are some of the recommendations from the 27-member Knight Commission on Trust, Media, and Democracy, highlighting examples of successful experiments in a 200-plus page report a year and a half in the making. “We, as individual citizens of a great nation, need to take measures now, not next year, to maintain the democracy that has developed over nearly two and a half centuries,” the authors write. “This report is only a beginning point — a compass, not a map.” If you’re not a regular Nieman Lab reader or otherwise familiar with how the decline in institutional trust involved the downfall of the journalism industry and a healthy democracy under siege, you can read the full report and learn about the backstory. (There are enlightening charts!) Alongside the creation of the commission, Knight funded Continue reading "Transparency, diversity, philanthropy: The Knight Commission’s final recommendations for 21st-century journalism"

Happy birthday, Facebook! These are the 10 most important moments in your not-so-great relationship with the news industry


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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Facebook turns 15 today, and it wouldn’t be wrong to describe this as its awkward phase. Its limbs have grown unexpectedly quickly, and it’s a bit clumsy walking down the hall, all gangly angles and elbows. Its relationships with others at times seem governed less by reason than by something deeply adolescent. It gets into yelling matches with Dad, or else just sits sullen when it’s caught doing something it shouldn’t. Because it has become, alongside Google, the largest director of human attention in our species’ history, Facebook has impacted pretty much everything in one way or another in the past sesquidecade. But few have felt its force more than the news industry, which has tried at various times to steer into and against its gale-force winds — on net, to little success. So with Facebook celebrating a big day today, I thought it might be useful to look Continue reading "Happy birthday, Facebook! These are the 10 most important moments in your not-so-great relationship with the news industry"

“It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook”


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Happy anniversary, Facebook: Snopes quit your fact-checking partnership. Poynter’s Daniel Funke reported Friday that Snopes has pulled out of the third-party debunking squad Facebook enlisted in 2016. The Associated Press is not currently fact-checking for it either (but apparently hasn’t fully quit), TechCrunch reported. Snopes, the 25-year-old fact-checking site, said Facebook’s system was too manual — not automated enough — for the 16-person organization. “With a manual system and a closed system — it’s impossible to keep on top of that stuff,” Snopes’ VP of operations Vinny Green told Poynter. “It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook. At some point, we need to put our foot down and say, ‘No. You need to build an API.'” (Snopes has its own leadership troubles, which it counts as another Continue reading "“It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook”"

In Japan, a content-sharing platform for publishers aims to even the playing field between big and small


This post is by Tim Hornyak from Nieman Lab


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Social media remains a dominant source of news for consumers in many countries, outpacing newspapers in 2018 in the U.S., where 45 percent of people get news from Facebook. News providers need any edge they can get to compete in a time of declining profitability and fake news. It’s no wonder, then, that outsourcing content management is now seen as an increasingly viable option for digital newsrooms. Jesse Knight, who spent more than seven years building an international-first platform for Vice Media, recently called for a common publishing platform, arguing it would let outlets use their resources more strategically: “If companies can set aside their (considerable) differences and use a single publishing platform, they could collectively mount a winning fight against Facebook.” Nordot is a Tokyo-based joint venture launched in April 2015 with backing from two of Japan’s biggest news companies, Kyodo News Digital and Yahoo Japan. Continue reading "In Japan, a content-sharing platform for publishers aims to even the playing field between big and small"

Spotify is in “advanced talks” to buy Gimlet, at a price the podcast industry has never seen before


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




If I had a podcast, this is when I’d drop an emergency pod, because this is Kristaps Porzingis-level. Recode’s Peter Kafka and The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Mullin and Anne Steele both fired out the story Friday evening that Spotify, the Swedish music streaming company, is apparently in “advanced talks” to acquire Gimlet Media. Both articles cite sources familiar with the matter, and it’s worth noting that the situation remains somewhat fluid. Recode’s Peter Kafka had the story out first (barely), and he has the potential price on the deal: “A person familiar with the proposed deal says Spotify will pay more than $200 million in cash for the company.” I can add to that with a confirmation: A source familiar with the matter tells me that the specific price is $230 million. But the Journal’s story has a crucial detail you shouldn’t miss: “Talks are still ongoing Continue reading "Spotify is in “advanced talks” to buy Gimlet, at a price the podcast industry has never seen before"

The layoffs aren’t over yet, and this time they’re at Vice


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Another sign things are really dire: Vice is trimming 10 percent of its workforce, around 250 people, the Hollywood Reporter first reported. It’s a smaller percentage of the workforce than the 15 percent BuzzFeed started cutting last week, but each company let go more than 200 employees. As of November, Vice had reportedly been on track to bring in between $600 million and $650 million in revenue in 2018 (double BuzzFeed’s amount), but THR says investors are becoming “antsy for the company to find a buyer.” (BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti has floated a merger between the handful of digital media contemporaries, but that consolidation would likely ultimately result in more layoffs.) Nancy Dubuc, who took over as CEO from founder Shane Smith in May, attributed the cuts to a shifting focus
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Continue reading "The layoffs aren’t over yet, and this time they’re at Vice"

Newsonomics: The 2019 newspaper consolidation games continue


This post is by Ken Doctor from Nieman Lab


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Alden’s going to snatch Gannett! No, Gannett’s going to turn the tables and buy Alden’s Digital First Media! But wait, Gannett will reject Alden — is that a real offer? — and turn its attention to merging with Tribune! No, Tribune — having dispatched its CEO Justin Dearborn to clear the way for a deal — will buy Gannett, or accept the kind-of offer from Gannett to buy it, which it rejected last year? But, then, there’s McClatchy in the wings, having been spurned by Tribune at the holidays and now angling for a new deal with Tribune, or Gannett, or maybe someone else! So go the fortunes of four of the six largest U.S. daily newspaper companies. The journalists’ Twitter is alight with Game of Thrones metaphors, but I think that’s misplaced. The action seems more Bravo-esque. Or, more prosaically, as one newspaper company exec told me Continue reading "Newsonomics: The 2019 newspaper consolidation games continue"

Individually, people aren’t great at judging news sources. En masse, they’re almost the same as professional fact-checkers


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




“We find remarkably high agreement between fact-checkers and laypeople.” Building on a draft paper from last year, psychologists Gordon Pennycook and David Rand have a new study showing that people across the political spectrum rate mainstream news sources as more trustworthy than hyperpartisan and fake news sites — and that “politically balanced layperson ratings were strongly correlated with ratings provided by professional fact-checkers.” Herein lies a possible solution for social media companies trying to decide which news content to up-rank: Maybe they could try trusting the crowd. “Incorporating the trust ratings of laypeople into social media ranking algorithms may prove an effective intervention against misinformation, fake news, and news content with heavy political bias,” the authors write. Pennycook and Rand did find “clear partisan differences in trust of mainstream news.” In their studies of about 2,000 people, Democrats were much more likely to trust mainstream media
Continue reading "Individually, people aren’t great at judging news sources. En masse, they’re almost the same as professional fact-checkers"

NewsGuard changed its mind about The Daily Mail’s quality: It’s green now, not red


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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What do the websites of the Daily Mail, RT, and Sputnik no longer have in common? A red (bad) rating from NewsGuard, the startup aiming to filter the internet with trustworthy rankings through a browser extension. Now The Daily Mail’s rating will show as green on a shield when you visit the website with the NewsGuard extension installed — “this website generally maintains basic standards of accuracy and accountability” — just like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Fox News. NewsGuard, the Steve Brill/Gordon Crovitz startup, launched under a year ago with a stoplight system as bumpers for what news sites users should trust and how news sites could be more transparent/media-literacy-friendly. But the 35-member team now says it was wrong about Mail Online, the Daily Mail’s website, the most read news site in the U.K., according to PressGazette:
Continue reading "NewsGuard changed its mind about The Daily Mail’s quality: It’s green now, not red"

2009: The internet is killing (print) journalism. 2019: The internet is killing (internet) journalism


This post is by Jeff Israely from Nieman Lab


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Another news industry person I began to follow back then was Rafat Ali, who’d recently sold his company paidContent to the The Guardian. In the years since, I’ve watched from a distance as Ali builds his current company, travel industry media Skift, to a 60-strong staff with an impressive mix of welcome-to-the-digital-revolution swagger and the razor-focused pragmatism of a mid-sized business owner. Worldcrunch, we might say, is everything and nothing like Skift. Not yet quite a mid-sized business, we are continuing our pivot from that initial news syndication model to a mixed approach that includes digital editorial services for clients, distribution, and a recent focus on photojournalism. We follow our passions, but we’re as pragmatic as Skift, and have finally (and proudly!) gotten our balance sheets to break even. But while both enterprises aim for a global audience and opt for depth and quality over Continue reading "2009: The internet is killing (print) journalism. 2019: The internet is killing (internet) journalism"

Facebook roadblocks ProPublica’s ad transparency tool (gee, what a good time for a safe harbor)


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In a year and a half, ProPublica collected 100,000 Facebook ads — and to whom they were targeted — through a browser extension installed by 16,000 volunteers. Its reporters used the tool to report on the targeting strategies of politicians and political groups, misleading tactics, and the fact that Facebook’s ad archive kept missing the very ads it was supposed to openly store — applying similar analysis as, say, its reporting that Facebook allowed discriminatorily targeted housing ads. Now, Facebook has shut part of that extension down, limiting it to just collect the ad content, not the “Why am I seeing this?” information that we all definitely click on. (Mozilla and Who Targets Me developed similar tools that were also affected.) Here’s ProPublica’s layout of the situation:
Facebook has made minor tweaks before that broke our tool. But this time, Facebook blocked the ability to automatically
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Continue reading "Facebook roadblocks ProPublica’s ad transparency tool (gee, what a good time for a safe harbor)"

Why won’t The New Yorker keep you logged in? Mystery: Solved (kind of)


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Do you like remembering a username and password and typing them over and over on a tiny mobile screen? If so, I recommend a digital subscription to The New Yorker, which in addition to being probably the world’s greatest magazine is also bafflingly incapable of keeping a paying subscriber logged in. If you don’t believe me, ask Twitter. Representative sample:

Has Bill Simmons’ The Ringer figured out the model for podcast success?


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 193, published January 29, 2019. The main event. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published a story that offers some insight into the podcast business over at The Ringer, the digital media operation Bill Simmons founded three years ago. Its podcasting health is something I’ve been wondering about for a while now — partly because their output makes up a disproportionate amount of my own personal listening, but mostly because I just find their rapid, iterative, enthusiasm-driven approach to podcast production compelling. In 2017, I called them one of the most interesting companies in podcasting due to their embrace of the fact that it “isn’t for everybody, but when it’s yours, it’s really, really yours.” From the sounds of the Journal report, headlined “For Bill Simmons’ The Ringer, Podcasting is the Main Event,” things are looking pretty Continue reading "Has Bill Simmons’ The Ringer figured out the model for podcast success?"

BuzzFeed laid off its Director of Quizzes because lots of people are willing to make quizzes for free


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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The impact of the deeper-than-expected multi-day cuts to BuzzFeed continue, with more layoffs being announced via tweet, with more of today’s seeming to come from the buzz side of the operation rather than the news side (which was hit hard on Friday).

Hot potato, hot potato: Alden Global Capital now reportedly wants to offload Digital First Media on Gannett


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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After attempting a hostile takeover of Gannett, vulture fund Alden Global Capital is reportedly trying to offload its Digital First Media group…to Gannett, the New York Post first reported on Saturday. This whiplash apparently comes from the company’s lack of actual funds to absorb Gannett and its apparent desperation to sell off its investment, according to the Post’s sources:
Last week, MNG, better known as Digital First Media, sent shudders through the media industry with a $1.4 billion hostile takeover bid for Gannett, the company that owns 100 newspapers nationwide, including USA Today. But many insiders are skeptical whether MNG’s owner, Alden Global Capital, can raise the money it needs to make good on its Jan. 14 offer to buy Gannett for $12 a share, a 23-percent premium to Gannett’s stock price a day earlier. “Buying Gannett is a tall task…I’m not sure Alden can get the financing to Continue reading "Hot potato, hot potato: Alden Global Capital now reportedly wants to offload Digital First Media on Gannett"

Newspapers cost more than twice as much today as they did a decade ago (and that was a smart move by publishers)


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




If you’ve been a daily print newspaper subscriber for any length of time — whether it’s a seven-day morning habit you’ve had for decades or a Sunday-only New York Times subscription you have mainly so your four-year-old will sometimes see Dada reading something other than a screen :raised_hand: — you’ve noticed prices have gone nowhere but up. A seven-day print subscription to the Times will now run you over $1,000 a year in much of the country. A subscription to The Boston Globe here in Cambridge will run you about $750 a year. The Washington Post or The Dallas Morning News will each run you about $650. And if you’re in that dying breed of single-copy buyers at a newsstand or coffee shop, those four papers would cost you, on a weekday, $3, $2.50, $2, and $2.49, respectively. Those prices have gone up fast. As recently as 2013
Continue reading "Newspapers cost more than twice as much today as they did a decade ago (and that was a smart move by publishers)"