Dog-eared MP3s: The podcast and book publishing industries are finding new ways to cross-pollinate

Audible has long been a horizontal curiosity for the podcast industry, given its hiring of former NPR programming VP Eric Nuzum in mid-2015 and subsequent rollout of the Audible Originals and “Channels” strategy in mid-2016, which saw the company release products that some, like myself, perceived as comparable to and competitive with the kinds of products you’d get from the podcast ecosystem. This signing of authors like Lewis to audiobook-first deals appears to be a ramping up of an alternate original programming strategy, one that sees Audible leaning more heavily into the preexisting nature of its core relationships with the book publishing industry and the book-buying audience. It might also be a consequence of a reshuffle at the executive decision-making level: In late 2017, the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that chief content officer Andrew Gaies and chief revenue officer Will Lopes had unexpectedly stepped down resigned from their posts.
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What kind of information — not just content — do you need as a news consumer?

For all the questions journalists ask, sometimes one of the most important ones can get lost in the shuffle: What do you, as a reader/​listener/​viewer/​news absorber, need? The self-authority of journalists has been banged about for years and I’m not here to beat the drum any further. But while groups like Hearken, GroundSource, the Coral Project, and more have pulled out ways for journalists to ask their audiences what they wanted to learn, newsrooms haven’t always been keen on asking people what they need to know. Weather and traffic reports are always helpful, and in-depth philosophical takes on community issues can be valuable, but Sarah Alvarez wanted to find the sweet spot between. “There’s some kind of middle ground there: It’s not ‘Where is this thing’ and it’s not like ‘I wonder why people are racist’,” she said. “It’s something in the middle which is where news Continue reading "What kind of information — not just content — do you need as a news consumer?"

YouTube has a plan to boost “authoritative” news sources and give grants to news video operations

Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday announced a few improvements it intends to make to the news discovery and viewing experience. The platform has had a bit of a bad run recently: surfacing videos that accuse mass-shooting survivors of being crisis actors, hosting disturbing videos targeting children, encouraging radicalizing behaviors through its recommendation algorithm, frustrating content creators trying to figure out monetization on the platform, blindsiding Wikipedia by saying it would use it to provide context and debunking. (YouTube employees themselves came under attack in April, when a woman shot three people at its headquarters in San Francisco before killing herself.) The post about the platform’s coming changes, rosily titled “Building a better news experience on YouTube, together,” outlines new initiatives, including $25 million worth of grants for news organizations around the world to build out their video operations and tests of local news boosts in YouTube’s connected
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The Washington Post wants to figure out the best places to put ads in your favorite podcasts

So I can’t say that I like this. To begin with, the podcast CMS market is fairly crowded already (see: Libsyn, Art19, Megaphone, Simplecast, PRX’s Dovetail, Spreaker, CastPlus, so on and so forth), and many of those solutions already allow for dynamic ad insertion. Furthermore, I generally have reservations about programmatic ads in podcasting (see here for more on that), and my concerns are doubled should the push come from a company that, up until this point, has primarily operated in a display-ad–first digital world. Eh, maybe I’m not being generous enough here. In any case, there is one potential positive thing that I’m curious: I wonder how this technology will fit into the Post audio team’s various dabblings with smart-speaker programming. Meanwhile, elsewhere. I filed two interviews for Vulture last week, one pegged to a beginning and the other pegged to an end. (1) The first looks at Continue reading "The Washington Post wants to figure out the best places to put ads in your favorite podcasts"

Tell me more: The Globe and Mail is slipping a little extra context into its stories (while explaining its editorial thinking along the way)

The Canadian national daily The Globe and Mail is testing a new feature that could enhance readers’ understanding of its online stories — and of the mechanics of its journalism. Susan Krashinsky Robertson, normally a marketing and media reporter at the Globe, has taken a three-month leave from her reporting duties to test expandable, in-article explainers called Globe Primers. Krashinsky Robertson said this feature aims to work as both an explainer tool and a transparency tool. “The idea behind this project is really not dumbing down the news, but the idea is that no matter how intelligent a reader is, no matter how engaged with the news they are, we all have gaps in our knowledge,” Krashinsky Robertson said.

Newsonomics: What’s next for the L.A. Times, and a few other questions of the moment for the news business

How do we respond to tragedy? That question is never far from the work of journalists, and Friday’s Annapolis Capital Gazette assault only made it more intimate, with journalists becoming one with the story they’ve covered time and again. Numerous journalists responded to the murder of five of their own by restating the truths of local journalism. The humorist Dave Barry (“Sorry, I’m not feeling funny today — my heart aches for slain journalists“) captured it as well as anyone:
There are over 1,000 daily newspapers in the United States, most of them covering smaller markets, like Annapolis or West Chester. The people working for these newspapers aren’t seeking fame, and they aren’t pushing political agendas. They’re covering the communities they live in — the city councils, the police and fire departments, the courts, the school boards, the Continue reading "Newsonomics: What’s next for the L.A. Times, and a few other questions of the moment for the news business"

Could Google’s new podcast app change the way we understand the Average Podcast Listener?

Editor’s note: Hot Pod is a weekly newsletter on the podcasting industry written by Nick Quah; we happily share it with Nieman Lab readers each Tuesday.

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 165, published June 19, 2018. In play. The hope had always been for more. Or, at least, for another. On Tuesday, Google officially launched its standalone podcast app for Android. As of right now, it is available for download in the Google Play store. This was well expected, given the steady drumbeat of preview posts that Google had collaborated with the branded podcast studio Pacific Content to produce and publish. Those write-ups laid out how the search giant viewed its place in the audio universe, how it might contribute to the easing of its frictions, and how it might move to own a piece of the whole thing. And then there was Continue reading "Could Google’s new podcast app change the way we understand the Average Podcast Listener?"