Apple might be getting into the podcast-making business. Is its reign as the industry’s benevolent overlord coming to an end?


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


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There had been rumors, and there had been increasing reason to believe them. Spotify’s buzzy start to the year, in which the Swedish platform spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring its way into the podcast business, had begun to inspire questions about the future of Apple’s position as the dominant podcast distributor. Those questions got even louder as it became apparent Spotify was quickly becoming a strong second-place podcast distributor. Surely such an ascendance would prompt Apple to mount some sort of response. Indeed, maybe the rising competition would be so alarming that Cupertino might even begin reconsidering its longtime position as the impartial steward (and enforcer) of the open podcast ecosystem. Well, from the sounds of a report that dropped this afternoon, the company might indeed be doing just that. Earlier today, Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw and Mark Gurman broke the news that Apple is planning to “fund Continue reading "Apple might be getting into the podcast-making business. Is its reign as the industry’s benevolent overlord coming to an end?"

West Coast offense: Los Angeles gets a new hub for podcasting to match WNYC Studios out east


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


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Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 218, dated July 16, 2019. California dreamin’. This morning, Southern California Public Radio of supposedly sleepy Pasadena — one of the two major public radio stations serving Los Angeles (excluding KUSC), the other being Santa Monica’s KCRW — announced the launch of a new podcast division called LAist Studios, which the organization bills as “a new podcast development and production studio dedicated to expanding upon the storytelling capabilities of SCPR.” I suppose you could describe the division as, roughly speaking, the West Coast equivalent of WNYC Studios…or more precisely, an evolution of whatever WNYC Studios is supposed to be at this point in time. The association between those two public radio podcast businesses isn’t only superficial; there’s connective tissue between the two institutions. LAist Studios is the first major initiative rolled out by Herb Scannell, Continue reading "West Coast offense: Los Angeles gets a new hub for podcasting to match WNYC Studios out east"

What sort of news travels fastest online? Bad news, you won’t be shocked to hear


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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As the old newsroom saw puts it, a thousand planes landing safely isn’t a story. One plane that doesn’t is. That lens on newsworthiness has always given an edge to negative news — wars over peace, crimes over safety, fights over agreement. We know by now that the audience doesn’t always care for those choices; many view the news as little more than a source of aggravation, helplessness, anxiety, stress, and general negativity. (This year’s edition of the Digital News Report features no fewer than 49 mentions of “negative” or “negativity.”) But we also know that negative stories — especially those that come with an emotional response baked in — are also the ones that people click on and share. That’s the context for an interesting new study out from three researchers at the University of Muenster, Florian Buhl, Elisabeth Günther, and Thorsten Quandt.
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Nearly 7,000 people threatened to cancel their newspaper subscriptions. Here’s what got them to stay.


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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You’re a print newspaper subscriber, and one morning your paper doesn’t show up. You call customer service (how brave of you!) and threaten to cancel. The apologetic customer service rep offers you a discount for the remainder of your subscription, which you accept. But what will you do when that subscription comes up for renewal? According to a new study from Notre Dame and Emory, newspaper subscribers who receive a short-term price adjustment to quell the disappointment of a delivery failure are actually less likely to renew their subscription when the time comes — suggesting that newspapers might want to adjust their tactics for addressing customer complaints. Among the things they can try instead: Renewal discounts, extending or upgrading the subscriber’s existing subscription, and regularly taking the opportunity to remind customers of what the “full” subscription price is. “Discounting the cost of a subscriber’s service may lead subscribers Continue reading "Nearly 7,000 people threatened to cancel their newspaper subscriptions. Here’s what got them to stay."

How Free Press convinced New Jersey to allocate $2 million for rehabilitating local news


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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When the state of New Jersey was about to make more than $300 million off of the FCC’s spectrum sale auction — sort of like money falling from the sky for once in your life, really — it was a moment that Free Press had been waiting for. Founded in 2003, Free Press is an advocacy group focused on getting the public more involved in the future of journalism and information-sharing, which often involves community organizing, research, and lobbying the government. Sometimes that means convincing officials to set aside millions of dollars in support of local news — and sometimes that also means shepherding the money all the way through the legislative process, watching it get approved but not actually funded by the governor, and finally getting the money allocated a year later, days before you head out on vacation. This was Mike Rispoli’s process, as the News Voices director Continue reading "How Free Press convinced New Jersey to allocate $2 million for rehabilitating local news"

Nuclear disasters, information vacuums: How a lack of data in Fukushima led to the spread of fake health news


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

“They did not have accurate information about the disease incidence.” Last fall, a city council member in Minamisoma City, Japan circulated a printed leaflet among residents of the community, near where the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster happened in 2011. (It was the first nuclear disaster to occur since the internet became widely available.) The pamphlet reported that rates of thyroid cancer and leukemia increased dramatically after the accident. But, researchers from Minimisoma write in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine this month, the data was incorrect. It was created…

…using biased interpretation of health insurance claims data in the Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, a core medical institution in the city. Such data are
Continue reading "Nuclear disasters, information vacuums: How a lack of data in Fukushima led to the spread of fake health news"

Governments making “fake news” a crime risk stifling real journalism — accidentally or intentionally


This post is by Alana Schetzer from Nieman Lab


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The rapid spread of fake news can influence millions of people, impacting elections and financial markets. A study on the impact of fake news on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, for instance, has found that fake news stories about Hillary Clinton were “very strongly linked” to the defection of voters who supported Barack Obama in the previous election. To stem the rising influence of fake news, some countries have made the creation and distribution of deliberately false information a crime. Singapore is the latest country to have passed a law against fake news, joining Germany, Malaysia, France, Russia, and others. But using the law to fight the wave of fake news may not be the best approach. Human rights activists, legal experts, and others fear these laws have the potential to be misused to stifle free speech, or unintentionally block legitimate online posts and websites. Singapore’s new law
The Conversation
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Here’s how some for-profit local news outlets are building subscriptions


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Nonprofit status has been enormously helpful for local news outlets, both those kicking off as newbies or transitioning from the commercial (and profit-losing) life. Two hundred organizations are now registered with the Institute for Nonprofit News, collectively bringing in more than $350 million in revenue last year and, of course, doing the important work of the journalism itself. But that doesn’t mean for-profit local journalism models are all lost. In a new Shorenstein Center paper, special projects director Heidi Legg reviews some the non- and for-profit leaders in local news (as well as the mobilizers infusing the local news market with more money and ideas, like the American Journalism Project and Report for America). Sure, the billionaire model works sometimes — you know the drill, find a benefactor who has local ties and money to spend — but the odds of that happening in every local market aren’t great.
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How CALmatters is growing out of its startup stage


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Four years ago, CALmatters launched as a new statewide, policy-focused, nonprofit reporting machine for California. Two years ago, the organization was building relationships with other local and regional outlets to grow its presence. Now, it’s time to tweak a few things — starting with its business plan and branding as it steps into the role of “convener of journalism across the state.” That’s how Neil Chase describes it. He joined CALmatters as CEO from Digital First Media’s Bay Area News Group in January, taking the executive baton from Dave Lesher who stepped fully into the other half of his role as editor. (Marcia Parker is still publisher/COO.) The first order of business was, well, creating a business plan. “For an organization that started with an editorial focus and very generous founding donors, it wasn’t necessary to build up the business side any earlier — but
Continue reading "How CALmatters is growing out of its startup stage"

Hong Kong protests, but also the Met Gala: The New York Times Chinese edition looks for new audiences


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Amid Hong Kong protests, trade wars, and the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, it’s been a big summer for news about China — but of course it’s not easy for Chinese citizens to see uncensored versions of that news. The news is there, however, for people who can use VPNs to get around the Great Firewall — and one place they can find it is at The New York Times’ Chinese-language edition, which turned seven this summer and was the paper’s first foreign-language edition. (The second was NYT en Español, which launched in 2016.) The site initially launched to attract China’s growing middle class. A few years in, it’s expanding, with an email newsletter, a WeChat account for non-political stories, and side-by-side Chinese/English versions of stories. I spoke with Ching-Ching Ni, editor-in-chief of the Times’ Chinese site and a 2009 Nieman
Continue reading "Hong Kong protests, but also the Met Gala: The New York Times Chinese edition looks for new audiences"

Working across disciplines: A manifesto for happy newsrooms


This post is by Uli Köppen from Nieman Lab


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This piece is from our sister publication Nieman Reports.

Do you want to be ready for a startup in your newsroom, for new research methods, immersive storytelling, and product thinking? Then open doors for people with different skill sets. Invite coders, statisticians, bio-engineers, designers and {INSERT YOUR WILDCARD DISCIPLINE HERE} to work with you. But you’ll also need a fresh toolset and new management approaches. Working with and within an interdisciplinary team at BR Data, the data journalism team of the German public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk for the last few years (yay, BR Data!), I came to Harvard last summer as a 2019 Nieman Fellow with a lot of questions about how to do it better. Here are some of the answers I found. I divided my attention during my Nieman year among interdisciplinary newsroom management, automating the news, and algorithmic accountability reporting. I got to talk Continue reading "Working across disciplines: A manifesto for happy newsrooms"

Six months into 2019, what new do we know about the state of podcasting?


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


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Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 217, dated July 9, 2019. A midyear check-in. I feel like I’ve been somnambulant. How is it already July? The past half-year slipped by like a breeze, and I’m still processing the two big news events that have defined the year in podcasting so far: Spotify’s massive buys into podcasting and Luminary’s bungled rollout, the latter of which has begun to carry the weight of a parable. Both are complicated stories with endless implications, but they also happen to be the kinds of stories with consequences that will only become truly apparent in the slow, trickling aggregate — bit by bit and then all at once, like tankers in the ocean. Or climate change, I suppose. Which is why, at this point into the year, I continue to fixate on anything and everything related to those two tentpole
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Not just one foundation, not just one newsroom: How the Colorado Media Project is trying to rebuild a local news ecosystem


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Look at the local journalism scene of almost any metropolitan area in the U.S., and you’ll find a similar set of players facing a similar set of challenges. One remaining daily newspaper, facing still more cuts and cratering print advertising. A few TV stations, buttressed by advertising but facing mergers and uncertain investment in journalism. A public radio station, supported by residents but not immune to the industry’s crises. Maybe a startup or two trying to scope out a new vision. And it’s all darkened by a cloud of drip-dry revenue, broken trust in media, and important stories already going unreported. It’s a lot of problems and not so many people trying to address them — mostly the journalists trying to keep their jobs in the first place. But in Colorado, hundreds of people — journalists, professors, students, business folk, local foundations, and more — have stepped up Continue reading "Not just one foundation, not just one newsroom: How the Colorado Media Project is trying to rebuild a local news ecosystem"

Can a squat wooden disk lead to better civic conversations and smarter journalism? Cortico has $10 million to try it out


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Journalists aren’t always the greatest listeners. Yes, it’s kind of in the job description, but sometimes selective listening, not to mention selection bias, can warp what messages actually reach their ears — and their stories. What if a journalist could be a fly on the wall in residents’ conversations about community issues? Or maybe just a smart speaker-ish device sitting at the center of the discussion table, about the “size of a hug”? Cortico, a three-year-old nonprofit working out of the MIT Media Lab, has been developing a high-tech listening network for communities and local newsrooms seeking to tune in. The Local Voices Network is made up of people who gather around Cortico’s devices, which it calls “digital hearths,” for conversations. (They look a bit like tiny lazy Susans, a bit like flying saucers someone made in shop class.) The nonprofit has raised more than $10 million
Continue reading "Can a squat wooden disk lead to better civic conversations and smarter journalism? Cortico has $10 million to try it out"

With a new round of funding, Wondery is ready to push podcasts overseas


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 216, dated July 2, 2019. The clampdown has, in a way, been foreshadowed by a recent attack of user-generated audio content. Last month, Apple restricted Chinese users from accessing podcasts that aren’t hosted by its local partners, effectively preventing those with a Chinese Apple account from consuming content unchecked by Chinese censors. Re-upping my column from May, if you need background context on the podcast portion of that ecosystem.
Reality binds [by Caroline Crampton]. It’s safe to say that major broadcasters in Britain were pretty slow to get involved with podcasting. I’ve written about this a fair bit before, mostly in relation to the BBC, but it’s easily applicable to the U.K.’s major private media entities, like ITV and Channel 4. The former, though, appears to have broken through on the audio front over Continue reading "With a new round of funding, Wondery is ready to push podcasts overseas"

In Youngstown, an American city loses its only daily newspaper — and it won’t be the last


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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A declining newspaper is better than no newspaper. A rundown newspaper is better than no newspaper. A bad newspaper is better than no newspaper. Some people will disagree with me there. There are those in the local digital news world who argue that it’ll take the final shutdown of a city’s daily to trigger the changes that can make vibrant local online news workable — and, by extension, that any help given to those declining dailies is just postponing that glorious transition. Maybe. But my strong suspicion is that, whenever a local newspaper closes, whatever evolves next is unlikely to replace whatever journalistic firepower has been lost. Apparently, we’ll soon get a chance to find out. For the past decade, daily newspapers have been shrinking, not shutting down; since 2004, only about 60 U.S. daily newspapers have closed out of more than 1,300. Most of those were two-paper cities
Continue reading "In Youngstown, an American city loses its only daily newspaper — and it won’t be the last"

When a local team wins a national championship, your daily newspaper will tell you all about it! (Um, 36 hours later)


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




When journalists wants to argue that print has a long life ahead of it, one common move is to point to the enormous demand that arises for printed paper the day after the local sports team has won a championship. “See?” they’ll say, attaching a picture of diehard fans lining up for a broadsheet souvenir to hang in the den back home. “You can’t do that with a website!” It’s pretty hard, it should be said, to build a sustainable business model off of hoping each of your hometown squads can win every title every year. But it’s absolutely correct that a daily’s print edition after a climactic win is a uniquely valuable artifact — a physical manifestation of the bond between newspaper and community, a memento for a thrilling spike of civic pride. On Wednesday night, Vanderbilt’s baseball team won the College World Series, beating Michigan
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Yes, it’s worth arguing with science deniers — and here are some techniques you can use


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

Countering science denialism. Arguing with the anti-vaxxers/flat earthers/climate change deniers may feel futile, but research just published in Nature Human Behaviour suggests that it’s actually worth it and can be effective. Philipp Schmid and Cornelia Betsch of the University of Erfurt in Germany conducted six experiments, online with 1,773 subjects, to see how to “counter arguments of denial at the very moment that they reach an audience, that is, rebutting deniers in public discussions.” These discussions may take place on social media or TV. “Science advocates” have often been reluctant to enter into these discussions at all, worrying they’ll do more harm than good. Here’s what Schmid and Betsch tested, per a write-up of

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During the Indian election, news audiences consumed a wide and diverse range of sources


This post is by Subhayan Mukerjee and Sílvia Majó-Vázquez from Nieman Lab


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How do Indian news audiences navigate the online news domain? Can one find patterns of audience fragmentation in the Indian media ecosystem? At the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, we recently analyzed the behavior of online news audiences in India during the 2019 general elections to understand news consumption in a unique market in the Global South that is characterized by rapid growth in internet penetration, and that has witnessed a surge in the number of digital-born outlets that compete with legacy media for attention and engagement. Given the dearth of empirical studies about news audience behavior in the world’s largest democracy, our study provides a benchmark for future comparative research on news consumption across platforms and across countries to build on. In this study, our team of researchers (Silvia Majó-Vázquez, Subhayan Mukerjee, Taberez Ahmed Neyazi, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen) found that online
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The Associated Press and Google are building a tool for sharing more local news — more quickly


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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In Google’s second recent commitment to local news, the Associated Press and the Google News Initiative will build a tool for member newsrooms to directly share content and coverage plans. (And no, it won’t be a glorified Google Doc or spreadsheet.) “The AP has long been a content provider but we also want to be a provider of capability,” Noreen Gillespie, the AP’s deputy managing editor for U.S. news, told me. The setup, known as the Local News Sharing Network, involves almost two dozen local publishers in New York state, including the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, the Albany-based Times Union, Fordham University’s WFUV radio station, and the WRNN TV station in New Rochelle. Several New York members had approached the AP and complained that there wasn’t enough state news available, especially at the capital. So they had started sharing their reporting amongst themselves. “We’ve heard about these private Continue reading "The Associated Press and Google are building a tool for sharing more local news — more quickly"