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

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"

Newsonomics: A call to arms (and wallets) in the new era of deregulation and bigger media

Quibble, if you will, about the level of degeneracy now afoot in the heart of the Old and New Confederacy, as the Roy Moore saga provides yet more sick drama in the country. That’s a sideshow. What’s quickly appearing on the main stage — if it’s still behind the curtain for now — is the beginning of a likely massive movement in news media ownership. You think you’ve seen a politicization of the press? The 2016 election may serve as just its preamble. We’re on the brink — witness several actions this week alone — of a small number of right-leaning companies rapidly buying up, or buying into, the assets of journalism companies. In so doing, the alt-right “fake news” assault may move into a much more insidious phase, as long-trusted brands could take their marching orders from those who believe “fact” is fungible, in service of their political and Continue reading "Newsonomics: A call to arms (and wallets) in the new era of deregulation and bigger media"

The Trust Project brings news orgs and tech giants together to tag and surface high-quality news

Will readers trust the news more if they have more information about who’s behind it? It’s worth a try. Thursday marks the launch of The Trust Project, an initiative three years in the making (but feeling oh-so-relevant right about now) that brings together news outlets such as The Washington Post, The Economist, and the Globe and Mail, as well as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Bing, in a commitment to “provide clarity on the [news organizations’] ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work.” The project will standardize this method of increased clarity so that news organizations, large and small, around the world can use it, and so that the algorithms of the tech giants can find and incorporate it. “The public can look at this and say, ‘okay, I know more about what’s behind this organization’,” said Sally Lehrman, senior director of Continue reading "The Trust Project brings news orgs and tech giants together to tag and surface high-quality news"

Kickstarter’s new product, Drip, lets people charge subscriptions for ongoing projects

National Observer is no stranger to successful crowdfunding campaigns. The Canadian investigative news outlet launched its first Kickstarter in 2014, raising 53,040 Canadian dollars (USD $41,615) from 741 backers to produce 140 stories on the conflicts associated with Canada’s tar sands. That was followed by a 2015 campaign that raised CA $80,939 from 574 backers to report on climate change solutions (surpassing a goal of CA $50,000) and a successful 2016 campaign that raised CA $70,863 from 784 backers. The 2015 project was promoted by Kickstarter as one of “five great journalism projects,” said CEO and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood. “It was a major marketing tool. As well as raising funds, we were also getting our brand out and reaching a lot of new people.” Kickstarter campaigns are built around specific, isolated projects and aren’t meant to sustain creators on an ongoing basis — until now. On Wednesday, Kickstarter Continue reading "Kickstarter’s new product, Drip, lets people charge subscriptions for ongoing projects"

Students: Spend the summer working with Nieman Lab via the Google News Lab Fellowship

Hey students: Want to spend next summer working with Nieman Lab? I’m very happy to say that we will again be one of the host organizations for the Google News Lab Fellowships. You can apply here, and the deadline is January 15. Here’s Google’s description:
Google_Logo_Color_WideThe Google News Lab Fellowship offers students interested in journalism and technology the opportunity to spend the summer working at relevant organizations across the US to gain valuable experience and make lifelong contacts and friends. While the work of each host organization is unique, Fellows have opportunities to research and write stories, contribute to open source data programs, and create timely data to accurately frame public debates about issues in the US and the world. Fellows receive a stipend of $9,000 USD and a travel budget of $1,000 during the 10-week program, which runs from June-August. We’re looking for students who are passionate Continue reading "Students: Spend the summer working with Nieman Lab via the Google News Lab Fellowship"

From Nieman Reports: The news industry has a sexual harassment problem. #NowWhat?

Editor’s note: This piece by 2017 Nieman Fellow Katherine Goldstein is the cover story in Nieman Reports. We’re sharing it with Lab readers as a sneak peek.

A good place to start telling the unfolding story of sexual harassment in newsrooms is July 6th, 2016. That’s the day former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson sued Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News, saying she was fired in retaliation for rebuffing his sexual advances. Within days Gabriel Sherman, who was working at New York magazine at the time, had heard from about a half dozen other women describing incidents of Ailes’s harassment. Ailes’s behavior toward women at Fox, going back decades, was not a revelation when Carlson sued. Sherman had detailed on-the-record allegations against Ailes in his 2014 biography, The Loudest Voice in the Room. Sherman was disappointed those initial allegations were only lightly covered. But something had Continue reading "From Nieman Reports: The news industry has a sexual harassment problem. #NowWhat?"

Who are podcast “super listeners,” what do they do, and how do we build podcasts for them?

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 140, published November 14, 2017. Hello from Chicago, where I’m writing this in the lovely Hearken offices. Much thanks to the team for letting me in from the Midwestern cold. The voice of Vox. We now know who is going to host the upcoming Vox daily news podcast: the Canadian-born Sean Rameswaram. A veteran WNYC staffer, his tenure includes work on the Kurt Andersen-led Studio 360 while the show was still at the station and, more recently, as a reporter on Radiolab’s More Perfect. Rameswaram has long exhibited considerable ambition to lead his own program: he hosted the Studio 360 spin-off podcast Sideshow, served as a guest host on a season of Continue reading "Who are podcast “super listeners,” what do they do, and how do we build podcasts for them?"