Would more young people watch local TV news if it looked more like a Vox video and less like, uh, local TV news?
It’s worth a try, according to a report released by Shorenstein and Northeastern this week. The authors suggest that local TV stations “remix” their hard news offerings by borrowing tactics from digital-native publications — incorporating animation and historical video, for instance. A limited test of these remixed videos suggested that the technique was effective — although it doesn’t fix the problem that TV ownership is declining.
People over 50 are much more likely to watch local TV news than younger people. Pew reported last year that 28 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds say they “often” get news from local TV; just 18 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said the same thing.
Mike Beaudet, John Wihbey, and their team at Northeastern watched hundreds of hours of
How much should we freak out about anti-vaxxers? WHO named anti-vaxxers one of the top 10 global health threats for 2019. But is the threat from internet crazies overblown? Or are there certain things about the anti-vaccination movement that make it particularly dangerous?
This debate is the health version of an argument we see often these days: That covering far-right figures and extremists too much — even in highly critical articles — gives them the oxygen they need to become more powerful and mainstream. “The mere fact that anti-vaxxer beliefs are treacherous and wrong doesn’t make them worthy of attention on the national scale,” Daniel Engber writes in a Slate article in which he warns against catastrophizing. “Vaccine refuseniks are still well outside the mainstream.” (Or, sometimes, fairly close to the mainstream!).
Go with your gut, not with the clicks: In a saturated media environment, news consumers most value news that is relevant to them — a factor that can’t be sussed out in a newsroom by measuring clicks, according to new research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. (But you should still make sure you have a diverse group of guts you’re going off of.)
“People frequently click on stories that are amusing, trivial, or weird, with no obvious civic focus. But they maintain a clear sense of what is trivial and what matters. On the whole people want to stay informed about what goes on around them, at the local, national, and international levels,” wrote Kim Christian Schrøder, a professor from Denmark who spent half of 2018 at Reuters. “To the extent that journalists prioritize news stories with civic value, they should trust their instincts
Algorithms shape large parts of everyday life: our interactions with other people, what products we purchase, the information we see (or don’t see), our investment decisions and our career paths. And we trust their judgment: people are more likely to follow advice when they are being told that it came from an algorithm rather than a human, according to a Harvard Business School study.
Surprise: Subscribers to a nerdy bitcoin newsletter are just about as engaged as subscribers to a nerdy local newsletter.
Inside.com, the startup that waited over a decade for the domain with its core product now in the inbox and not the browser, focuses on growing relationships using curated email newsletters to grab your attention. Last year, Inside saw $1.1 million in revenue, reached 750,000 active subscriptions, and circled a 40 percent open rate. With a recent $2.6 million fundraise — with more than 900 investors and $250,000 from founder/CEO Jason Calacanis — Inside’s topical newsletters are now joined by specific local newsletters for its main readership’s cities as well.
“Inside SF has been one of our highest performing open rates in terms of open rates and all the metrics we look at with these newsletters,” Austin Smith, Inside’s president and general manager, said. “I
Covering suicides has, sadly, become more and more codified in the journalism industry — literally, here’s a site called Reporting on Suicide. Don’t include how they died, link to a support hotline or other resources in the piece, use words like “died by suicide” instead of “successful attempt.” But that’s been largely reactive as more and more celebrities have died by suicide. Capital Public Radio, whose Sacramento-based airing area includes a community with the third highest rate of suicide in California, took a proactive approach last year.
“When I worked for a number of years in the Bay Area, we had people throwing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge quite frequently. It was always a ‘police activity’ and we never reported it as suicide,” Cap Radio’s managing editor for news and information, Linnea Edmeier, said. “When Robin Williams committed suicide, I felt like it was the first Continue reading "How Capital Public Radio covered a community’s high suicide rate (and developed a tool for residents to keep)"
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 195, published February 12, 2019.
That’s an (Anfield) wrap [by Caroline Crampton]. Hot Pod readers probably know that I’m based in the U.K., but I’m not sure it’s entirely clear that I don’t live in London. I moved away in the summer of 2017 after nearly a decade in the English capital, and nowadays I’m based in northwest England near Liverpool. That decision had nothing to do with podcasting, but since I moved here, I’ve become aware that one of the most interesting independent podcast companies happens to work out of central Liverpool — and that its success is intimately connected to its location.
That company is The Anfield Wrap, which publishes a collection of mostly football (soccer, if you must) podcasts. It employs 11 people, has around 80,000 listeners for its weekly free shows, Continue reading "In Liverpool, a football podcast has grown into a real media company — based mostly on listener payment, not advertising"
As the Swedish dust from last week’s Spotify acquisition-palooza settles, there’s little time to wait. Slate, the veteran digital media company and purveyor of fine podcasts, announced this morning that it’s rolling out something called Supporting Cast, a new technology service meant to help podcast publishers set up paid subscription layers or membership programs.
For some Slate superfans, what Supporting Cast aims to provide should sound familiar. The service was built off Slate’s experience creating and managing Slate Plus, its long-running membership program that provides paid users with additional content. (Which, by the way, has now grown to about 50,000 members.) That extra material includes exclusive podcast episodes, which has turned out to be a potent offering — former editor-in-chief Julia Turner once told me that there is “a ton of overlap” between Slate podcast listeners and Slate Plus members — but it is something that they Continue reading "With Supporting Cast, Slate wants to build the paid-membership layer of podcasting"
It almost seems impossible to ignore national politics today. The stream of stories about the president and Congress is endless; whether online, in print or on television, it’s never been easier to follow the action.
National news outlets are adapting well to this environment: The New York Times and Wall Street Journal made big gains in digital subscribers in 2016 and 2017, CNN had its most-watched year ever in 2018, and The New York Times added 120 new newsroom staffers this year.
But local newspapers aren’t doing as well. The past decade was brutal for the local press, and the numbers behind the collapse of local newspapers are staggering. In 2006, American newspapers sold over $49 billion in ads, employed more than 74,000 people and circulated to 52 million Americans on weekdays. By 2017, ad revenues were down to $16.5 billion (a 66 percent drop); the newspaper workforce fell
Data has a habit of giving us advance signals about particular trends. It shouts: “Hey, something big is happening.” Like when we saw Facebook decline for six months before they announced official changes to their News Feed.
Some of those trends jump out more than others. Wouldn’t it be great to predict how reliable those trends are? Things change fast online. I would want to be sure about a trend before investing resources in chasing it.
So, using data we’ve gathered at Parse.ly, let’s take a deep dive into how platforms have changed over the past year — looking not just at the sheer size of the traffic shifts, but also how quickly they change. Platforms that look promising (SmartNews and, yes, still Flipboard), platforms that look like they’re slipping (Twitter), and platforms that cannot make up their damn mind (looking at you, Google).
I want to
Just two misleading claims by politicians were tweeted 10 times more often than 3,200 Russian troll tweets. U.K. researchers found that misinformation from politicians was much more impactful than thousands of troll and bot tweets (working paper here). They looked at claims and tweets during Brexit and found in part:
In particular, just two of the many misleading claims made by politicians during the referendum were found to be cited in 4.6 times more tweets than the 7,103 tweets related to Russia Today and Sputnik and in 10.2 times more tweets than the 3,200 Brexit-related tweets by the Russian troll accounts.
When you’re building a healthy web environment for journalism, there are a few key groups to keep in mind, says Scroll CEO (and Chartbeat founder) Tony Haile. Of course, you need to think about the publishers — the content creators — and the readers. Scroll, the $5/month, ad-free premium news site–reading experience that will roll out this year, is geared toward both of those groups.
But there’s also a third group to remember: the curators, the people who share and drive others to all that great premium content. “We want to find some way for those curators out there to sustain themselves,” said Haile, and that’s why on Thursday Scroll announced that it is acquiring news aggregator Nuzzel. Nuzzel, for those who aren’t familiar, is a handy app that creates a news feed consisting of what people you follow on Twitter and other social media sites are reading, based Continue reading "Tony Haile’s Scroll acquires the news-reading app Nuzzel (it’ll remain free)"
In another snippet of podcast news this week — wait, you didn’t see thethreepieces about the Spotify/Gimlet/Anchor news? — Substack, the all-in-one independent (paid) newsletter provider, is now offering support for subscriber-only audio, too.
The added feature won’t make the same kind of splash as Spotify’s $230 million buy, of course. But Substack has garnered more than 35,000 paid subscribers across the newsletters it hosts, up from 11,000 when we last wrote about them in July 2018. That’s a big chunk, especially considering most of the newsletters also have a free tier, and now it can expand to podcasters as well.
“We wanted to build through the core strength of Substack. You’re not paying for stuff or a product; you’re paying for a relationship with a writer, maybe now a podcaster, you really trust,” Hamish McKenzie, the company’s cofounder, said.
There are a lot of Continue reading "In a hot week for audio, paid newsletterer Substack introduces a way for podcasters to earn money"
The dream for any newspaper seeking to last longer than print itself is to transition its business model into digital. The New York Times is almost there.
The Times announced its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financials this morning, and there’s a lot of good news. (One quick heuristic I like to run with newspaper company earnings reports is searching the press release to see the ratio of “digital” mentions to “print” mentions. Today: 40 to 17.) The most important: The Times generated $709 million in digital revenue in 2018, putting it ahead of the ambitious goal it set out back in 2015 to hit $800 million in digital revenue by 2020. They’ll make that with little trouble — barring economic collapse, civil war, and so on.
Flush with confidence, Times CEO Mark Thompson laid out a new goal: “to grow our subscription business to more than 10 million subscriptions
Would you pay an extra $5 a month to attend a quarterly meeting over Google Hangouts? Not “$5 a month to skip a meeting.” “$5 to have the privilege of attending a meeting.”
Well, it turns out, plenty of Vox.com video lovers would. When you sign up for a Vox Video Lab membership, you can choose between two different price levels. For $4.99 per month, you get the “DVD extras” of Vox videos: behind-the-scenes content, videos explaining Vox’s process, recommendations for non-Vox videos, and a monthly live Q&A with a producer. For $9.99 a month, you get all that plus…access to a quarterly Google Hangout where they can give Vox more advice about its membership program.
Told you Spotify wasn’t done shopping.
This morning, the Swedish streaming company announced that it has closed its acquisition of Gimlet Mediaand that it had also acquired another podcast company: Anchor, the podcast hosting-and-monetization platform founded by Michael Mignano and Nir Zicherman. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Here’s the press release, and here’s the particularly relevant chunk:
With these acquisitions, Spotify is positioned to become both the premier producer of podcasts and the leading platform for podcast creators. Gimlet will bring to Spotify its best-in-class podcast studio with dedicated IP development, production and advertising capabilities. Anchor will bring its platform of tools for podcast creators and its established and rapidly growing creator base.
To quickly repeat myself from yesterday’s piece on the subject of Spotify’s podcast angle:
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 194, published February 5, 2019.
Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! Okay, so, obviously I’m going to go long on the Gimlet–Spotify deal this week, but we need to start with some other stories first, because plans were made.
A quick exclusive: Vox Media has added Switched On Pop, a popular independent music podcast by Charlie Harding and Nate Sloan, to its podcast network. The show will officially relaunch next month as Vox’s first music-centered podcast and will publish on a weekly basis. This is Vox Media’s first external podcast signing, though Harding and Sloan will retain ownership over the show.
Why file organization matters [by Caroline Crampton].Preserve This Podcast exists to help podcasters protect their work against digital decay. Funded by an $142,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, it started work in February 2018; it’s tackling Continue reading "The end of an era: Spotify buying Gimlet signals the start of something new in podcasting. Is that good or bad?"