Quartz, built on free distribution, has put its articles behind a paywall


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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At its debut nearly seven years ago, Quartz’s model was to be everywhere — not behind a paywall, not locked inside a mobile app, ready to build an audience through social sharing. “In 2012, the very clear strategy for us was to create as little friction as possible to growth, because you start with an audience of zero. We did not want to create any barrier to either discovering or sharing our content,” Quartz publisher Jay Lauf said in a talk here at the Nieman Foundation in 2016. “So whether it was a paywall or an app that you had to go download and that we hoped you would open, all of those things were barriers to introducing a brand-new media property to a new audience.” Having no paywall was “part of the original equation: mobile-first and free, embracing the open web,” he told Frederic Filloux. And it worked:
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So some people will pay for a subscription to a news site. How about two? Three?


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The path forward for premium media is seemingly clear: Put up a paywall. Digital advertising is a duopoly-dominated mess; any print or broadcast cross-subsidy you might have is declining at one speed or another. Your loyal core digital readers may be only a tiny fraction of that big “monthly uniques” number you put into press releases — but some of them are willing to pay for what you do. Reader revenue is relatively reliable, month to month or year to year, and it’s at the center of media company plans for 2019 and beyond. But how many paywalls will people really pay to click past? It’s worked for The New York Times; it’s worked for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. But does it work for local newspapers? Metro dailies? Weekly or monthly magazines? Digital native sites? The data thus far isn’t super encouraging, and that’s the world
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Newsonomics: Atlantic Media’s Quartz sale is as quirky and quartzy as the site itself


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Give David Bradley new credit for publishing innovation. The Atlantic Media owner built his company into one of the country’s highest quality journalism companies, embracing the possibilities of digital far better than most of his peers. Over a couple of decades, he and his team assembled a group of high-performing B2C and B2B companies. Now, as he works to disassemble the group, characteristically, that process is breaking new ground too. Late Sunday night, Atlantic Media announced quite a non-traditional buyer for its six-year-old business news outlet Quartz. “Quartz is being sold to Uzabase, a Japanese business media company,” Quartz’s own headline put it, having to explain the non-household name. The company itself laid out the deal more grandly: “UZABASE Reaches Agreement To Acquire The Global Business News Outlet QUARTZ; Quartz to combine with Uzabase’s business news service, NewsPicks, to create leading global business media platform.” The deal — valued Continue reading "Newsonomics: Atlantic Media’s Quartz sale is as quirky and quartzy as the site itself"

Quartz launches a Facebook Messenger bot (because why not, because experimentation, because people like messaging)


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


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I feel like I’m back in 2016, because Quartz on Thursday announced the launch of its Facebook Messenger chat bot, which delivers news stories and introduces users to select Quartz Obsessions, but will also include a more participatory element (mindfulness challenges, for instance). The bot will learn and “will shape the experience to you and your habits,” Quartz says in its announcement of the new bot experience. (Quartz emphasizes that this is not a replica of its main, chat-focused news app, which has been fiddling with augmented reality capabilities and which Quartz claims has been seen “over one million downloads.”) After tapping through a series of funny introductory chat options, the bot begins to offer a lot of options to explore, from art exhibits to news (at least for me this morning, the news experience on Messenger and on the news app are exactly the same, with Continue reading "Quartz launches a Facebook Messenger bot (because why not, because experimentation, because people like messaging)"

Is the digital content bubble about to burst? For some of the publishers chasing the broadest scale, maybe


This post is by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen from Nieman Lab


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Recent bad news for a number of digital-born news outlets (including BuzzFeed, HuffPost, Mashable, and Vice) is a symptom not only of the intense competition for attention and advertising online, but also of a digital content bubble where most news providers continue to operate at a loss — losses that cannot be sustained indefinitely. So far, the largest digital-born publishers have been sustained by investors, some of whom may be losing their patience. Legacy media outlets have used their offline revenues to bankroll investments in online operations that are still often not profitable on their own. Smaller digital-born operations have started out with money from their founders or philanthropic backers, but many are struggling to break even. More than 20 years into the rise of digital media, it seems clear that the content bubble will eventually burst unless more robust business models are found. Investors’ high Continue reading "Is the digital content bubble about to burst? For some of the publishers chasing the broadest scale, maybe"

Blade Runner 2017: Quartz created a bot to hunt down political news bots on Twitter


This post is by Ricardo Bilton from Nieman Lab


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To ferret out some of the many bots on Twitter that push out political opinions, Quartz has created a bot of its own. The new bot, @probabot_, is designed to search Twitter for accounts that are heavily focused on political topics. These accounts are fed into a tool called Botometer, which uses machine learning to determine the probability that an account is assisted by or run exclusively by a bot. Quartz has already used the tool to classify over thirty accounts, many of which have tweeted hundreds of thousands of times and have thousands of followers. One bot that Quartz’s bot identified, for example, has tweeted or has been retweeted 1.14 million times since April. Quartz has created a Twitter list for all the accounts that @probabot_ has identified as bots.

Alex Jones and Gwyneth Paltrow Both Hawk The Same Wellness Products


This post is by Aidan McLaughlin from Mediaite


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Shockingly, there’s one thing that Gwyneth Paltrow’s frequently mocked Goop health website and Alex Jones’ absurdist Infowars blog have in common: they both hawk the same wellness products. According to an extensive report valiantly undertaken by the good folks at Quartz, many of the wellness products available on the Infowars online shop, which sells male dietary supplements, are the same ones Paltrow’s ritzy blog suggests to its readers. Quartz made a compilation of the various products offered on both websites, comparing the different ways they are branded and marketed — they note that both “make similar claims about the health benefits of these ingredients, but what gets called ‘Super Male Vitality’ by Infowars is branded as ‘Sex Dust’ by Moon Juice” — a brand sold by Goop. For instance, both websites sell a supplement called “Bacopa.” On Infowars, that product is marketed as “Brain Force Plus,” described Continue reading "Alex Jones and Gwyneth Paltrow Both Hawk The Same Wellness Products"

Is there a Trump tweet for that? Quartz’s latest bot experiment surfaces similar tweets from the president’s archives


This post is by Ricardo Bilton from Nieman Lab


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Donald J. Trump contains multitudes. The president’s 140-character official statements have been a source of much schadenfreude on Twitter, where critics — with no shortage of glee — regularly surface old statements from the president that contradict recent stances or otherwise foreshadow current critiques of Trump’s own presidency. There’s a tweet for every occasion. In an effort to see if tech could automate these juxtapositions and possibly surface humans can’t spot, the Bot Studio at Quartz recently created Trump of Yore, a tool that automatically scans new Trump tweets and compares them to tweets in the president’s pre-inauguration 12,647-tweet archive, posting the comparisons to Twitter The tool can’t consistently create ironic juxtapositions between Trump’s previous and current stances (armchair political commentators are safe Continue reading "Is there a Trump tweet for that? Quartz’s latest bot experiment surfaces similar tweets from the president’s archives"

Now you can take a 24-hour Trump news “snooze” on the Quartz app


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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If you’ve started feeling panicky every day between 5 and 6 p.m. because the volume of Trump news and notifications are just too much, there is a solution for you in the Quartz iPhone app: The app was updated Tuesday to let users turn on a “24-hour political timeout” that will not show them any news or notifications about DJT for one full relaxing day. The offering comes at a time when the phones of news junkies — or even just people who have both The Washington Post and The New York Times’ apps installed on their phones — blow up regularly. (See: Nieman Lab staff, 5:45 p.m. during a recent solemn event.) Last week, Continue reading "Now you can take a 24-hour Trump news “snooze” on the Quartz app"

Aplicativo permite que usuários deem 1 tempo de notícias sobre Donald Trump


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Se você começou a sentir pânico todos os dias entre 17h e 18h por causa do volume de notícias sobre Donald Trump e excesso de notificações, há uma solução para você no aplicativo para IPhone Quartz: Ele foi atualizado na última 3ª feira (23.mai.2017) e agora permite que os usuários ativem uma pausa da política por 24h, que não lhes mostrará nenhuma notícia ou notificação sobre Trump por 1 dia inteiro. A oferta surge em 1 tempo em que os telefones de viciados em notícias –ou até mesmo pessoas que têm os aplicativos de The Washington Post e The New York Times instalados em seus celulares– recebem várias notificações regularmente. Semana passada, o Times até experimentou Continue reading "Aplicativo permite que usuários deem 1 tempo de notícias sobre Donald Trump"

Must Reads in Media & Technology: April 19


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. Memo From Brian McGrory on the Boston Globe Reinvention (Boston Globe) 2. Facebook Still Denies What It Is. The Cleveland Murder Shows How. (Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post) 3. Cheddar, Web Video Maker, Bets Millennials Will Use TV Antennas (Gerry Smith / Bloomberg) 4. Facebook Launches Beta of Spaces, its Goofy and Fun Social VR Platform (Lucas Matney / TechCrunch) 5. How YouTube’s Shifting Algorithms Hurt Independent Media (Amanda Hess / New York Times)
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Striking the Right Balance: 5 Tips for Success with Native Advertising


This post is by Bianca Fortis from MediaShift


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In September of 2013, the late David Carr, skeptical of the burgeoning native advertising tactic that was back then “all the rage,” wrote a column titled “Storytelling Ads May Be Journalism’s New Peril.” Three months later, the Times jumped into the fray. Today the company boasts a fully-fledged content marketing arm, T Brand Studio. Adam Aston, vice president and executive editorial director of the Studio, said when it was first launched, there was a sense of anxiety among the Times’ newsroom, as well as advertisers, that the content they created wouldn’t be up to par with its editorial content. “We were really mindful from inception to approach it as fact-first, narrative-first, with a strong story, strong characters,” he said at a recent panel event, hosted by MediaRadar in New York City, about the future of native advertising. “From inception, whether we were making the simplest stories we could
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Must Reads in Media & Technology: March 28


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. Democracy Fund and First Look Media Provide $12 Million in Grant Funding for independent and Non-Profit Journalism (Joe Goldman / Democracy Fund) 2. Tronc’s Second-Largest Shareholder Raises Corporate Governance Questions (Lukas I. Alpert / Wall Street Journal) 3. Google and Facebook Can’t Just Make Fake News Disappear (Danah Boyd / Back Channel) 4. Mobile-Focused Startup Quartz Manages to Actually Turn a Profit on Digital Journalism (Matthew Flamm / Advertising Age) 5. Software Engineer Starts Unlikely Business: A Weekly Newspaper (Rick Rojas / New York Times) 6. The Times’ Subscription Sales Jump 200 Percent Since Pivoting From Breaking News (Jessica Davies / Digiday) Get the Daily Must Reads in Your Inbox!


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How Newsrooms Are Innovating, from VR to Chatbots to Reaching Across the Political Divide


This post is by Bianca Fortis from MediaShift


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Experimentation and adaptability are the keys to charting a new path for digital publishers, said experts from Vice News, the New York Times, Quartz and other innovative newsrooms at a discussion last week in New York City. Take metrics, for example: A decade ago newsrooms were trying to get as much traffic as possible, but publishers now know big numbers don’t necessarily equate to big engagement. “Scale for scale’s sake is pretty much over,” Vice Editor-in-Chief Ryan McCarthy said. “What I’m seeing is that the most valuable relationship you can have with your audience is a habitual one … so we’re focused on getting people back to our website, not raw size.” McCarthy said he thinks ad models will eventually value repeat visitors. Arkadium — which creates interactive content for publishers, with the goal of increasing brand loyalty and engagement — hosted the event. CEO Jessica Rovello asked the panelists
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Must Reads in Media & Technology: March 3


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. Snapchat Stock Finishes Up 44% On First Day (Katie Roof / Tech Crunch) 2. Playing Catch-Up, Condé Nast Navigates a Tricky Digital Evolution (Lucia Moses / Digiday) 3. Twitter Partners with ESL and Dreamhack to Stream Live E-Sports (Rich McCormick / The Verge) 4. After Conflict-of-Interest Questions, NPR is Tweaking its Financial Disclosure Rules (Benjamin Mullin / Poynter) 5. For Quartz, Bots are a Chance to Build a New Path for Interacting With News (And News Outlets) (Joseph Lichterman / Nieman Lab) 6. Why Do the Big Stories Keep Breaking at Night? (Adrienne LaFrance / The Atlantic)

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For Quartz, bots are a chance to build a new path for interacting with news (and news outlets)


This post is by Joseph Lichterman from Nieman Lab


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John Keefe recently joined Quartz as a developer for its new Bot Studio and as the project manager for its app.

He’s been there for three weeks now — though he is quick to point out that he was out of the office for one of them so it’s really only been two weeks — but that’s not stopping Quartz from launching one of the Bot Studio’s first experiments, a Twitter bot to help attendees of the NICAR conference.

Keefe says the Bot Studio, which is funded by a $240,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, will focus on two main areas: How bots and artificial intelligence can help journalists do their jobs better and how news consumers can use them to access news and information. (Knight also

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Must Reads in Media & Technology: Feb. 21


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. Quartz Messaging App Breaks Ground in New Snap-ified Landscape (Ken Doctor / Politico) 3. Inside Forbes’ Lean Approach to Creating Stories for Social Media (Lucia Moses / Digiday) 4. ‘No-Brainer’: Fusion Charges Into Podcasting (Max Willens / Digiday)

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Business execs are still getting a ton of news via email, says Quartz survey


This post is by Joseph Lichterman from Nieman Lab


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More than half of business executives primarily access news on mobile devices and 60 percent purposefully use social media to find news, according to a Quartz survey of 1,357 business executives in 97 countries that was released Thursday. Fifty-nine percent of executives surveyed said they mainly consume news on mobile devices, an increase from 41 percent in 2014. qz1 Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they use social media, but LinkedIn was the most popular social network among the executives, with 72 percent saying they were active on the platform. But when it came to specifically finding news, Twitter was the most popular platform, with 41 percent of respondents accessing news there. qz2 qz3 Still, email was by far the most popular source for news: 94 percent of respondents said they got news via email newsletters. In 2014, 60 percent of respondents said an email newsletter is among the first three sources they turn
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Quartz launches its Bot Studio with $240K from Knight, and plans for Slack and Echo


This post is by Shan Wang from Nieman Lab


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Quartz is betting big on bots. The Atlantic Media-owned outlet is getting a $240,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to launch Quartz Bot Studio, a group focused on developing three bot-related projects in the coming year, for everything from messaging platforms like Slack to voice interfaces like the Amazon Echo (disclosure: Knight is a supporter of Nieman Lab). Quartz will contribute its own resources to the Studio as well, and intends for the projects to continue after its first year. Quartz has already made significant headway in bot experimentation. In February, it debuted a news app structured around the already familiar iMessage texting interface. It has employed a Slackbot for its Next Billion conference; the bot handles logistical questions like Wi-Fi logins and information on speakers and sessions. Its Daily Brief email is now available as a Flash Briefing on the Amazon Echo. Quartz hasn’t settled on exactly which bot-related Continue reading "Quartz launches its Bot Studio with $240K from Knight, and plans for Slack and Echo"