Issue #48 — We launched a paywall. It worked! Mostly.

Happy Sunday and welcome back to your roundup of the most important stories in digital publishing. There’s been lots of interesting things going on (again) including controversy at The Correspondent, how writers are leveraging paid newsletters - and as always - the latest insights & news about paywalls and memberships. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

We launched a paywall. It worked! Mostly.

Wired launched a paywall a year ago to give themselves greater incentives to conduct high-quality reporting and to rely less on clickbait material. A year on with a 300 percent increase in new subscribers, they’ve shared an honest overview of what they learned and what surprised them. A must read!

💸 Business models

The Correspondent: "We screwed up" after deciding not to open up a US newsroom

The English-language expansion of the Dutch news site has found itself in hot water and issued a (poorly received) public apology to team members, ambassadors and supporters. The site has always taken great pride in transparency with its subscribers — but made a huge mistake in promising a US focused publication with a US newsroom during a $2.6 million crowdfunding campaign, and then failing to follow up on that promise!

Writers can turn their ideas into meaningful dollars by sending paid email newsletters to small audiences, with the freedom to write about what ever they want!

How the decision to paywall New Zealand's largest newspaper will affect other media

New Zealand’s largest general newspaper has launched a paywall this week, with likely repercussions for other media organisations and readers.

How to create a membership strategy [Video]

Emily Goligoski from the Membership Puzzle Project delivered a talk about strategy for memberships at the recent Splice Beta event in Thailand – check it out here.

✍️ Modern journalism

The Guardian looks to its future as it makes first operating profit in 20 years

“The Guardian has slam-dunked its way to financial sustainability. The publisher has emerged battle-worn but victorious from a grueling three-year plan in which it cut costs by 20% and resisted erecting a hard paywall in favour of a donation-based membership scheme.”

Readers are made of more than their wallets. They can volunteer, too!

Maldita.es, a nonprofit fact-checking org in Spain sent out a survey of 10 questions and ended up getting 2,500 people offering up their skills including help with recording audio, translation services, proofreading and much more.

Product teams have taken national news organisations by storm. What’s happening locally?

“When you’re trying to pilot a newsletter/build out a membership program/tweak the calls to action on your news organisation’s website, it often helps to have one person (or team) in charge of making those calls […] Enter: the product manager”

Email is at the heart of The New Yorker’s editorial strategy

Global Editors Network chat with Dan Oshinsky about the editorial process at The New Yorker and how and why the newsletter has become a vital component that provides its readers with the exclusive content they expect.

As the Markup implodes, Craig Newmark is learning how Journalism Really Works

“The tech-nerd founder of Craigslist infamously helped to decimate journalism—inadvertently. But he’s finding that remaking it is not that simple.”

👩‍💻 Technology

A new publication with a focus on international tech issues outside of the US and Europe

Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of a Google executive, has announced that she will be founding a nonprofit that will cover the effects of technology internationally. She plans to launch by the end of 2019!

What does Luminary’s very bad week tell us about podcasters’ collective power?

The latest Hot Pod newsletter takes a look back at last week’s Luminary debacle and other hot topics in the podcast world.

Only 25 percent of journalists are well equipped to interpret data and statistics

In a recent survey, 80% of journalists said they felt it was very important to interpret data, but only 25% of them felt confident in doing so. This article suggests the training and preparation for the profession of journalism often fall short.

🤷 WTF?

A wild plan to crowdsource the fight against misinformation

Misinformation expert Claire Wardle has an idea — we should donate our social media feeds anonymously to help fight fake news.

There's more to this story

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