Issue #38 — Subscriptions, subsidies, and pressure on platforms in 2019

We're back with the past week's roundup of the most important stories about publishing, journalism and the media. Welcome to our newest subscribers – you're joining a discerning group of people who are interested in the future of publishing. We're all in this together!

This week we've got plenty of articles about subscription business models, why tech platforms need to focus on good journalism, an overview of the benefits of visual storytelling and much more.

Thanks for the support and enjoy this weeks top reads 👉


💯 Top picks

The news industry is refocusing attention away from Facebook and over 52% of those who participated in this Reuters Institute study expect subscriptions and memberships to be the focus this year. There are also some worries that these funding models will have some limitations, and there will need to be more subsidies for quality news. Full report here!

💸 Business models

Building subscriptions and memberships for quality journalism: How Tribune Publishing, The Guardian, and Slate did it

The Lenfest Institute have published a 16-page study backed with data from Slate, The Guardian and Tribune Publishing about how they’ve each tackled reader revenue with a strong focus on valuing good journalism.

Magazine publishers race to capitalise on the paywall trend

“Amid changing consumer perceptions toward paid content, publishers embrace both new and tested methods for marketing subscriptions and reducing churn.”

Texas Monthly launch a metered paywall

Here’s an example of a publication taking ownership of their business model and simply asking their readers to pay for quality content. Dan Goodgame, Editor in Chief at Texas Monthly, wrote this letter to their readers to “do what our print subscribers have done for 46 years”.

Medium is spinning up 4 new independent publications

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same thing they did - in some form - with The Awl, The Hairpin, The Ringer, Pacific Standard, Backchannel, Matter, Electric Lit, Femsplain, The Billfold, The Development Set, and more — all of which were subsequently spun-out, laid-off, or shut down with little-to-no warning. So many people are becoming increasingly skeptical about the approach.

✍️ Modern journalism

Knight pledges $300 million to local news, free speech, and media literacy organisations

“Among the grantees: The American Journalism Project gets $20 million, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press gets $10 million, and The News Literacy Project gets $5 million. And there’s more, lots more.”

In a high-choice media culture, what do news readers really want to read about

Another Reuters Institute report based on a qualitative research method about how relevance works for news audiences and how readers decide what news to engage with across multiple devices and platforms.

10 insights on the state of visual storytelling in 2019

Take a look at the latest in editorial design and immersive digital storytelling with thoughts from 10 industry leaders in editorial, journalism and content.

👩‍💻 Technology

Why tech platforms need to be built on journalistic values

“It’s the reason your feed is overrun with click-bait, why serious or controversial stories lack context, why stories don’t receive proper attribution, and stories with false information gain momentum. This is what we’re facing right now.”

First signs of a subscription model for podcasts

Since podcasts are usually consumed via an app, listeners have formed consumption habits which makes it difficult for publishers to offer premium audio. But this may be changing with new business models emerging for podcast content including subscription, early-access and member only!

Verification tools: Placing trust in humans, robots or both of them?

The Global Editors Network’s programme are building a free Media Literacy Toolkit for Newsrooms around Europe to help journalists take ownership of their work and fight misinformation, with inspiration from other tools such as NewsGuard and Factmata.

🤷 WTF?

Google says it’s fighting misinformation, but how hard?

The search giant recently presented a white paper detailing the steps they are taking to fight misinformation at YouTube, Google News and Google Search - including relying on human curators to determine high-quality content.

There's more to this story

Sign in to view the members-only discussion of this week's newsletter, or subscribe to join the community and receive next Sunday's edition direct to your mailbox!

Sign up now