Issue #50 — Paywall blockers & what publishers should do to prepare for changing technology

Happy Sunday and welcome to the 50th issue of Publisher Weekly – with the most important stories and ideas about independent publishing delivered to your inbox every week.

Here’s your latest insights for the future of digital publishing!

💯 Top picks

Paywall blockers: how publishers should prepare for this changing technology

As subscription revenue becomes more popular across publishing, so has the amount of technology available to bypass paywalls. With new software and browser extensions emerging to unlock paid content, publishers are slowly beginning to tighten up their paywalls and tackle known workarounds.

💸 Business models

The Washington Post adds subscription tools to Arc

The Post announced that it has added a suite of subscription tools to Arc, its in-house publishing platform that is also licensed out to other publishers.

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

Quartz is next in line for putting a paywall up in order to diversify revenue streams. You’ll now need to pay $100/year to access all of their latest stories.

Publishers in Latin America reinforce revenue with new membership models

New subscription models are being chosen to engage readers and strengthen journalism, with a strong focus on reader feedback. Some publishers are offering unique member perks such as audio bulletins via WhatsApp, and access to staff meetings.

✍️ Modern journalism

The future is a decentralised ecosystem of independent personal websites

Matthias Ott makes a convincing argument for building your own site, relying less on social media platforms, and working towards a diverse ecosystem of connected personal sites for a better future on the web.

The Correspondent has a new Managing Editor

"I am so excited to build a diverse team that will be collaborative, creative, and consistent in applying The Correspondent’s ten founding principles to our journalism."

Branded content and the battle for your audience’s trust [Podcast]

“Melanie Deziel, founder of StoryFuel, talks with producer Michael O’Connell about the challenges facing newsrooms that are creating branded content. The conversation addresses the impact that tech giants like Facebook and Google have on what you read and the importance of accurately measuring how readers engage with your content online.”

So what is “digital journalism studies,” anyway?

Scholars argue that digital journalism studies shouldn’t be considered a subset of journalism studies, but instead a separate field of own.

Local newsrooms experiment with Instagram to reach young audiences

Missouri School of Journalism grads are taking part in the first ever Instagram Local News summer fellowship, which will offer mentorship for experimenting with reaching new audiences in new ways.

👩‍💻 Technology

Facial recognition, subtitling automation and datasets: how Sky News uses AI to unburden journalists

Sky News are utilising technology to automate mundane tasks and free up reporters time, which can be better spent creating more valuable content.

Misinformation transcends platforms, languages and countries. How can fact-checkers stop it?

“Since January, Poynter has been keeping track of how some of the top fact checks from around the world perform on Facebook compared to the hoaxes they debunk. Overall, it hasn’t been a pretty picture — misinformation regularly gets more likes, shares and comments than fact checks.And the problem is deeper than Facebook.”

Playable podcast episodes to show up in Google search results pages

Plus, Spotify will be updating their app design to better support podcasts. The latest episode of Hot Pod explore the pros and cons of these changes and how it impacts the relationship between publishers and their audiences.

Publishers that closed their comments sections made a colossal mistake

Simon Owens argues hundreds of publishers weakened their position and handed power to major tech platforms by closing down the comments sections on their websites, which was a key resource for maintaining stronger relationships with readers.

🤷 WTF?

Group chats are making the internet fun again

Private group chats are beginning to replace the feed-based social network and allowing people to communicate in specific groups without the pressures of a worldwide audience!