Issue #119 — The high privacy cost of free websites & notes on membership

This week: More ideas about membership, more journalists carving their own path and more tips about building community and growing your newsletter. Enjoy this weeks reading/listening and feel free to forward to a friend!

💯 Top picks

Notes on membership

Last week the Membership Puzzle Project shared a new guide on memberships. This short collection of notes from the director of that project, Jay Rosen, is a great insight into the differences between subsidy systems (like advertising and government funded journalism) and direct payments via subscriptions.

💸 Business models

Casey Newton on leaving The Verge and the future of tech journalism

Sarah Jeong talks to Newton about the details of his deal, subscription journalism, and what makes email such a good media format

The art of retention through community building

"It’s time for publishers to take their brands off the page and screen, and integrate them into people’s lives to keep the subscribers they’ve attracted during the pandemic and build long-term loyalty, says Hayley James, Vice President at Sense New York."

How I ran an NPR-style pledge drive to grow my newsletter

"The specific strategies can vary, but in most cases the publisher, for some period of time ranging anywhere from a week to a month, will cut its subscription prices while simultaneously bombarding the audience with a large volume of messages encouraging them to subscribe."

In reader revenue, it’s all about who you know

"For news organizations betting the future on consumer revenue, there might not be a more important key performance indicator than known readers."

✍️ Modern journalism

Media collective gal-dem survived losing 75% of its revenue

"Personal essays, wellbeing content and the launch of its membership programme allowed gal-dem to overcome the loss of three-quarters of its revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

News about politics bums you out and can make you feel ill — but it also makes you take action

"Who would buy a product that reliably makes them sad, or anxious, or worried, or overwhelmed?"

💻 Technology

The high privacy cost of a “free” website

"Trackers piggybacking on website tools leave some site operators in the dark about who is watching or what marketers do with the data."

Audio articles help Zetland gain 2,000 new members

"Four in five features by the Danish slow journalism outlet are consumed as reporter-narrated audio stories that 'have that campfire feel to them' rather than as written content, fuelling success of its membership programme."

Should publishers focus on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram?

Some large publishers like The Economist and The Evening Standard have very successful strategies for these platforms.

[Video] AMP for email: Everything you need to know

April Mullen and Jen Capstraw share everything you need to know about the next "big thing" in email.

🤷 WTF?

How work became an inescapable hellhole

"Instead of optimizing work, technology has created a nonstop barrage of notifications and interactions. Six months into a pandemic, it's worse than ever."