A year after Trump’s zero-budget threat, public broadcasting is…doing okay

It was barely a year ago that PBS and NPR fans were worried about whether American public broadcasting might be about to disappear. President Trump’s initial budget called for eliminating all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the backbone of the system. But that budget threat turned out to be just that — CPB got its money. And according to this year’s State of the Media Report update from Pew, American public broadcasting is…actually doing pretty okay. In public radio, the average weekly broadcast audiences of the top 20 NPR member stations continue to grow — from 8.7 million in 2015 to 11.2 million last year. NPR’s mobile strategy seems to be working too: It’s seen monthly sessions in the NPR News and Continue reading "A year after Trump’s zero-budget threat, public broadcasting is…doing okay"

The scariest chart in Mary Meeker’s slide deck for newspapers has gotten even a teeny bit scarier

It’s an annual moment of print realism here at Nieman Lab: the posting of the attention/advertising slide from Mary Meeker’s state-of-the-Internet slide deck. It’s enough of a tradition that I can now copy-and-paste from multiple versions of this post. Here’s a sentence from the 2013 version:
For those who don’t know it, Meeker — formerly of Morgan Stanley, at VC firm Kleiner Perkins since late 2010 — each year produces a curated set of data reflecting what she sees as the major trends in Internet usage and growth. It may be the only slide deck that qualifies as an event unto itself.
And a chunk from the 2014 version:
What’s useful about Meeker’s deck is that its core data serves as a punctuation mark on some big, ongoing trends. The kind of trends we all know are happening, but whose annual rate of progress can be hard to
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Continue reading "The scariest chart in Mary Meeker’s slide deck for newspapers has gotten even a teeny bit scarier"

Mobile visits are still rising for news sites, even without Facebook’s juicy traffic, according to Chartbeat data

Traditionally — as much of a tradition as there can be in the online analytics world — people accessing sites via mobile has mostly meant people arriving from social media. But now, post-Facebook algorithm changes, the number of mobile readers visiting news sites directly has surpassed the number visiting from Facebook. (Reminder: Starting in mid-October, Facebook began tweaking the News Feed algorithm away from Page content — a.k.a. many publishers — and toward “meaningful interactions.” Some publishers have experienced such a significant drop in traffic that it contributed to the shuttering of the site or layoffs. But many of those in those affected buckets relied on Facebook’s algorithm as the core of their business model. Not the sturdiest choice.) New data from Chartbeat shows that, while Facebook traffic has been (unsurprisingly) declining since the October 2017 change, both Google Search and direct traffic have been steadily
Continue reading "Mobile visits are still rising for news sites, even without Facebook’s juicy traffic, according to Chartbeat data"

Newsonomics: Still another Tronc drama, as John Lynch re-enters the business

Tronc doesn’t do anything by the book. Even as much of the company’s turbulence looks to be clearing, new questions are emerging about who will next lead the big metro chain. Softbank and Apollo Global Management have reportedly expressed real interest in buying the company, but much more likely is the reemergence of one of the many characters who have have upended business as usual in the roiled daily newspaper industry. Tronc’s newspapers, staff, and readers may soon be subject to a whole new round of strategic rethinks and re-deployments. Let’s first focus on the potential impact of Michael Ferro’s sale of his dominating Merrick Media 25 percent share in Tronc. That surprising sale prompted all kinds of speculation about the future, including mine. The sale looked like a homecoming story: A McCormick had bought back into the Chicago Tribune’s parent company, Tronc. Sargent McCormick, described as a distant relation Continue reading "Newsonomics: Still another Tronc drama, as John Lynch re-enters the business"

Newsonomics: The news world will miss Michael Ferro

On Friday afternoon, Tronc announced that its lead shareholder Merrick Media, led by just-resigned board chairman Michael Ferro, was selling its entire stake in the company. McCormick Media — managed by Sargent McCormick, a distant relative of the McCormick family that controlled the Chicago Tribune for most of its long history — is the buyer of Ferro’s 9 million shares. As we sort out the impact of the sale on the Chicago Tribune and the rest of Tronc’s remaining newspapers, we offer this publishing obit for the would-be impresario who grabbed so many headlines of his own in the last two years.
Michael Ferro loved nothing better than entertaining a room of people with his wit and wisdom. Many of those entertained tell stories about how no one else had to even worry about coming up with their own tales; they only had to sit back and take it in. Continue reading "Newsonomics: The news world will miss Michael Ferro"

Here’s what we know so far about Google Chrome’s mobile article recommendations, the next major traffic driver for publishers

Two weeks ago, we published an analysis showing the rise of Google Chrome Suggestions(GCS) — suggested links that appear in any new tab of Chrome on mobile devices. In response, we received an outpouring of questions on Twitter and email. While other major referral sources are relatively well-understood, GCS or “Articles for you” is new enough that, as far as we’ve seen, there is essentially no information out there describing its traffic. With that in mind, and with much still unknown, we wanted to walk through what we can say about GCS traffic.

What Google Chrome Suggestions is (and isn’t) and how we measure it

When you open a new tab of Chrome on an iOS or Android device, Google provides an automated list of “Articles for you.” On Android, when a visitor clicks on one of these links, the referrer is set to www.googleapis.com/auth/chrome-content-suggestions. In
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Newsonomics: The Denver Post’s protest should launch a new era of “calling B.S.”

What are we to make of The Denver Post’s “extraordinary display of defiance”? As the paper’s editorial board, led by Chuck Plunkett, fired a fusillade of public protest on Sunday — publishing six pages decrying the paper’s owner, to the social congratulations of the news world — we may have reached a new point in local American journalism’s descent into oblivion. Despite almost a decade of newsroom cuts, which have left no more 25,000 journalists in the more than 1,300 dailies across the country, journalists have been remarkably accepting of their buyouts and layoffs. We haven’t seen the kinds of mass strikes or work actions that have happened from time to time in Europe. We’ve seen instead an acquiescence to what’s been seen as the inevitable toll of digital disruption. Sadness, rather than spirited action, has marked the trade. That’s understandable, in part: No one wants to risk the lifeline Continue reading "Newsonomics: The Denver Post’s protest should launch a new era of “calling B.S.”"