Welcome back 👋 This weeks issue features tips for publishers about site performance, new research about audience engagement, peer support initiatives for journalism and more. Enjoy!
💯 Top picks
Having solid site performance is increasingly important for bringing organic traffic to your site and having healthy conversion rates. Big publishers have found that they lose 10% of their traffic for every extra second it takes for the site to load.It doesn’t matter if publishers are generating revenue from ads, memberships or subscriptions - site performance can have a big impact on revenue!
💸 Business models
A funded experiment involving dozens of newsrooms has been investigating whether audience engagement improves revenue. The results? Higher engagement and more conversations – but no evidence that this translates into money (yet).
“Almost half of all internet users are currently using ad blockers, and Google itself has launched a native adblocker in its web browser Chrome. Digiday predicts the cost to publishers could exceed $35 billion by 2020. What can publishers learn from this large population of readers that block ads?”
A program called Grant for the Web has been designed to give $20 million per year for five years to people working on building a proposed browser standard for micropayments. This is an interesting project considering it’s set against a backdrop where publishers have been reporting that micropayments simply don’t work!
✍️ Modern journalism
Find out how to cut through the noise and ensure your work gets in front of the right people with these 5 tips from journalist Michelle Faust Raghavan.
WSJ reports that Facebook is only planning to pay “a minority” of publishers whose headlines are featured in their upcoming news section.
Many groups have warned this may stifle free speech and give governments too much power. The new act will require all platforms to correct or remove content when directed by the government.
In an opening essay from a book about diversity in journalism, Tanya Pampalone investigates how the power of language impacts global news.
OpenNews announced a new peer-review program that connects people in smaller newsrooms with experienced data journalists. They’ve launched the project based on conversations with local journalists about their needs, and aim to start small to figure out what works best, before scaling.
Ren LaForme shares a review of a hot new tool for podcasting called Descript, which creates a text transcript of an audio file and then allows you to reorder or delete parts of the text and automatically apply those "edits" to your audio file. It sounds pretty cool and Ren is a fan as it saves a lot of time - but warns that there is a potential for misuse.
Washington Post producer Dave Jorgenson landed a role at the video department and has made moves to manage their TikTok strategy… by making silly videos of himself!
“Apple News+, Apple’s subscription news and magazine service, has launched for users who live in the UK and Australia”
Not that we needed proof that the future of news is online in 2019… but Starbucks has stopped selling printed news completely and offers customers (limited) free access to paywalled online news sites instead ☕