Local public meetings are a scrape and a tap away, on City Bureau’s Documenters tool


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Public meetings — now there’s an app for that. We’ve seen relationships between news organizations and news consumers expand from tossing in a few bucks for a subscription to chipping in a few more for the journalistic mission to even volunteering their services in support of the news cause. City Bureau’s Documenters program has taken another tack, coaching and paying $15/hour to residents to attend and record notes from public meetings to build a stronger public record — and asking volunteer civic coders to help construct its scraping system. Now its tool for scraping, tracking, and documenting meetings is centralized and accessible for anyone else who wants to use it — but the journalists are still trying to figure out the best way to incorporate it into newsroom workflows. “We’re able to source that information and summarize it and package it in a way that allows organizations to get at
Continue reading "Local public meetings are a scrape and a tap away, on City Bureau’s Documenters tool"

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


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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"

10,000 members, more big donors, new kinds of readers: Here’s where the Texas Tribune wants to be by 2025


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




If you like newsroom innovation documents, you’ll love this: The Texas Tribune on Wednesday released its first-ever strategic plan, outlining where it wants to be by 2025. The nine-year-old nonprofit’s entire staff has been working on the document for nearly a year. (You can compare and contrast with the piece we ran in 2014 looking back at the strategic shifts of the Tribune’s first five years.) Here are some of the highlights and goals of the 3,000-plus-word report.

After crowdfunding success, Swiss magazine Republik charts a course to “reclaim journalism as a profession”


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In its first seven hours of existence, the Swiss online news magazine Republik — a startup with the allure of in-depth journalism and membership transparency — gained 3,000 subscribers and 750,000 Swiss francs. But that whirlwind of support created a new pressure: delivering on its promise. Thirteen months (and thousands more members) later, Republik is living up to the hype, reporting substantive investigations and finding new ways to engage and collaborate with readers — like virtual “dinner parties” to discuss the impact of its work. “If you don’t have democracy, if you don’t have really good information that you can cite, there’s a problem,” Susanne Sugimoto, Republik’s CEO, told me. She calls 20 Minutes, the free Tamedia tabloid read by about half the country each week, “a business success story, but it’s not a success story in terms of journalism with a deep quality.” Members of the Continue reading "After crowdfunding success, Swiss magazine Republik charts a course to “reclaim journalism as a profession”"

Dutch news organization De Correspondent is getting more money toward its global expansion


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Dutch darling De Correspondent got its start in the Netherlands in 2013 as a wildly successful crowdfunded news site promising ad-free, in-depth journalism and close reader participation in the reporting process. It’s now a few steps closer to launching its English-language global counterpart here in the U.S. On Monday, the organization announced that it’s received $950,000 in funding from the Omidyar Network. De Correspondent now has $1.8 million total behind its global expansion (New York University professor Jay Rosen is working with it on these efforts, and studying member-funded journalism best practices through the Membership Puzzle Project). Blue State Digital (which ran digital strategy for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns) and Dutch design studio Momkai (a founding partner of De Correspondent) will help spread the word about its global edition The Correspondent, cofounder and CEO of De Correspondent Ernst-Jan Pfauth wrote in a post announcing the Continue reading "Dutch news organization De Correspondent is getting more money toward its global expansion"

Medium abruptly cancels the membership programs of its 21 remaining subscription publisher partners


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Medium has informed publishers using its platform to offer paid memberships that it’s ending that feature. An email at the end of last month from Medium’s head of partnerships Basil Enan told publishers that the company was planning to discontinue memberships in May. “We were among the first to sell memberships on Medium, among the few local organizations working with them,” Chris Faraone, founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, told me. “We’ve had an arrangement with them for two years. I’m not saying they don’t have a right to break it. We’ve been scaling back, trying to get people to other platforms anyway. But it’d be nice to have more of a heads up.” (Faraone also works as the news and features editor of alt-weekly DigBoston.) “Our experience in dealing with a lot of these tech-oriented operations is that there’s some good reception, Continue reading "Medium abruptly cancels the membership programs of its 21 remaining subscription publisher partners"

Zetland’s members asked for an audio version — and now it’s more popular than their written stories


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




— A feather boa, an inflatable cactus, and a pair of zebra masks appeared on a stage (no, really) as a drummer began tapping away at cymbals. A medley of viral videos played behind a man standing downstage, whose monologue on the “attention war” in technology had just been interrupted by this impromptu parade. Granted, this all happened in Danish — but the language of technology overload is universal. But how often do you see journalists broach the topic of content overconsumption with their audiences? This was the 13th Zetland Live, the in-person performance showcase of Copenhagen-based, membership-driven news outlet Zetland, and the monologue-giver was Zetland’s cofounder and audio editor Hakon Mosbech. I couldn’t tell you what he said, but the audience seemed to respond enthusiastically. It’s at events like these that Mosbech and other Zetland journalists have gotten to know their members face-to-face. And it’s where Continue reading "Zetland’s members asked for an audio version — and now it’s more popular than their written stories"

Can a news organization provide the service of feeling connected through its membership program?


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Moving can mean losing your network. Moving to a different country can almost guarantee that. Can a niche news organization focused on those recent relocaters help readers find a new sense of belonging — and help the organization develop reader revenue through a membership program? As an international organization with a local focus, The Local Europe caters to English-speaking expats trying to resettle in a new country and culture. Its sites in nine countries discuss topics from navigating the apartment market in Sweden to cultural bathroom habits — all centered on how to make this new place your home. So why not get an extra dose of community by joining their membership program, and supporting their journalism while you’re at it? That’s part of the pitch Paul O’Mahony and the rest of The Local Europe’s team are making to readers in their top three markets, joining the train of Continue reading "Can a news organization provide the service of feeling connected through its membership program?"

How can local independent news orgs build successful membership programs?


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Would free pizzas offered by a local pizza restaurant entice you to subscribe to your hyperlocal online news source? That’s one approach Covering Katy, an online news outlet in Katy, Texas, has been taking to drum up local support, they shared at the Center for Cooperative Media‘s Reader Revenue Summit in partnership with LION Publishers on Friday. (The pizzeria can make money from drinks, appetizers, or other dishes the patrons buy when they go in for the pizza.) The summit brought together people from 50 local independent online news orgs to brainstorm about developing and strengthening membership or subscription models at Montclair State University. Most local news sites haven’t benefited from the Trump bump many national sites have. On top of that, local news sites that became nonprofits (think The Tulsa Frontier, Rivard Report, and Honolulu Civil Beat) realized they needed to pull funding
?
?
Continue reading "How can local independent news orgs build successful membership programs?"

For public radio stations, “membership” mostly means “money”


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




News organizations’ membership initiatives need to be about engagement and relationships, not just money: That’s one of the tenets of the Membership Puzzle Project, a one-year research project that NYU’s Jay Rosen launched last May to help figure out what the “social contract between journalists and members” should look like. MPP released a report last month on the news membership model; this week, it released more research about how membership programs are working at public radio stations. There’s an overview report by Anika Gupta and a database of 50 public radio sites and their membership models by Corinne Osnos. A couple of tidbits and trends from the two posts: — All nine public radio stations that Gupta spoke with run pledge drives at least once a year. But pledge drives don’t have to be long:
New York Public Radio (WNYC) told us about the abbreviated, “warp speed” pledge drives Continue reading "For public radio stations, “membership” mostly means “money”"

On the Pactio platform, loyal readers follow and fund their favorite individual beat reporters


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A majority of Americans may find “the news media” broadly to be untrustworthy. But they feel differently when asked about the news outlets they regularly read. That’s a gap Pactio wants to address. “There’s been lot of frustration that trust in news organizations, and institutions, is declining, and the root of that problem is that, in general, people tend to trust their fellow human beings more than they trust institutions and organizations,” said Adriano Farano, who will be based out of Stanford and is working on Pactio, a funding and reporting platform for individual journalists, as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Lenfest Institute. Farano began exploring the model for Pactio after the 2016 U.S. election. “So I thought, how about we create a place where an individual journalist can form some sort of ‘pact’ directly with their audience? You have a reporter who says, ‘I’m going to cover Continue reading "On the Pactio platform, loyal readers follow and fund their favorite individual beat reporters"

Last blog standing, “last guy dancing”: How Jason Kottke is thinking about kottke.org at 20


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In 2013, Jason Kottke wrote a prediction for Nieman Lab’s year-end roundup: “The blog is dead, long live the blog.” Kottke was then (and still is) owner of one of the longest continuously running blogs on the web: kottke.org, founded in 1998. “Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice,” he wrote. “Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.” Kottke.org, however, is decidedly still a blog. It also celebrates its twentieth birthday this year. I spoke with Kottke about the Continue reading "Last blog standing, “last guy dancing”: How Jason Kottke is thinking about kottke.org at 20"

A new report offers a primer (and a reality check) on the news membership model


This post is by Ricardo Bilton from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




News organizations across the board have largely embraced the notion that the future of digital news will be lighter on advertising and heavier on subscriptions and other forms of reader support. Less clear, though, is what that ideal audience revenue model will look like, and, for the organizations that currently lack one, the best route to make the business shift happen. A new report from from Elizabeth Hansen at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and Emily Goligoski at the Membership Puzzle Project offers more clarity. A product of hundreds of conversations with newsroom managers, reporters, and even members themselves, the 121-page report offers a lot of insight into what makes an effective reader revenue model work, and a framework for how news organizations can implement their own. The report was written to give news organizations a clearer picture of “the limitations and sheer amount of effort that goes into Continue reading "A new report offers a primer (and a reality check) on the news membership model"

Who needs video? Slate is pivoting to audio, and making real money doing it


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




2017 proved to be an interesting year for Slate Podcasts. Most prominently, it struck a curious partnership with Studio 360 last summer, taking over coproduction and digital distribution responsibilities from WNYC (where the show had been housed since its launch in 2000) as well as physically bringing the team into its offices. The network also steadily rolled out a suite of new shows, including a Spanish-language Gabfest and a few highly-produced narrative projects. One such narrative project was Slow Burn, the Leon Neyfakh-led narrative podcast that sought to capture a sense of how it felt to live through Watergate, which I largely enjoyed and reviewed for Vulture last week. It turned out to be a hit for the company — not just as a standalone podcast project, but also as a lead-generation vessel for its membership program, Slate Plus. Even though the core Slow Burn experience is available Continue reading "Who needs video? Slate is pivoting to audio, and making real money doing it"

To make fundraising appeals more appealing, Mother Jones turns them into stories readers want to read


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




December is the season for fundraising appeals. In an inbox awash with individual appeals from publishers, standing out is tough, and brevity seems the obvious way to go. Mother Jones has found success instead in longform essays — as long as as a couple of thousand words — about the process and work of journalism, and about the changing economics of the journalism industry. “I won’t beat around the bush: December is our most important fundraising month, and I hope that by the time you finish reading this, you will consider joining in (or renewing your support) with a tax-deductible donation,” Monika Bauerlein, Mother Jones’ CEO, wrote in her latest appeal for December, titled “It’s a Perfect Storm for Destroying Journalism.” “But whether or not you’re ready to pitch in, I hope you’ll keep on reading, because this story is about a lot more than Mother Jones. Continue reading "To make fundraising appeals more appealing, Mother Jones turns them into stories readers want to read"

Want to write for Publish.org? Every step of the process — from pitching to edits to payment — will be open


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




If you want to write for the new collaborative, public journalism site Publish.org, you should be open to showing your work. The Publish.org platform, which had been testing its backend and workflow with a smaller group of writers in closed beta over the past few months, opened up last week to all contributors — people who want to write, people who want to donate, people who want to review other people’s works-in-progress, or all of the above. How well the model will work ultimately depends on how active its contributors are willing to be, and the platform offers several avenues of participating. Anyone can register and write a piece, and then await public feedback from other Publish.org members (hello, Medium). The bulk of the work that appears on the site, however, will be through its public commissioning process, according to Publish.org editor Sarah Hartley. (Hartley,
Continue reading "Want to write for Publish.org? Every step of the process — from pitching to edits to payment — will be open"

Three years in, Discourse Media looks to membership to power its national expansion


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Can a “scrappy West Coast startup” go national in an expansion based on crowd investment and a membership platform drawing on artificial intelligence? There are a lot of ingredients in that mix. As my colleague Shan Wang noted in Nieman Lab’s earlier coverage of Discourse Media, a “full-service” digital journalism organization based in Vancouver, Discourse does a bit of everything. CEO and editor-in-chief Erin Millar co-founded the company with two fellow beat reporters to develop a space for more enterprising, investigative stories in 2014; the company now employs more than a dozen people. The founders have spent the past 18 months researching and preparing for their national, membership-supported push. “It’s been a ton of support from every corner that I didn’t expect,” Millar said, days after announcing the expansion and opening the low-bar investing platform that encourages investment from ordinary Canadians as well as professional investors. “[The Canadian news Continue reading "Three years in, Discourse Media looks to membership to power its national expansion"

Asking members to support its journalism (no prizes, no swag), The Guardian raises more reader revenue than ad dollars


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Instead of using tote bags, tickets to live events, or other swag, The Guardian‘s membership program has grown to 800,000 supporters a year and a half after doubling down on its membership initiative. The key? A shift from a commercially focused plea to an emotional, service-based request, the two women leading the effort said. “Our appeal is very much an appeal from The Guardian,” Amanda Michel, deputy executive editor of membership and senior product manager for acquisitions and data technology, said. “It doesn’t speak to the section they’re in. It doesn’t speak to what they read. It speaks to the heart of the Guardian’s moment.” Financial difficulties struck The Guardian, the London-based, trust-owned international news organization, in recent years, with the print-to-digital advertising downturn that wracked news industries around the world. It had also taken on an ambitious plan to expand internationally following its coverage of Edward
Continue reading "Asking members to support its journalism (no prizes, no swag), The Guardian raises more reader revenue than ad dollars"

Beating the 404 death knell: Singapore news startups struggle to cover costs and find their footing


This post is by Sherwin Chua from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




It wasn’t much of a surprise when the Singapore news startup The Middle Ground announced recently that they were shutting down. The site, which managed to pull in a mere $2,200 a month from patrons, couldn’t sustain the overhead of a news business that was only founded in June of 2015. “The chances of failure are very high,” The Middle Ground’s publisher Daniel Yap told me. “But if you ask me if we have achieved what we set out to do, I’d say yes. We set out with the mission to do great journalism, and to do it independently. I think we have succeeded.” The Middle Ground is the latest casualty of Singapore’s aversion to independent media. So far, politics and news reporting don’t seem to make for a viable business in the country. A recent survey by the Institute of Policy Studies found that more than a third Continue reading "Beating the 404 death knell: Singapore news startups struggle to cover costs and find their footing"

Stung by Medium’s pivot, The Establishment powers up for a membership-driven future


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Establishment isn’t the first media organization to put a feminist lens on current events and issues, and it won’t be the last. But it did bring on 900 paid members within nine months, has reached over a million monthly pageviews, and is on track to grow “fivefold” in the next 18 months, its cofounders say. Not bad for an outlet that just experienced a remarkable stroke of bad luck: moving all its content to Medium on the very same day Medium announced layoffs of a third of its staff. An alum of Matter’s recent accelerator class, The Establishment came to life as the rage-child of Kelley Calkins, Katie Tandy, and Nikki Gloudeman. Their experience working at a different feminist-focused news outlet with frustrating finances and leadership inspired them to create a brand from scratch that pledges to be a platform for marginalized voices, transparent finances, and Continue reading "Stung by Medium’s pivot, The Establishment powers up for a membership-driven future"