Digital News Report: U.S. Audiences More Willing to Pay for News; Voice-Activated Services the Next Frontier

The publication of the annual Digital News Report, from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, is eagerly awaited by news execs around the world. So much so, that the 2017 study is being accompanied by major presentations on June 22 at the GEN Summit in Vienna, and at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University in New York. Clocking in at 133 pages, this sixth annual study, has been expanded to cover 36 different markets around the world (the first, in 2012 examined just five countries), shedding light on many countries – including nations featured for the first time such as Mexico, Malaysia, Croatia and Romania – which are seldom reported in English-language media. Against this backdrop it’s fascinating to determine some of the similarities – and differences – between digital news habits in the U.S. and the rest of the world. With
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News apps are making a comeback. More young Americans are paying for news. 2017 is weird.

The United States recently elected an unusual president. And to go with the times, Americans are exhibiting some behaviors in media consumption that are, if not unusual, then at least different from those of people in other countries. That’s one of the recurring findings in a report out Thursday from Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2017 surveyed more than 70,000 people in 36 countries about their digital news consumption. (Countries included in the report for the first time this year: Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Taiwan, Hong King, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico.) The research consisted of an online YouGov survey in early 2017, then follow-up focus groups, and covers topics like adblocking, news on messaging and voice apps, and news sharing habits. Reuters also expanded its focus on trust in news and media polarization this year. For more on those
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Using social media appears to diversify your news diet, not narrow it

Despite widespread fears that social media and other forms of algorithmically-filtered services (like search) lead to filter bubbles, we know surprisingly little about what effect social media have on people’s news diets. Data from the 2017 Reuters Institute Digital News Report can help address this. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our analysis shows that social media use is clearly associated with incidental exposure to additional sources of news that people otherwise wouldn’t use — and with more politically diverse news diets. This matters because distributed discovery — where people find and access news via third parties, like social media, search engines, and increasingly messaging apps — is becoming a more and more important part of how people use media.

The fear of filter bubbles and the end of incidental exposure

The role social media plays varies by context and by user. For some highly engaged news lovers, it may be seen
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3 things BuzzFeed News thinks about before sending a push alert

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump met Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York. While the big story in the U.S. that day was the passage of the Republican healthcare bill in the House of Representatives, the meeting was major news in Australia. As a result, BuzzFeed News decided to send an alert to its app users who have chosen to follow Australia news in its news app. The alert read: “There were some delays, but Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump finally met in person. Here’s how it went down. 👴🏻 ❤️ 👴🏻 ” Yes, it included the emoji, which has purposefully become a hallmark of the BuzzFeed News app, Brianne O’Brien, the lead news curation editor at BuzzFeed’s London office said on a panel at the ONA Dublin conference on Friday. After BuzzFeed launched its news app in 2015, two-thirds of the downloads were from
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What’s holding back virtual reality news? Slow tech adoption, monetization, and yes, dull content

For news organizations, the promise of VR has been marred by a handful of challenges that have so far made it difficult to justify wholesale investment in the technology. That’s clear from a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism that takes an in-depth look at the state of VR news in 2017. The conclusion: despite some earnest early efforts among news organizations, widespread adoption of the technology among consumers is still years away. “VR has emerged from its early experimentation phase and is now bedding down in news organizations as they address the challenges of content and user experience,” writes Zillah Watson, the report’s author, who has also headed up BBC’s own VR efforts. “But it is still some years from what it could become — in the same way that, ten years ago, no one could have foreseen the role today of social Continue reading "What’s holding back virtual reality news? Slow tech adoption, monetization, and yes, dull content"

“You’re not doing it the way I did”: Public media in Europe gets creative with digital news

“Whenever you get the new generation, you get new language, and whenever you get new language you get people saying it’s not news because ‘you’re not doing it the way I did,'” said Mika Rahkonen, head of development at Finland’s national public broadcaster Yle. In January 2015, the broadcaster launched Kioski, which has evolved into a social video service that covers news and current affairs for younger audiences and publishes across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp. (Kioski also runs as a Thursday evening program on Finnish TV.) For this project, buy-in from a development department within Yle concerned specifically with facilitating the creation of news products was crucial, protecting the editorial team tasked with coming up with a “youth product” from any resistance to the product’s new voice. Buy-in from the wider newsroom was one critical factor in Kioski’s success, according to a new Reuters Continue reading "“You’re not doing it the way I did”: Public media in Europe gets creative with digital news"

How four international news outlets are creating truly digitally native content (and making money off it)

If you don’t have revenue, you don’t have a product: It’s one of the first things I tell my clients. With the news media facing extreme economic pressure in many countries, I was keen, in my recent report for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, to focus not only on editorial innovation but also the commercial innovation that is supporting new formats.

I found news organizations around the world answering the questions of how to monetize radically distributed content strategies, grappling with changes in social media use, and finding a new way to connect with their young audiences when Facebook no longer reached them.

Our goal in the report wasn’t to provide an exhaustive look at all of the forms of content innovation happening, but rather to use the lens of non-article formats to look at how news organizations are creating truly digitally native content. Zeroing in Continue reading "How four international news outlets are creating truly digitally native content (and making money off it)"