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."
I missed a Crain’s interview, they tried leaking my addy
I donate to the schools next, they call me a deadbeat daddy
But Sun-Times get in that Rauner business
I got a hit-list so long I don’t know how to finish
I bought the Chicagoist just to run you racist bitches out of business
“I’m extremely excited to be continuing the work of the Chicagoist, an integral local platform for Chicago news, events and entertainment,” Chance said in a statement. “WNYC’s commitment to finding homes for the ‘ist’ brands, including Chicagoist, was an essential part of continuing the legacy and integrity of the site. I look forward to relaunching it and bringing the people of Chicago an independent media outlet Continue reading "Chance the Rapper, Chance the Philanthropist, and now Chance the Publisher"
Tronc is getting smaller. Tronc is getting bigger. And some say Tronc may not be Tronc all that much longer.
Welcome to the odd world of newspaper economics. The question of who owns daily newspapers, especially chains, has moved to the forefront this year, as Alden Global Capital’s grip on The Denver Post has caused an unprecedented uproar.
Change, of course, is nothing new to Tronc. Born under some astrological sign of chaos two years ago, a morphed iteration of Tribune Publishing, the company is now looking at what would be its most significant changes yet — which could come as soon as in the next several weeks.
In that time period, we’ll likely see Patrick Soon-Shiong, the one-time Tronc vice chairman, finally close on his nearly $600 million buy of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune. Expect that news — if all continues to go smoothly — Continue reading "Newsonomics: Tronc’s selling, and buying, and just generally shapeshifting"
Tweetstorms are usually the work of one person, but what if you could bring other voices in too? That’s what The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and Chicago Tribune did this week: They worked together to tweet about the riots that followed Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.
The threaded tweets linked back to the papers’ own coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination and how it affected their respective cities. Here’s the Post’s coverage, here’s the Sun’s, and here’s the Tribune’s.
Fifty years ago today, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was slain in Memphis.
It almost sounds like a riddle: What’s a Tronc without the L.A. Times?
As the Tronc sale of the Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune finalizes, now most likely in mid-April, the next question arises: What becomes of Tronc? Its eight remaining titles own an impressive history and still play important roles in their cities: the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, the New York Daily News, The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., and The Daily Press in Newport, Virginia. But Tronc as a company appears at sea. Sensing “blood in the water,” several media banker firms are now actively looking for would-be buyers, several top newspaper executives have confirmed to me this week. While Tronc itself hasn’t announced any “strategic review” or the hiring of its own banker for a would-be sale, more than a half-dozen industry Continue reading "Newsonomics: Is Tronc about to go on the market?"
As the response was fairly positive to my original post on headline engagement and best practices, I wanted to share a few more examples before I moved on to other topics.
After the first piece, I received a lot of nice comments, it was republished here at MediaShift and I even got a chance to ramble on about headlines to the awesome staff at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. As an aside, I now have a pretty slick Google Slides version of my thoughts on this topic!
But as I continued to talk about headlines, I kept finding new and better case studies. So what follows really is more of an addendum to the first post, a final notebook dump of sorts, where we at the Chicago Tribune took digitally deficient headlines and really focused on drawing out the compelling aspects.
As before, in
On Thursday, Michael Ferro solidified his control of Tronc, the company he seized a more tentative kind of control of just 13 months ago, deposing then-Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin in a quick coup de press. This week’s move looked financial, but too, speaks deeply to power and control.
Officially, Tronc paid $56.2 million — more than 25 percent of the company’s $200 million cash holdings as of the end of 2016 — to buy out the remaining shares of Oaktree Capital. Tronc paid $15 per share, a 14 percent premium to the day’s closing market price. Getting that deal done wasn’t easy for Ferro, as Oaktree — a long-time major holder of Tribune, then Tribune Publishing, then Tronc shares — demanded and got an even better deal, one unusual in “stock buyback” transactions. Within the next year, should Tronc itself be sold for more than $15 per share, Continue reading "Newsonomics: Michael Ferro’s creeping privatization of Tronc"
Yesterday, CNN’s Jake Tappersternly condemned reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be heading to Asia without the press. As we explained then, the trip is an important one given what’s going on in North Korea right now.
Tapper wasn’t alone in being shocked and agitated, though. According to Poynter, which can also be very stern, on Tuesday, the D.C. bureau chiefs of news organizations like Fox News, CNN, NPR, the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal sent a letter to the State Department to outline their concerns and request a meeting to discuss press access to Tillerson on trips abroad.
Is the Donald Trump era — an era teeming with existential uncertainty for the media — also an opportunity for reinvention? Reporters and editors from prominent news organizations waded through challenges of being journalists in the current political (and technological) climate at a Harvard University event on Tuesday evening. Speakers from outlets from The Huffington Post to the Chicago Tribune to The Weekly Standard shared a mix of measured optimism, cautionary tales, calls for greater empathy, and new resolve for the possibilities that lie ahead.
We have posted full transcripts of the event here, but here’s an overview of some of what was discussed.
Disintermediation, demagoguery, and debility
Bill Kristol, the conservative political analyst and founder of The Weekly Standard, focused his remarks around three themes: disintermediation, demagoguery, and debility.
Social media and the internet have, Kristol said, crippled the media’s traditional role as gatekeepers of information:
Editor’s note: On Tuesday, some very smart and accomplished people from the world of media gathered in a packed Sanders Theater to discuss the role of journalism in what some, at least, label a “post-truth” era. Today we’re publishing transcripts of their talks and conversations.
Here, Lolly Bowean, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and a current Nieman Fellow at Harvard, reminds us why journalism matters through retelling the impact of a single story — and describing a vision of journalism as a force for cultural unity, not division. You can find transcripts of all the speakers and our other coverage of the event here.
This article was originally published on Medium.
Let’s start with the obvious: Most news sites are in a headline crisis.
It’s truly a crisis because your headline is the first — and maybe the best — shot you have at attracting a reader.
Yet many headlines look like the ones above.
Honestly, based on those examples, it’s hard to argue against Will Oremus’ case in Slate that “local media routinely fails to emphasize the most interesting aspect of amazing news stories.”
“(Media organizations are) laboring under the mistaken assumption that the role of a headline is to summarize a few relevant facts from a story that people will read regardless. That assumption is a relic of a time when people’s choice of news sources was constrained by the few newspapers or magazines they happened to subscribe to, or the few channels available in their basic cable package. Even then, I’m
Donald Trump‘s fascination with daughter Ivanka Trump‘s sex appeal is nothing new. His comments regarding her appearance were featured in a campaign ad prior to his election. Comments of his regarding how much he loves kissing her and how much more sexually attracted he was to her than his own wife when she was only 13 years old have been reportedly scrubbed from television and newspapers. He once assuredHoward Stern that it was fine to call her “a piece of ass.”
Now, proving Ivanka’s own point that when it comes to her father, “what you hear is what you get,” a journalist named Sarah Kendzior has found the young woman’s response to her dad’s comments.
Despite having endorsed the longtime Illinois Republican Senator a whopping six times, The Chicago Tribune declined to endorse Mark Kirk Friday because he suffered a stroke in 2012.
The Tribune admitted that Kirk was the candidate they’d support based solely on the issues. “His positions mirror those of mainstream Illinois voters and, frankly, of this editorial page,” they wrote. He’s a socially moderate, fiscally conservative Republican. He supports policies that would reduce the national debt, curb deficit spending and downsize government.”
However, “while a stroke by no means disqualifies anyone from public office, we cannot tiptoe around the issue of Kirk’s recovery and readiness,” they write in the endorsement of his Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth. “His health is a fundamental component of this race — a hotly contested matchup that could return control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats.”
“We aren’t physicians; Kirk’s doctor attests to his Continue reading "Chicago Tribune Won’t Endorse GOP Senator Mark Kirk Because He Suffered a Stroke"
In a surprising move Friday, The Chicago Tribuneendorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson for president.
The Tribune had already written in March that they could not and would not endorse Donald Trump. They wrote Friday that Hillary Clinton was not nearly as bad as Trump, but because of “her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust… we cannot endorse her.”
“Clinton’s vision of ever-expanding government is in such denial of our national debt crisis as to be fanciful,” they write. “Rather than run as a practical-minded Democrat as in 2008, this year she lurched left, pandering to match the Free Stuff agenda of then-rival Bernie Sanders. She has positioned herself so far to the left on spending that her presidency would extend the political schism that has divided America for some 24 years.” Also troubling, they write, is Clinton’s history of dishonesty, both about her Continue reading "Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson for President"