The Outline built itself on being “weird.” But is it weird enough to survive?

There are some sites that everyone roots for. Scrappy, beloved. See: The Awl. The Toast. Or not so scrappy, but beloved still. See: Grantland. When they shut down, people mourn them. Then there’s The Outline. In April 2016, Joshua Topolsky wrote a Medium post entitled “Your media business will not be saved.” Topolsky, the cofounder of The Verge, had left his position as Bloomberg’s top digital editor several months before. “Your problem,” he told his fellow media people, “is that you make shit”:
A lot of shit. Cheap shit. And no one cares about you or your cheap shit. And an increasingly aware, connected, and mutable audience is onto your cheap shit. They don’t want your cheap shit. They want the good shit. And they will go to find it somewhere. Hell, they’ll even pay for it. The truth is that the best and most important things the
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Continue reading "The Outline built itself on being “weird.” But is it weird enough to survive?"

A Chorus of publishers: Vox Media onboards the Chicago Sun-Times as its first licensee since launch

There are few things that can drive as much nerdy-media debate as the Microsoft Word versus Google Docs battle, circa October 2018. Slate’s “Journalists Just Can’t Quit Microsoft Word. But Some Are Trying” (with the A+ “We’re not quite ready to Accept This Change” subhead) Continue reading "A Chorus of publishers: Vox Media onboards the Chicago Sun-Times as its first licensee since launch"

Here are the local news organizations boosted in Facebook’s membership accelerator

After leading a cohort of metropolitan newspapers through a subscriptions accelerator this year, Facebook is now kicking off its next round, focused this time on membership in nonprofit and digital-only local news organizations. The membership accelerator, now one of three different threads in Facebook’s olive-branch programming for local news, started with an in-person gathering in Austin late last month and continues for three months. Facebook extended the subscriptions accelerator, piloted with 14 newsrooms beginning in February, throughout the rest of 2018 and is transitioning it to a retention focus in 2019. The programming is led by former Texas Tribune publisher/New York Times digital strategy exectuive/now independent media consultant Tim Griggs (he spoke with us about the training earlier this year) and a group of industry coaches and experts including the Christian Science Monitor’s David Grant and Mother Jones’ Brian Hiatt. Participants receive grant funding, attend regular webinars, and Continue reading "Here are the local news organizations boosted in Facebook’s membership accelerator"

Venture philanthropy for local news might not be as scary as it sounds

An incomplete list of attempts to finance local news: Swallow that bile in your throat — at least for the last item. Local news is swimming in quite the pickle juice, as we’ve documented here before. Two of the brains behind a couple nonprofit, mission-driven, local-centric news organizations think venture philanthropy could help similar outlets get closer to the bullseye of sustainable local news as a public good.

Are billionaires trying to swipe local news again? (Nope.)

The concept is called the American Journalism Project, Continue reading "Venture philanthropy for local news might not be as scary as it sounds"

The Trust Project adds another batch of sites to its effort to increase news transparency

The Trust Project, which launched last November as an effort to provide more clarity around who’s behind news by labeling articles with “nutrition label” indicators like author expertise and type of story, announced Tuesday that it’s added a bunch of new publisher partners. (You’d be forgiven for forgetting exactly which one The Trust Project is. Here’s our guide to a whole lot of similarly named initiatives.)
The additional news partners more than double the number of existing news organizations implementing the Trust Indicators. In the United States and Canada, the Trust Indicators can now be seen on sites hosted by the Bay Area News Group, CBC News, Heavy.com, The Toronto Star, TEGNA, Voice of Orange County, The Walrus and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism; and in Europe, on those of Corriere della Sera (Italy), El País (Spain), Il Sole 24 Ore. (Italy), Kathimerini (Greece), Orb Media (International),
Continue reading "The Trust Project adds another batch of sites to its effort to increase news transparency"

What is up with Apple’s screwy (and seemingly scammy) podcast charts?

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 180, published October 9, 2018. Have the Apple podcast charts felt weirder lately? Here’s a familiar scene: I’m trying to pass the time, so I pull up the Apple podcast charts to see what the youths are up to. (Ha.) This was my Sunday afternoon, and by that point, I hadn’t looked at the charts in a good few weeks. Part of this has to do with the way I learn about new projects these days: press releases, emails, text messages, phone calls, even a postcard once. But it mostly has to do with the fact that I haven’t found the Apple Podcast charts particularly useful in quite some time. Not for my purposes, anyway. On Sunday afternoon, this is what I saw: There’s a scene in The Matrix where that one creepy white dude looks at Continue reading "What is up with Apple’s screwy (and seemingly scammy) podcast charts?"

Stat, with subscriptions nearing 50 percent of revenue, looks to big companies for more members

Is man flu real? Is jet lag worse when you’re traveling east? Does smoking pot make you stupid? These are interesting questions, all of which appeared at one point in “Gut Check,” a column from health/medicine/life science site Stat. The column aimed to go “beyond the headlines to make sense of scientific claims.” But the last Gut Check column ran on December 20, 2017. “We cut it because we felt as if it was verging on WebMD a little too much,” said Rick Berke, Stat’s executive editor. “We needed to sharpen who our audience was, and that [column] felt a little too general…We’ve become focused a little more on the paying subscribers.” Nearly three years in, the audience for Stat — and its premium membership product, the $299/year (or $35/month) Stat Plus — is becoming more clear. It turns out, not surprisingly, that most of the Continue reading "Stat, with subscriptions nearing 50 percent of revenue, looks to big companies for more members"