Newsonomics: The Washington Post’s ambitions for Arc have grown — to a Bezosian scale

In the blink of a digital era, The Washington Post’s Arc publishing platform has sprinted from an experiment to a full-on strategic business. Arc is now used by more than 30 clients operating more than 100 sites on four continents. It’s not the industry standard, but it’s not too early to call it an industry standard. But its ambitions are still nowhere near met. Now the Post is moving Arc into a new phase, talking of a connective effect that could impact the face of the business formerly known as “newspapering.” Arc wants to be more than a technology stack — it wants to be a network. “Arc is reaching a critical mass of most of the advertising markets in the United States, the major markets,” Shailesh Prakash, chief product and information officer for the Post, told me recently, listing off cities where it has customers — New
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12 prototypes, eight weeks, and lots of tapping: What’s worked (and hasn’t) in the BBC’s quest for new storytelling formats

Pardon the irony of reading a more-than-800-word article about finding better story formats than 800-word articles. You see, while this might be a somewhat effective way for us to communicate with you, lovely Nieman Lab readers, it isn’t the most effective for the breadth of the BBC’s audience. Though journalists might be trained to write in chunks like this, some readers — especially young’ins — need information that comes in a more deliberate format. As Tristan Ferne, the lead producer for the BBC’s research and development unit, put it in a recent 2,043-word post, “Could we combine existing media to make online news more accessible, engaging and relevant to young people?” (This was just one phase of the team’s year-long quest to test new formats for storytelling; other stages involved ways to help readers comprehend news better, and new methods of personalizing information.) Some options
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Newsonomics: Newsprint tariffs are a Black Swan event that could speed up the death of U.S. newspapers

People have been forecasting the “death of newspapers” for more than a decade now. They see a kettle of vultures amid the ever-darkening clouds of print advertising collapse, slowed digital advertising, and the difficulty of signing up new digital subscribers. Now the battle is heating up on Capitol Hill over tariffs that the Trump administration imposed on Canadian groundwood paper earlier this year. The tariffs increase the cost of newsprint by as much as 30 to 35 percent, though the impact on publishers is highly uneven, with some chains in better shape and the dwindling independents most at risk. The predictable impacts already in motion: more newsroom layoffs, thinner (and reshaped) print products, fewer Sunday preprints, and an overall further diminishing of the value proposition newspapers are offering their readers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will reduce its printing days from seven to five next month. The Nevada Appeal in Carson City, Continue reading "Newsonomics: Newsprint tariffs are a Black Swan event that could speed up the death of U.S. newspapers"

The number of Americans who get news from mobile has nearly tripled since 2013

The use of mobile phones for news now far outpaces the use of desktops and laptops for news — and that’s a big change over just the past two years, according to a factsheet released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday. The above chart refers to Americans who “often” get news from mobile or desktop/laptop, but 96 percent of Americans ever get news “online” (i.e. from a mobile device or computer). Pew also offers up some other, not-super-surprising stats about who’s most likely to get news from mobile: young people, people of color, and Democrats (who also tend to be younger and less white). And “those with more formal education and higher incomes are more likely to get news on both mobile and desktop or laptop. Those with a college degree are more likely to often get news on mobile than those without a college degree (66 percent
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Three multi-billion-dollar companies dominate the Chinese internet landscape, from news media to AI

Internet penetration in China is at around just under 56 percent, according to a report released this year by the Chinese internet administrative agency CNNIC, which means there were around 772 million internet users in the country as of last December (and 753 million mobile internet users). These numbers have surely only grown since. (China’s still well below the U.S.’s internet penetration of 89 percent, though China’s connected population is well over twice the entire population of the U.S.) A new China Internet Report out this week was compiled jointly by 500 Startups, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), and SCMP’s China tech site Abacus, and it offers fresher numbers illustrating the reach and ambition of Chinese tech companies, the aggressive influence of the Chinese government, and the behaviors and preferences of Chinese internet (well, let’s just basically say mobile phone) users.
China-U.S. key players
Shortform video apps
Toutiao and Tencent for news
Internet penetration in rural areas of China
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Newsonomics: GateHouse’s Mike Reed talks about rolling up America’s news industry

The news shocked long-time newspaper observers two months ago: “Tampa Bay Times to be sold to GateHouse Media in $79M deal.” Had GateHouse devoured yet another storied publisher? No: It was a FloridaPolitics.com April Fool’s prank played out to a near-incredulous audience. Mike Reed, the CEO of the New Media Investment Group that runs GateHouse, spent much of his April 1 responding to the confusion among the company’s shareholders and employees. The news wasn’t real, but it was believable: GateHouse’s acquisition appetite has seemed insatiable. The company now owns more daily titles than any other U.S. publisher, or for that matter, any newspaper publisher anywhere. In total, it owns 146 dailies — more than 10 percent of the U.S. total. That total itself may amaze some, though it well could be doubled, creating the first real national roll-up of U.S. dailies. In fact, with Continue reading "Newsonomics: GateHouse’s Mike Reed talks about rolling up America’s news industry"

Globally, internet, smartphone, and social media use is ↑, but there are big age, education, wealth, and gender gaps

Here are just a few of the global disparities surfaced in a new Pew Research Center report published on Tuesday and covering 39 countries around the world. In South Korea, nearly all of its population — 96 percent — access the internet at least “occasionally,” or own a smartphone. In the sub-Saharan African region, median internet use is below half the population — 41 percent — across six countries. In India and Japan, men were much more likely than women to access the internet. The gap also persisted in Tunisia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Senegal. The rise of internet access (and smartphone ownership), however, has been rapid in the past couple of years, specifically in countries with developing economies surveyed by Pew.

Graphic by Marlee Baldridge, footage by Google Earth.
Individuals with higher incomes were more likely to own a smartphone. In Peru, for instance, about 60 percent of those reporting Continue reading "Globally, internet, smartphone, and social media use is ↑, but there are big age, education, wealth, and gender gaps"