Is your organization thinking about membership? Take some ideas (and maybe some money) from the Membership Puzzle Project


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Styli Charalambous was trying to think through some lightbulb moments. As the publisher and CEO at the Daily Maverick, a ten-year-old investigative outlet in South Africa, he had done an innovation tour in October 2017 and came back determined to set up a reader revenue system. The outlet’s site was being overhauled, which meant he had some time to brainstorm the system’s approach while waiting for it to finish. So Charalambous turned to the Membership Puzzle Project’s research and got lost in findings for how to launch a membership program. “We wanted people to join us in supporting independent investigative journalism in a country that had just suffered a decade of a highly corrupt president and government and whose removal we were quite integral in playing a part in that,” Charalambous said. (Whistleblowers had given the Daily Maverick some explosive documents it shared with another outlet to investigate.) Continue reading "Is your organization thinking about membership? Take some ideas (and maybe some money) from the Membership Puzzle Project"

The Correspondent’s editor-in-chief talks about what U.S. expansion means (and doesn’t — an office)


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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In a crowdfunding campaign launched late last year, the beloved-in-some-circles Dutch “unbreaking news” site De Correspondent — which relies almost entirely on revenue from readers and is ad-free — raised $2.5 million for what was widely believed to be a “move to the U.S.” The campaign, headquartered in New York, used “ambassadors” like Jay Rosen, Nate Silver, Baratunde Thurston, Judd Apatow, DeRay Mckesson, Roseanne Cash, Esther Perel, and Alan Rusbridger to help get out the word about the fundraising, and ultimately hit its goal after Jay Rosen appeared on The Daily Show to talk about it. The first English-language pieces on The Correspondent, as the English-language site will be known, will start running on September 30, 2019. This week, Correspondent CEO Ernst Pfauth published a Medium post in which he noted — among other things — that The Correspondent will still be headquartered in Amsterdam. “We’ve Continue reading "The Correspondent’s editor-in-chief talks about what U.S. expansion means (and doesn’t — an office)"

Is the business model for American national news “Trump plus rolling scandals”? And is that sustainable?


This post is by Lívia Vieira from Nieman Lab


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Anderson: I think you have a real gap between the elite news organizations and everyone else. I have a Ph.D. student who worked at News Corp for a while in Australia. And to hear her tell it, they were utterly governed by clicks, completely governed by news metrics. If you talk to people at The New York Times or The Guardian, they will tell you, ‘No, we aren’t like that at all — we use metrics as one of many other things and we certainly aren’t living in this culture of the click.” But many of the more local and more commercial news organizations are absolutely still more governed by reader metrics. I think of the average British tabloid: I would be very surprised if they did not still have largely clickbait view. That’s different than at elite news organizations — which tend to be the kind Continue reading "Is the business model for American national news “Trump plus rolling scandals”? And is that sustainable?"

Newsonomics: Can The Correspondent “unbreak news” in the United States?


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How zen is a non-breaking news notification? We may find out in 2019. Today, the ambitious, contrarian founders of Dutch phenomenon De Correspondent launch a $2.5 million funding campaign to fund the launch of a sibling publication, The Correspondent, in the U.S. That initiative has been gestating for almost two years, ever since editor Rob Wijnberg and CEO Ernst-Jan Pfauth first set their sights on an American market 20 times the size of their native Netherlands. “The slogan we use for The Correspondent in the United States is going to be ‘Unbreaking news,'” Wijnberg told me last week. “That kind of summarizes it. We’re not ‘breaking news,’ and we don’t want to be breaking news, because it’s part of making us cynical and divided and less informed about the world. Let’s try something different.” If we could all read Dutch, we’d see that “unbreaking news” Continue reading "Newsonomics: Can The Correspondent “unbreak news” in the United States?"

Dutch news organization De Correspondent is getting more money toward its global expansion


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


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Dutch darling De Correspondent got its start in the Netherlands in 2013 as a wildly successful crowdfunded news site promising ad-free, in-depth journalism and close reader participation in the reporting process. It’s now a few steps closer to launching its English-language global counterpart here in the U.S. On Monday, the organization announced that it’s received $950,000 in funding from the Omidyar Network. De Correspondent now has $1.8 million total behind its global expansion (New York University professor Jay Rosen is working with it on these efforts, and studying member-funded journalism best practices through the Membership Puzzle Project). Blue State Digital (which ran digital strategy for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns) and Dutch design studio Momkai (a founding partner of De Correspondent) will help spread the word about its global edition The Correspondent, cofounder and CEO of De Correspondent Ernst-Jan Pfauth wrote in a post announcing the Continue reading "Dutch news organization De Correspondent is getting more money toward its global expansion"

For public radio stations, “membership” mostly means “money”


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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News organizations’ membership initiatives need to be about engagement and relationships, not just money: That’s one of the tenets of the Membership Puzzle Project, a one-year research project that NYU’s Jay Rosen launched last May to help figure out what the “social contract between journalists and members” should look like. MPP released a report last month on the news membership model; this week, it released more research about how membership programs are working at public radio stations. There’s an overview report by Anika Gupta and a database of 50 public radio sites and their membership models by Corinne Osnos. A couple of tidbits and trends from the two posts: — All nine public radio stations that Gupta spoke with run pledge drives at least once a year. But pledge drives don’t have to be long:
New York Public Radio (WNYC) told us about the abbreviated, “warp speed” pledge drives Continue reading "For public radio stations, “membership” mostly means “money”"

The Join the Beat project wants to tease out better ways of working with an audience directly and regularly on stories


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


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Think of the reporting done by David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post around Donald Trump’s charitable giving (or lack thereof) — done in public, in direct engagement with readers and sources, in a way that made thousands of people feel involved in the fact-finding process. What if we could translate that kind of journalism to make it work in many more places — across different news outlets, across different beats? What if “membership” — a popular buzzword among news executives these days — was less about the publication and more about the individual reporter? The Join the Beat project wants to do just that, teasing out for beat reporters and their newsrooms new and better ways of working with an audience directly, closely, and regularly on stories. This Join the Beat research is part of the broader Membership Puzzle initiative, which New York University professor Jay Rosen directs, to conduct Continue reading "The Join the Beat project wants to tease out better ways of working with an audience directly and regularly on stories"

Must Reads in Media & Technology: March 29


This post is by Bianca Fortis from MediaShift


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Must Reads is MediaShift’s daily curation of the big stories about media and technology from across the web. Sign up here to get these delivered right to your inbox. 1. Twitter Introduces Pre-Roll Ads to Periscope Videos (Anthony Ha / Tech Crunch) 2. The Winners and Losers of Facebook’s Dive Into Header Bidding (Yuyu Chen / Digiday) 3. The Darker Side of Data (Nathan Skid / Advertising Age) 4. Jay Rosen: This is What a News Organization Built on Reader Trust Looks Like (Jay Rosen / Nieman Lab)
5. Who Wins and Who Loses in YouTube’s Falling Out With Brands (Garett Sloane / Advertising Age) 6. Imax, Warner Bros. Making ‘Justice League,’ ‘Aquaman’ Virtual Reality Experiences (Brent Lang / Variety) Get the Daily Must Reads in Your Inbox!


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Newsonomics: Can Dutch import De Correspondent conquer the U.S.?


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What if life were simple for journalists? They cover what they want to cover, developing deeper expertise in the fields that intrigue then. They get paid by those who actually want to read their work. And they regularly talk to their readers, bouncing ideas off of them and hearing ideas back. Those with long memories will recall that was one of the promises of the early Internet: disintermediation. In one version of the pipe dream, the web would blow away all those troublesome middlemen that stood between journalists and readers. Two decades later, that early idea became largely dormant. Every once in a while, a blogger/journalist like Andrew Sullivan would forge that direct-to-reader connection, but such examples haven’t written themselves deeply into history. Rob Wijnberg and Ernst-Jan Pfauth believe they can make a version of that promise real. In fact, they believe they already have. Today, the young entrepreneurs behind Continue reading "Newsonomics: Can Dutch import De Correspondent conquer the U.S.?"

Jay Rosen: This is what a news organization built on reader trust looks like


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At the kind of journalism conferences that I attend, Aron Pilhofer, who had key roles in the digital operations of The New York Times and The Guardian in recent years, has been asking a very good question: What if news organizations optimized every part of the operation for trust? Not for speed, traffic, profits, headlines or prizes… but for trust. What would that even look like? My answer: It would look a lot like De Correspondent. Launched in 2013 in The Netherlands, De Correspondent is funded solely by its members: 56,000 of them, who pay about $63 a year because they believe in the kind of journalism that is done by its 21 full-time correspondents and 75 freelancers. The leaders of the site announced today that they will soon expand to the U.S. and set up shop in New York. (See Ken Doctor’s post on Nieman Lab for
Continue reading "Jay Rosen: This is what a news organization built on reader trust looks like"

Newsonomics: Softbank, Fortress, Trump – and the real story of Gatehouse’s boundless ambition


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Sometimes when you connect the dots, you just get more dots. It looked like head-turning news: A Japanese company had taken control of one of America’s largest newspaper chains, New Media Investment Group, a.k.a. GateHouse Media. Tuesday’s headline: “Robotics and tech firm SoftBank Japan purchases newspaper company GateHouse Media”. As Softbank’s acquisition of New York City-based Fortress Investment Group was announced last week, it appeared, on the surface, as if the direction of more than 100 U.S. dailies would be in the hands of non-Americans. Plus, as feels universally true in these bewildering times, there appeared to even be a link to Donald Trump. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son had been one of the first chief executives to make the trek to Trump Tower in December, to pay fealty to the incoming president. His supposed promise, accompanied by the firm Trump hand on Son’s shoulder: $50 billion Continue reading "Newsonomics: Softbank, Fortress, Trump – and the real story of Gatehouse’s boundless ambition"

Newsonomics: Rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values


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“Alt-what?” I asked the audience of the leaders of America’s alternative press, in a talk last Friday, the day of the inauguration and the day before an estimated 100,000 people marched through downtown Portland, Oregon in protest. “Alt-what in America’s growing news deserts” was the title of my talk, and it followed up on my most recent Nieman Lab column. In that piece, I asked who — struggling dailies, emerging public radio initiatives, spirited startups, local TV stations — might seize the opportunity of the day and ramp up the kind of local news coverage that readers might support with subscription or membership. Could alt-weeklies be part of the solution? More than 100 of them still populate the landscape, from the hometown Portland’s Pulitzer-winning Willamette Week to Cincinnati’s CityBeat to Vermont’s Seven Days to the L.A. Weekly (itself just now put for sale). The alternative press was Continue reading "Newsonomics: Rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values"

Journalists as Strategists: How to Think About Business Now that the Wall Has Come Down


This post is by Bianca Fortis from MediaShift


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The “wall” that once existed between the business and editorial sides of the news industry has come down – opening up new opportunities for journalists to become strategists. That was the subject of the latest event in the “Conversations” series, hosted by the New York Daily News’ Innovation Lab. NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen moderated the discussion, titled The Evolving Newsroom: Journalists as Strategists, at the Microsoft Technology Center in New York City, and was joined by Kate Ward, editor-in-chief of Bustle; Jim Rich, editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News; and Priya Ganapati, product director for Quartz.
“Once upon a time the media business was so simple and the best companies so profitable that the editorial people, the journalists, didn’t have to worry about or even know much about the business side of the company,” Rosen said.
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Jay Rosen’s NYU Students Dig Deeper into Disruption of News Business


This post is by Katherine Krueger from MediaShift


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You can’t start trailblazing the future of digital journalism without knowing what factors are at work disrupting the field every day. That was Jay Rosen’s starting point with the News Literacy 2016 project, which launched March 1. The project is the work of Studio 20, a journalism master’s program at New York University, which graduated its first digital-first class of students in 2010. The project’s impetus dates to a post on Rosen’s PressThink blog in November 2014, which was a list of topics students should master if they want to understand the way digital journalism continues to move and change, and how to help news organizations adapt to the particular requirements of the digital age. Those influencing factors – which ranged from new business models to funding the news to personalization – were the underpinnings of News Literacy, a user-friendly resource that offers students, educators and the public a distilled, authoritative
Studio 20 students.
Jay Rosen. Photo by  Joi Ito and used here with Creative Commons license.
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Hot Pod: How big are Audible’s ambitions in changing short-form audio? Really, really big


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


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Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue sixty-eight, published April 12, 2016.

We got a real chunky one for ya.

Audible launches Channels. If you’re reading this column at Nieman Lab, you probably already know the basics: Over the course of last week, Audible initiated the staggered rollout of a new feature called Channels, a portal through which the company now delivers what it’s calling “short-form listening experiences.” Right now, such short-form content on offer appears fairly limited, and a little strange: narrated reads of articles from newspapers like The Washington Post (natch) and The New York Times, some standup comedy recordings, and even a couple of meditation guides for the Headspace-inclined. (Nieman Lab, as usual, has a good breakdown on the details.)

There’s no mistaking what we’re seeing here: Audible has effectively changed its definition, almost overnight — it is no longer an

Continue reading "Hot Pod: How big are Audible’s ambitions in changing short-form audio? Really, really big"

‘Do Your Job’: Scarborough Goes on Twitter Tirade After Media Critic Calls Him Trump Supporter


This post is by Alex Griswold from Mediaite


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Joe-Scarborough-e1438345122486MSNBC host Joe Scarborough went off on media critic and New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen on Twitter Tuesday after Rosen claimed that Scarborough was biased in favor of Donald Trump. It all began after Rosen posted a tweet about an open letter from Huffington Post journalists asking voters not to vote for Trump. In response to a question, he said he has no problem with outlets taking different approaches to Trump so long as they were upfront, and cited Scarborough as someone who denied his bias. Unsurprisingly, Scarborough did Continue reading "‘Do Your Job’: Scarborough Goes on Twitter Tirade After Media Critic Calls Him Trump Supporter"

Newsonomics: The thinking (and dollars) behind The New York Times’ new digital strategy


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It was a quiet manifesto — an 11-page document that unofficially serves as The New York Times’ follow-up to the much dissected Innovation Report of May 2014. (Nieman Lab’s story about the Innovation Report is the most popular story in its history.) Look at the signatures at the bottom of this new Times document and you can see the impact of a year’s changes. CEO Mark Thompson, now moving into his fourth year at the company, has built his own team, and the 10 signatories inked their futures in what we’ll call the 2020 memo. Editor Dean Baquet, chief revenue officer Meredith Levien, and executive vice president for digital products Kinsey Wilson were among those laying out “Our Path Forward,” first in writing, and now in a series of sessions in the Times building with hundreds of staffers. “We’ve talked to a dozen groups already,” Thompson told me Wednesday.
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The mourning of AJR is less about a decline in press criticism than the loss of an institution


This post is by Kevin Lerner from Nieman Lab


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The ecosystem of press criticism is probably as strong now as it has ever been: columnists like Jack Shafer of Politico, public-minded academics like Jay Rosen of NYU, in-house critics like New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan. There are press watchdog organizations and regular press reporting and criticism in places like Gawker and major newspapers and the Poynter Institute and, of course, Nieman Lab and Nieman Reports. But after this month, there is one fewer journalism review in the United States. When Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, announced that the American Journalism Review would be ceasing publication, the world of journalism mourned. But the AJR that most of them probably missed hadn’t existed for about two years, not since editor Rem Rieder — its last paid employee — had left to become an editor and columnist Continue reading "The mourning of AJR is less about a decline in press criticism than the loss of an institution"

Circa, the buzzed-about mobile news app, is running out of money


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Back in December, News Corp’s Raju Narisetti sent in his contribution for our annual Predictions for Journalism package. One of his predictions was really more of a wish: that “the good people of Circa’s newsroom have a soft, good landing somewhere.” That wish will now be tested. Fortune’s Dan Primack reported yesterday evening that Circa — the mobile-first, idea-laden, atomized-content news startup that’s gotten a ton of attention in recent years — had failed to get a new round of venture funding and was now looking for a buyer:
“This isn’t a ‘sell the assets’ only situation,” explains [CEO Matt] Galligan, adding that Circa is working with an undisclosed third party to find a buyer. “This is an acquisition process, and we’re talking with a number of interested parties. One possibility is that we keep the brand. Another
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The 14 Most Important Media Reporters


This post is by Andrew Kirell from Mediaite


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Several years ago, we posted a list of the most important media reporters. A lot has changed since then, and so we’ve decided to update that list for where we stand in 2015. As we know all too well here at Mediaite, a media entity reporting on the media can be a tricky business. Reporters and media executives despise being judged by others (though they will readily judge others), and a lot of the business has become polarized in various echo chambers of sorts. And so finding a handful of media reporters and analysts whose stories are interesting, unique, and have the potential to wield influence and strike fear in the heart of media members is not an easy thing to do. Many of these writers are the competition to our own excellent media reporting, but we want to commend these 14 people for doing the job in a truly
Brian Stelter, CNN
Eric Deggans, NPR
JK Trotter, Gawker
Jim Romenesko
Jay Rosen
Scott Jones, FTVLive
Betsy Rothstein, The Daily Caller
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John Oliver, HBO
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