#76 — The state of subscription marketing

#76 — The state of subscription marketing

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💯 Top picks

[Podcast] The state of subscription marketing with Dr. Dave Chaffey

State of Digital Publishing podcast catches up with Smart Insights co-founder to discuss subscription marketing, how to build engagement, community and customer retention. Answering questions about balancing free and paid content and how publishers should approach subscription marketing, this week’s top listen is 57 minutes!

💸 Business models

How local news organisations can fight for their slice of the subscription pie

Subscription businesses have been growing for years - but largely in the tech industry. This article summarises a study from News Media Alliance about news media subscriptions and how publishers can get their share of the pie.

Tortoise claims nearly 20,000 members as it eyes move into podcasting

Last year James Harding left his role at the BBC to launch his own slow news publishing outlet. More than half a million pounds in funding later, Tortoise Media has 20,000 members within the first six months - here’s what they plan to do next.

Focusing on this metric let a newspaper increase reader loyalty (and subscribers too)

German publisher DuMont used to rely on basic web analytics, until they decided these metrics were no longer good enough. Instead they started measuring priority and loyal visitors - correlating this to the likelihood to buy or renew subscriptions. Once these visitors are identified, the publisher sends targeted newsletters, which has resulted in subscription growth.

Facebook’s intentions may not be pure, but its money is real: How publishers made the most of its membership accelerator

“Facebook wants you to know that this story isn’t about them (but it was always about them).”

✍️ Modern journalism

“Moments of Next”: Nielsen identifies exactly when readers are most engaged, and how publishers can benefit from it

“What if you could scientifically pinpoint the exact moment people’s attention is at its peak? What if you could identify the very instant they’re ready and willing to see something new?”

This study found that people prefer to see a feed at the end of your content, and were 20% more attentive than when no further articles were presented at the bottom of the page. Food for thought!

Survival tips for nonprofit newsrooms: Fundraising, membership, and sustainable models

“Revenue options for nonprofit newsrooms now include everything from story sales and membership to crowdfunding and even cryptocurrency tokens.”

Journalists-turned-entrepreneurs on how they built their businesses

More and more journalists are venturing into media entrepreneurship - learn more about how they did it.

Why journalists shouldn’t be afraid of metrics

Read this for the latest insights from a News Impact Academy event in Bucharest about quality journalism, audience development & news metrics.

[Free Course] Diversify and grow the ways you earn revenue shared this series of resources about innovating and testing the ways in which you gain revenue from your audience and how to close the gaps.

👩‍💻 Technology

The Atlantic’s new app takes a cue from email newsletters

Along with an entirely redesigned look, The Atlantic launched a new iOS app that is very newsletterish – complete with a dynamic “Today” screen that changes depending on what time of day it is for the reader.

New tools power collaborative data journalism with a local emphasis

ProPublica have built an open source tool to help journalists collaborate on data coordination. It’s called… Collaborate.

“It’s designed to help multiple people sift through a large dataset and to add information to each data point. It is not meant to be used for statistical data analysis.”

Your monthly guide to sending better emails

The latest issue of Not A Newsletter is here, including learnings about welcome emails, re-engagement strategies and building subscriber-only newsletter products.

🤷 WTF?

Spotify overtakes Apple as the #1 place to podcast

Spotify is rapidly overtaking Apple as the top app for podcasting, overtaking the Apple Podcasts app in a growing number of regions.

#75 — Figuring out why to go paid

#75 — Figuring out why to go paid

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💯 Top picks

Figuring out why to go paid

“We know it’s for user revenue, but what’s the why for the audience?”This article explores the when and why of “going paid” and argues that you should only do it if you have something different or exclusive to share, or offer depth that cannot be found elsewhere.

💸 Business models

Why publishers are creating more subscription products

As more and more media outlets focus on reader revenue, will publishers focus on attracting more subscribers and retaining them to grow, or will they introduce additional subscription products? Twipe explore how multiple verticals are becoming a common option for success.

[Podcast] The pivot to paid could create an unequal news ecosystem

“As many publishers zero in on consumer revenue strategies and hardened paywalls, HuffPost is taking a different tack.”Lydia Polgreen discusses the diminishing returns of news aggregation and alternative sources of revenue at HuffPost.

'There's clarity around what you'll make': SmartNews is paying publishers to be on its platform

“There’s a novel idea being embraced by platforms hungry for publisher content: Pay them.” (Subscription article).

✍️ Modern journalism

Do you want a Trusting News coach?

The staff of Trusting News are helping journalists find better ways to demonstrate credibility and earn trust through one-to-one coaching.

Predictions for the next 5 years in podcasting

“The podcast industry is bigger, richer, more professionalized, and more corporate than when Hot Pod launched five years ago today. Here are the worries that’ll need to be addressed in the next five years.”

Sources and keywords: The fundamentals of online newsgathering

“Regardless of your beat or area of focus, understanding how to use the social web to discover, monitor and research stories is an essential skill.”

This guide from First Draft News shares the best free tools and techniques in newsgathering and monitoring.

Watch your language: “Data voids” on the web have opened a door to manipulators and other disinformation pushers

“There’s no easy solution to them, but the media plays an important role in both combating them and making them worse.”

[Video course] Fundamental search for journalists

“In this course we’re going through some of the tips and tricks on how to make your own research faster and more accurate using Google’s tools. We will go from advanced search through to verification, touching upon visualisation and finishing up with Geo mapping tools to help you tell your stories in a beautiful, interactive way online.”

Don’t miss this free resource from

👩‍💻 Technology

Google has made its search engine more human and this article explores what this means for publishers. The latest algorithm changes could change the rankings for up to 10% of all search queries.

Crash course: custom audiences for social media ads

Buffer created this course that teaches you how to effectively create custom audiences on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

The trouble with TikTok

“Journalists should not be promoting participation in a platform with a documented history of political censorship.”

Adobe, NYT and Twitter want to develop an industry standard for content attribution

“An opt-in system that will allow creators and publishers to securely attach attribution data to content they choose to share”

The next major traffic driver for publishers: Chrome’s mobile article recommendations, up 2,100 percent in one year

“It’s already driving almost as many visits as Twitter, and publishers have no idea why their stories get chosen (or don’t).”

🤷 WTF?

Twitter wants us all to calm down

“Twitter knows we treat each other terribly on Twitter. We dunk, ridiculing friends and strangers via quote-tweets. We ratio, piling on replies to bad tweets.”

In the next few weeks, the platform will be running experiments designed to calm us down and motivate us to use quotes, replies and retweets less destructively.

#74 — Paths to subscription & why people pay for news

#74 — Paths to subscription & why people pay for news

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💯 Top picks

Paths to subscription: Why recent subscribers chose to pay for news

“The move toward subscriptions will require measuring audiences differently, with analytics that measure deep engagement and not just page views. Publishers will need to segment audiences by their loyalty also and by their eventual likelihood to pay.”

💸 Business models

Price elasticity tests yield revenue opportunities for publishers

Mather Economics ran some pricing tests with several publishers to measure the elasticity of digital-only subscriber price. They found that the ideal renewal price is often higher than expected, and digital-only subscribers are less sensitive to price changes than print subscribers.

What it takes to shift a news organisation to reader revenue

“Launching a paywall is easy. Pivoting a whole business from an advertising-centric mindset to one focused on reader revenue is not.”

API investigate the ways in which the news industry needs to develop the skills and technology to sustain membership and subscription programs.

Subscriber-only newsletters aim to build local news loyalty

“We’ve seen data from Google that shows that email newsletters are the single most effective way to get people to decide to subscribe”

It’s time to get personal with consumers, or get lost

“There is a limit to how many publications a consumer will be willing to pay for, and if you want to be one of them, you’ll need to:

  1. give people content so indispensable they cannot live without, or
  2. make them feel connected to something so deeply that they want help keep it alive.”

✍️ Modern journalism

What hope for slow journalism?

Global Editors Network catch up with James Harding and the founding team of Tortoise to discuss the opportunities and challenges of slow journalism.

Glamour Editor in Chief on transforming into a digital-first brand [Podcast]

Glamour UK’s Editor in Chief Deborah Joseph talks Media Voices about the transformation of the publication from print-first to digital-first.

What if scale breaks community? Rebooting audience engagement when journalism is under fire

The latest report from Reuters Institute investigates how digital media navigates audience engagement while keeping up to date with developments in technology, mobile and platform media.

Starting a company to build out a new model for local news

NiemanLab author Ken Doctor has announced a new company called Lookout and a new model for local news, which will launch next year.

👩‍💻 Technology

Will Facebook’s new news tab be a milestone or millstone?

“The money is welcome, and the potential audience is too. But does this push publishers away from being destinations and toward being suppliers?”

The transformation of Condé Nast

How a media mogul defined class and invented the modern magazine.

The Financial Times is rolling out subscriber-only podcasts

“The Financial Times has expanded its audio strategy to include subscriber-only podcasts, a first for the publisher.”

🤷 WTF?

Why editorial illustrations look so similar these days

“The answer boils down to three T’s: technology, taste, and terrible pay.” Quartz explore the trends in “flat design” and why it’s taking over the internet.

#73 (Special Edition) — Announcing memberships & subscriptions in Ghost

#73 (Special Edition) — Announcing memberships & subscriptions in Ghost

As most of you know, this newsletter is run by the team at Ghost.

More than 18 months ago when we came up with the idea to curate the most important stories about new business models for publishing each week, we also started doing our own research into this space as we set out to build a product specifically to serve it.

It feels to us like creating sustainable models for the future of independent publishing has never been more important than it is today. It also feels like people are finally beginning to wake up to the dark side of advertising, the problems of funding journalism in 2019, and the potential for memberships and subscriptions as an alternative. Longtime subscribers will have seen all of these subjects covered in some detail.

While there are a few plugins out there to help create membership sites and a handful of small paid newsletter products — so far there hasn’t been any full-featured independent platform for a membership based publication.

And, of course, that’s exactly what we’ve been working on.

Each year we do a major release, and this year’s is Ghost 3.0. We did a big launch about this last week, and there’s an overview of everything that’s new here — but what’s most relevant to you, is that we’ve announced native support for memberships & subscriptions.

Now, you can use Ghost to create any type of independent paid publication - from a simple newsletter like Sinocism to a full-featured paid publication like The Information.

Best of all: The technology is all open source, independent, and comes with 0% transaction fees of any kind.

It’s different to everything else out there because it allows you to build a business on top of a platform you own - nobody can kick you off or take it away from you when their funding runs out.

Turn your audience into a business with Ghost memberships & subscriptions

We’ve worked incredibly hard on making this the first proper subscription platform for publishers, so we can’t wait to hear what you think.

Early last week I got on the phone with Ben Thompson, one of the very first subscription publishers, to do an interview about this new release for his site, Stratechery:

Stratechery interview by Ben Thompson: Ghost 3.0, An Interview with Ghost CEO John O’Nolan

“I find this extremely compelling … I love the open source aspect … and I look forward to seeing how Ghost develops.”

Ghosting VCs – Crunchbase News

“it has a financing model that might make VCs a little scared. Why? It didn’t need ’em … Ghost is one upstart that proves that raising venture capital isn’t a prerequisite for making a big impact.”

We've been absolutely overwhelmed by the positive response since the launch - Ghost 3.0 has quickly become one of the most popular releases of 2019 on ProductHunt.

An independent publication about remote work, world travel, and building an entirely different kind of life — created by John O'Nolan

You can see some of the new functionality on the Publisher Weekly website (we now have subscriber-only comments for each issue). But I’ve also launched my own paid members publication, called Rediverge, to write about the intersection of technology, travel, and building alternative models for both life and business.

Either way, thank you so much for being a subscriber and for following along with us on this journey. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled issues next week, as normal.

Speak soon

John, and the team at Ghost

Don’t forget, this is a manually written newsletter! You can always hit reply if you want to chat, it’ll go straight to our inbox :)
#72 — How much revenue thousands of indie creators make each month

#72 — How much revenue thousands of indie creators make each month

Next week’s issue is going to be a little different as we’ve got some exciting announcements to make… watch this space 👀

💯 Top picks

Graphtreon: Earnings, graphs and rankings of thousands of independent creators has a ranked list of Patreon creators with information about their revenue and statistics updated daily. With categories spanning writing, magazines, podcasts and more it’s a great place to get some inspiration, discover new content and to understand just how much revenue an independent publisher of any kind can generate!

💸 Business models

How publishers re-engage dormant email subscribers

Publishers who send email newsletters have to find ways to improve open rates and click-through rates. Nothing hurts these metrics more than having a huge list of disengaged subscribers - so what methods can you use to either re-engage or remove churned email readers?

Find out how popular newsletters such as Morning Brew are managing their email lists in this Digiday article.

The News Revenue Hub is launching a pilot project to help news orgs increase their readers’ loyalty

"You can turn loyal readers into members and subscribers. But first, you have to turn occasional readers into loyal readers."

This article explains how the well-established conversion funnel relates to publishers, and what they should be doing to optimise their funnel as membership and subscription models start to take the place of advertising.

Unexpected ways publishers engage readers

Apps, newsletters and social media are some of the most obvious building blocks of a digital strategy in publishing - but there's many other innovative ways to engage with your audience. This article explores three less obvious trends: Building communities, using calendars to deliver news and forming reader habits with WhatsApp groups.

The October edition of your monthly guide to sending better newsletters is here

The latest tips, tools and advice about building an email newsletter from Dan at Not a Newsletter has arrived. This monthly Google Doc curation is one of our top reads each month. We really enjoyed the newsletter spotlight in this issue, with real insights from an independent newsletter writer, Pit Gottschalk, who has over 12k subscribers.

“Publishers are going to live or die based on their relationship with readers”: How Quartz is rethinking its membership offerings

Quartz have announced major leadership changes and are rethinking their membership strategy with a new subscription that is “similar to an subscription, where you’re getting access to this huge library of journalism, than it is to a daily news subscription.”

✍️ Modern journalism

Get rid of your ego and be an empathetic journalist [Podcast]

“It’s about really listening and trying to see audiences for who they are, not who we think they are, and letting them direct the coverage a little bit more than we ever have before,” says P. Kim Bui, director of audience innovation for The Arizona Republic.

A culture of listening strengthens reporting and relationships

To extend the sentiment of the podcast above from a different perspective, this article from American Press Institute includes tips for being more empathetic by developing a stronger culture of listening

How to engage with consumers through private messaging apps

“The rise of dark social sharing poses both threats and opportunities to news organisations - here is how to make the most of it."

Best ways to use Reddit for local journalism

Reddit is one of those corners of the internet where you might just accidentally get lost for a few hours. Increasingly, publishers are using Reddit as a platform to find unique story ideas or to build community. This article shares some of the best and worst ways to use Reddit for local journalism.

👩‍💻 Technology

The Guardian launches subscriber-only, ad-free daily app

“The Guardian has released a daily app for paying subscribers, as part of its quest to reach 2 million financial supporters by 2022. The draw of the new app is that it won’t carry ads and will offer a more streamlined news product.”

The Information will launch Ticker, a tech news app aimed at consumers

The Information are launching an app too! Typically aimed at professionals, the membership news site offers $399 annual subscriptions for investors, entrepreneurs and tech industry executives. Their new app Ticker will be aimed towards consumers, with a much lower price point of $29 per year.

ICFJ Survey: Journalists are embracing tech to tackle daunting challenges

“Journalists around the world are increasingly turning to digital technology to help address daunting challenges such as the spread of misinformation and growing attacks on reporters, according to the International Center for Journalists’ 2019 survey of the State of Technology in Global Newsrooms.”

Spend less time in your inbox with this tool

This Chrome extension promises to help you spend less time on your email, helping you to reclaim back an hour of your time every week.

🤷 WTF?

This Facebook scam siphoned millions from unsuspecting boomers

A “politically connected” entrepreneur was the founder of a company called Ads Inc. which operated subscription traps that would trick people into buying what they believe is a free trial of a celebrity-endorsed product – but what turned out to be a recurring subscription that was difficult to cancel.

#71 — How much money can be made with premium newsletters

#71 — How much money can be made with premium newsletters

Enjoy your Sunday reads!

Submit articles to the community or strike up a conversation – we’d like to hear your feedback.

💯 Top picks

Normcore Tech: How much I make money running a paid newsletter

Data scientist and author of Normcore Tech Vicki Boykis shares a transparent insight of revenue from running a paid newsletter on the side, how many subscribers the newsletter has right now, how many it would need to grow into a full-time income and some worries about VC funded tech.

💸 Business models

How the Post and Courier used a “mini-publisher” approach to create new revenue streams

“Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., created cross-disciplinary teams across the company — spanning the newsroom and the sales/marketing side — to launch new products in specific content areas like food, politics and real estate. The initiative resulted in nearly $900,000 in new product revenue and, in the past two years, an increase in digital subscriptions by 250 percent.”

This publishers comment campaign goes viral in effort to reduce churn

Norwegian publisher Stavanger Aftenblad experienced growth, followed by churn! They decided to launch a campaign to emphasis the comments feature to their existing customers, and encourage them to share their views about the content.

✍️ Modern journalism

Using data as content: The publishers’ “secret weapon” to break through the noise

What’s New In Publishing share a tip from their own playbook and explain how and why you should consider gathering data to fuel your content strategy. The great thing about data driven content is that you can create a completely unique data set that can’t be copied in the same way a “10 best practices” article can. But it can be referenced and linked to, which is great for SEO (and your ego).

How are paywalled news outlets preparing to serve residents in California’s mega-power shutoffs?

“If we’re going to have news that is paid for by audiences, we have to talk about the news that should never be behind paywalls.”

One subscriber or 48,000 pageviews: Why every journalist should know the “unit economics” of their content

“With the advertising people looking at the ad metrics, the subscription people looking at subscription metrics, and journalists looking at outdated metrics…nobody was looking at these metrics together to get a clear view of the business as a whole.”

How BuzzFeed is solving native advertising's scale problem

Simon Owens explores an emergence of a new hybrid ad format that combines native advertising with ecommerce, reducing the barrier to entry for smaller advertisers who are not normally able to spend thousands at a time on traditional custom native ads.

Trust tip: Focus on the audience members who *aren't* yelling at you

Here’s some wholesome advice from the TrustingNews project that is easy to forget when you’re working tirelessly to build something that people value, only to see negativity in the comments.

👩‍💻 Technology

The Washington Post’s most valuable asset is now its software, thanks to Jeff Bezos

“Since Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million in 2013, the Amazon CEO has been carefully in distancing himself from the editorial operation of the fabled newspaper. But behind the newsroom, he has been diligently involved in the development of the publishing software powering the Post‘s digital content.”

Tech platforms are where public life is increasingly constructed, and their motivations are far from neutral

“Instead of thinking about platform companies as the next generation of newspapers, radio stations, or TV channels, we should see them as entirely new entities that shapeshift constantly. Sometimes they are like cities, newsrooms, post offices, libraries, or utilities — but they are always like advertising firms.”

Social media ad budgets continue to grow in 2019

Reports are showing a boost in social media ad spend for 2019, which will take over print ad spend for the first time.“Social (13% of spend) sits behind TV (29%) and paid search (17%) – which breaches $100bn for the first time.”

The data detox kit: Take control of your digital self

This resource from Tactical Tech and Mozilla will take up 30 minutes of your day for 8-days in return for being more in-control of your digital presence. There’s lots of tips in here about controlling your data and being savvy about consuming digital content.

🤷 WTF?

Hating Comic Sans is not a personality

As the creator of Comic Sans said: “If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.”

#70 — Site performance matters for publishers who want healthy conversions

#70 — Site performance matters for publishers who want healthy conversions

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

Slow sites have a negative impact on revenue: Why publishers opt for faster, leaner websites

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

The business case for listening to your audience is still murky (but early results are promising)

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).

What publishers can learn from adblockers

“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?”

Mozilla & Creative Commons want to reimagine the internet without ads... with micropayments

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

5 tips for getting your reporting to the audiences who need it most

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.

Facebook’s coming news tab won't pay everyone

WSJ reports that Facebook is only planning to pay “a minority” of publishers whose headlines are featured in their upcoming news section.

A new 'fake news' law is now in force in Singapore

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.

Watch your language: How English is skewing the global news narrative

In an opening essay from a book about diversity in journalism, Tanya Pampalone investigates how the power of language impacts global news.

Peer support for local journalists working on data stories

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.

👩‍💻 Technology

This tool is going to shape the future of podcasting — and possibly misinformation

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.

The Washington Post’s TikTok guy gets millions of views by being uncool

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 launches Apple News+ in the UK and Australia

“Apple News+, Apple’s subscription news and magazine service, has launched for users who live in the UK and Australia”

🤷 WTF?

Starbucks ditches newspapers

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 ☕

#69 — Loyalty is membership's North Star

#69 — Loyalty is membership's North Star

Welcome back to your latest roundup of the biggest stories and ideas in independent publishing.

Last week’s issue had lots of content about creating better newsletters and this weeks is full of interesting ideas about podcasts. Plus: the latest research about metrics in memberships, what happens when newspapers disappear and how trolls manipulate the media!

💯 Top picks

Loyalty is membership’s North Star – Here’s how news sites & advocacy groups measure it

“The traditional marketing funnel just doesn’t work for us — we have 10 funnels!” Publishers of all sizes running memberships are grappling with the question of how to measure success. The Membership Puzzle Project released their latest piece of research which investigates the most important metrics and how to measure them, with plenty of real life examples.

💸 Business models

Slate shares the details of their podcast revenue for 2019! [Podcast]

Slate has been doing podcasts for 14 years and expects to hit 200 million downloads this year. They will also be reaching another milestone – 50% of their revenue will be from podcasts. This is from both podcast advertising and members-only podcast content which has 60,000 members.Listen to president Charlie Kammerer talk about their success in this 25 minute episode.

How publishers get their reporters to drive subscriptions

“For many newsrooms, paying subscribers have replaced pageviews as the key barometer of success.

That means thinking up new ways to steer reporters to create subscriber-worthy stories. Some, such as Business Insider, offer bonuses for reporters who hit subscription targets. Others, such as News Corp Australia, have tried to implement quotas, which have met resistance from newsroom unions. For many publishers, the answer is to simply raise awareness of what is working among reporters.”

The Information and Bloomberg discuss a bundled subscription

Axios reported that Bloomberg Media and The Information are in talks about a bundled subscription. Could this be the beginning of a trend where publishers with similar audience alignment join forces, in what is becoming a competitive subscription landscape?

✍️ Modern journalism

This company opens up the black box of what print newspaper subscribers are actually reading

German company Lesewert creates a “reading value” score that tracks how readers are consuming printed media. Their data uncovers what people are reading, which days of the week people read the most, as well as demographic information. Unsurprisingly, they found the average age of newspaper readers to be over 60.

How a local newspaper became digital-first to save its 123 year-old legacy

Here’s a real example of how to combat the decline in consumption of printed news. This local newspaper built a digital-first workflow, implemented a paywall and consolidated its subscription plans. They now have increased circulation and revenue! 🙌

The books and movies that made us better journalists

This article is full of reading recommendations from journalists - sharing the most important articles, books and movies that inspired their craft.

Aiming for its next million supporters, The Guardian launches a major “affinity campaign”

The Guardian is now supported by millions of readers - but the publisher knows it needs to start spending money on marketing to continue to earn more reader revenue. So they're launching their first major campaign since 2011, called "Hope is power." Other large publishers like the New York Times are doing similar things.

👩‍💻 Technology

Europe’s “right to be forgotten” doesn’t apply worldwide

A European court has ruled the controversial EU “right to be forgotten” rule which allows EU citizens to ask for information about them to be removed from Google, does not need to apply worldwide.

Useful tool: Support tables for HTML and CSS in emails

Can I Email is a great resource if you’re sending email newsletters. Type in a HTML element or CSS property into the search box and it will show you whether it’s supported by all of the major email clients. Bookmark for later, and don’t forget to check out our curated resources for publishers for other neat tools!

Media Voices Live: How publishers are innovating with podcast

“Publishers are in a unique position to take advantage of the rise in podcasting thanks to their storytelling expertise and ready-made audiences. With listener numbers growing and discoverability improving, there has never been a better time for publishers to create something unique.”

Who could have predicted that Podcoin, an app that promised to pay you to listen to podcasts, didn’t work out

The latest issue of Hot Pod explores the latest news in podcasting technology, including the shut down of Podcoin.

🤷 WTF?

Source hacking: How trolls manipulate the media

A new report published by the digital think tank Data & Society, written by Joan Donovan, Director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, and senior researcher Brian Friedberg, aims to create a taxonomy of trolling tactics.

#68 — The right strategy to monetise your content through reader revenue

#68 — The right strategy to monetise your content through reader revenue

Happy Sunday & welcome back. Here’s your curated list of the most important stories and ideas in digital publishing this week! Thanks for supporting Publisher Weekly ❤️

Remember you can submit articles or get in touch with us directly to let us know what you'd like to see in future issues.

💯 Top picks

The right strategy to monetise your content through reader revenue [Podcast]

This weeks top story is a 40 minute podcast with Mary Walter-Brown, the founder and CEO of News Revenue Hub, which has been helping new organisations build sustainable revenue streams since 2016. Her advice covers many of the big questions relevant to publishers of all shapes and sizes who are building and growing a membership program!

💸 Business models

To capture reader revenue and engagement, some Indian newsrooms are going back to the once-scorned comments section

“News organizations are interested in building communities because they can potentially help generate user revenue.“

Insider's Pete Spande on balancing subscriptions and advertising [Podcast]

The Digiday podcast catches up with Insider’s CRO Pete Spande, to talk about balancing revenue streams and the reasoning behind their recent merger with eMarketer.

✍️ Modern journalism

After a $2.6M crowdfunding campaign, The Correspondent will have just one full-time US journalist

The Correspondent is hiring a total of five full-time journalists who will be based in Italy, Nigeria, India, London and the U.S.

“The U.S.-based journalist is Eric Holthaus, who will be reporting on climate change from Minnesota, though his stories won’t focus on the U.S.: “I’ll be telling stories that are collaborative, constructive, and transnational”.

“The Daily” hits one billion downloads!

The New York TimesThe Daily podcast has reached a milestone of 1 billion downloads since its launch in February 2017. An impressive achievement for the publisher, alongside having 4.7 million total subscriptions. The outlet credits the success of their podcast growth to the work and creativity of the TimesAudio team.

What exactly is a newspaper edition in today's digital age?

Dive into defining the edition concept in a digital world with Twipe and take a look at replicating print, digital native editions, newsletters and other emerging formats that are replacing printed newspaper editions.

As regulators investigate, Google is now funding the creation of local news sites in the US and the UK

“Google has now committed “millions” of dollars/pounds in support of the creation of three local news sites in two different countries by major media companies (that already have local news sites).”

👩‍💻 Technology

Your monthly guide to sending better emails is here

The latest compilation of Not A Newsletter is available to read and full of links to the latest in email news and the most important ideas and advice for people who are creating email newsletters.

Use email automation to deliver mini-courses and activate your archives

While on the subject of creating email newsletters – don’t miss this masterclass on how to build email courses to give your subscribers a digestible way to engage with your content and learn at their own pace. With feedback from teams at Pew Research Center, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed and The New Yorker.

BBC experiments with negative news filters to help readers with anxieties

“As one third of audience switches off from news, the public broadcaster is testing a tool that would allow readers to blur out stories that may impact their mental health.”The idea is not to filter or remove news, but to give users the control.

Washington Post builds ad network for publishers to take on Big Tech

The Washington Post are releasing a new product called "Zeus Prime", that will allow companies to buy automated ads as an alternative to buying ads on Google and Facebook.

🤷 WTF?

How the Internet Archive is waging war on misinformation

San Francisco-based non-profit is archiving billions of web pages in a bid to preserve web history. (Requires subscription).

#67 — User revenue is now a growth engine

#67 — User revenue is now a growth engine

Happy Sunday & welcome back to your subscription of the most important stories in digital publishing. It’s been such a busy news week that we had a hard time picking out the best reads 🙃

Get in touch 📫 Let us know what you’d like to see here by writing to us.

💯 Top picks

User revenue is now a growth engine — but here's 3 challenges [Video]

Kjersti Thorneus from Schibsted shares some insights from their digital subscriptions business which is anticipated to bring in NOK$1 billion in 2020. The article shares the top 3 challenges the publisher faces, but we’d highly recommend giving the embedded YouTube video from Newscamp 2019 a listen (47 mins).

💸 Business models

There’s a reader revenue revolution happening. Will legacy news miss it — again?

“When it comes to legacy news media and any new digital innovation, you can usually count on two things: The innovation will begin too late, and even when it does, it’s often a half-measure that doesn’t make up lost time.”

A personalised, flexible paywall model is best for your audience

INMA report that strict paywalls don’t allow for the nuances required to suit a diverse audience and make advertising less effective.

Subscriptions provide a high quality alternative to social media and advertising!

Business Insider explore how memberships and subscriptions can make the internet a better place and replace problematic advertising models.

“It’s a healthy, sustainable option for creators and users.”

The NYT is the latest publisher to put up a registration wall

A registration wall is when visitors are asked to create a free account to keep reading unmetered articles. The New York Times has recently put up a hard registration wall following some testing they ran last month. Getting all readers to subscribe is a smart tactic that is also being used by the Boston Globe – providing the publishers with more ways to get to know their audience (and more ways to convert them to subscribers later on).

‘Journalism Thinking’ doesn’t need a business model. It needs a call to arms

The question then isn’t “what is the business model for local journalism” but rather “how do we expand and defend journalism thinking?”

Christopher Wink shares a different perspective on subscriptions for local journalism. He argues that rather than finding a new business model, local publishers should join forces to form a paradigm shift and rethink journalism.

✍️ Modern journalism

Public service media struggle to reach younger & less educated audiences

Reuters Institute have published a new report about public service news – heres’s the TL;DR on Twitter, or you can read the full report.

Google wants to prioritise original reporting

“The company has changed its global search algorithm to "highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting,” and to keep such articles in top positions for longer.“

Accounting and budgeting tips for journalism entrepreneurs

Here’s some free advice for journalism startups about financial management of news organisations! It’s part of a funded toolkit of resources which you can access here.

Introducing the impact editor: A new role critical for the journalism industry

A new role titled “Impact Editor” at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is a new strategy for ensuring investigative work is having an impact.

👩‍💻 Technology

Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming Facebook News tab

Publishing news has been going crazy about the new Facebook News tab that is set to pay some publishers (lots of $) to syndicate their content. Here’s everything you need to know from NiemanLab.

Can AI help ‘preserve quality of the Internet’?

“The number of fact-checking initiatives have mushroomed in recent years and yet many argue they are a losing battle against widespread disinformation. GEN spoke with Dhruv Ghulati, co-founder and CEO of Factmata, to understand what makes this rising AI startup unique and how it uses quality metrics to offer a kind of ‘nutritional label for anything you read online’.”

Twitter launches new playbook to help you understand how to get the most out of their platform

We’re always dubious when a platform releases a guide for brands who use their tools. According to this article, the new Twitter playbook is one you should approach with caution, but it does include some insightful information as well. You’ve been warned! Here’s the full download.

🤷 WTF?

YouTube creators are turning the site into a podcast network

Many of the most successful YouTube creators have a podcast these days, including David Dobrik and Marques Brownlee. They’re utilising the platform they already know so well to host their podcast – which is a pretty smart strategy considering some of the most popular podcasts have dedicated audiences who choose YouTube over Apple and Spotify for their podcast experience.

#66 — Q&A with the VP of subscription growth at the NYT

#66 — Q&A with the VP of subscription growth at the NYT

Welcome back to your weekly update of the most important stories and news in publishing. This week we’ve got insights about the Facebook news tab, new services from Patreon and how The Telegraph are using Instagram and Snapchat to find new subscribers. Enjoy!

Thanks for supporting the community – We're deeply interested in what brings you here? Let us know why the future of digital publishing is important to you by hitting the reply button!

💯 Top picks

Q&A with Vice President of subscription growth at The New York Times

David Gurian-Peck oversees subscription growth at the NYT, which is the most important area for growth. He discusses pricing, strategy and how to measure success in this Q&A interview with The Idea.

💸 Business models

The Atlantic (re)joins the metered paywall club, with digital subscriptions starting at $49.99/year

Figuring out a subscription strategy that works seems to be the ultimate goal for media organisations this year. The Atlantic are changing up their strategies again – now you’ll get 5 free stories per month and be forced to subscribe after that starting at $49.00 per year.

Patreon might start providing loans to creators

“Patreon is eyeing a range of new services to support creators – including potentially providing loans, CEO Jack Conte said.”

What we can learn from membership programs

Educate your readers, develop passion and form relationships. Here’s three top-level learnings from major membership-driven publishers that we can all learn from.

✍️ Modern journalism

Unprepared for unpublishing? Here’s how some newsrooms are rethinking what lasts forever

A study conducted this year suggested that 19 out of 21 news organisations aren’t taking any steps to archive their online content. In other words, when content is removed from a news organisations website, there’s often no clear processes for archiving and saving history.

Why habit formation is key for all news media

“In this new analysis, the number of days a subscriber reads in a month was found to relate to the percent cancelling their subscription…”

Meet people where they are at: What journalists can learn from community organisers

“If a journalist is only building relationships with powerful people, how will that change the type of information they gather?”

Lenfest Institute share the learnings from their Organizing for Neighborhood News project in Philadelphia which challenges the way local communities engage with the public in their journalistic process.

👩‍💻 Technology

What publishers think about the Facebook News tab

“The big picture: Facebook’s News Tab could be a sea change in the relationship between tech firms and the news media. It could also recast Facebook as a friend of the news industry while putting pressure on Apple and Google to put up funds as well.”

How BuzzFeed's tech team help the news team report about technology with authority

A great example of preventing teams within a media org working in silos from BuzzFeed, who give their tech and news teams a dedicated amount of time per week to collaborate and share skills and knowledge.

The Telegraph is using Snapchat and Instagram to find subscribers

The news outlet has begun monitoring user journeys on Instagram and Snapchat to find out what content drives readers to sign up or subscribe, using metrics like retention and dwell time.

Jason Fried calls Google’s search results a shakedown!

The founder of Basecamp shared a controversial tweet about how the company bids on branded terms. He says that due to Google’s algorithms, companies must pay up in advertising costs if you want to be found in the search engine for your own brand name

🤷 WTF?

Your interactive makes me sick

Why your coolest scrolly features can cause problems, and what to do about it!

#65 — Members changed our lives for the better

#65 — Members changed our lives for the better

Welcome to your weekly issue with all of the latest and greatest stories and ideas about digital publishing.

Let’s chat! 📫 Hit reply to let us know why you’re interested in the future of publishing, or give us some feedback for the newsletter!

💯 Top picks

“At 7,000 members our lives are already changed for the better”: How the Daily Maverick developed its membership program

Our weekly Insider meetings are attended by the editor-in-chief, CEO, membership manager, product manager, support manager, developer, marketing and design team, with occasional drop-ins from finance and events team reps. Of the 10 regular attendees, only three of those positions existed before the decision to move into membership.”

💸 Business models

Want to make your journalism more memberful? Find a range of proven practices, including revenue-generating routines

Membership Puzzle Project have been around the world speaking with publishers to identify “memberful routines” that help to incorporate community knowledge that provides value. In this article they share some learnings from 19 news sites.

The Athletic is experimenting with free content and advertising

It wants to give non-subscribers the ability to sample some of company’s content and plans to use advertising to get their content in front of more people. Kinda goes against the advice that was shared by the Membership Puzzle Project in last weeks issue about tightening up your paywall!

How publishers are cutting print days — and not losing (too many) subscribers

“The key is the consumer will let you know when they’re done with the print product. Don’t prematurely yank it from them.”

✍️ Modern journalism

How to keep your sanity as you dismantle the status quo in newsroom

Own your priorities, learn to say no and focus on the good stuff! Real life advice for people working in newsrooms from Becca Aaronson, director of product at Chalkbeat.

Improving the way readers evaluate issues with solutions journalism

The Center for Media Engagement set out to determine how “solutions journalism” can affect the way readers evaluate both the reporting and the issue in a study supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with contributions from The Impact Architects!

Common Sense Media Survey Monkey poll: teen media literacy

“Results from a new Common Sense Media|SurveyMonkey poll show that teens get their news more frequently from social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) or from YouTube.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Media's new revenue play: Sell software to other media companies

“Publishers are increasingly beginning to act more like digital product companies that sell services to clients rather than advertising to brands.”

Funders have given Facebook a deadline to share data with researchers!

BuzzFeed news reported that Facebook has until Sept. 30 to provide data it promised to academic researchers or a consortium of funders will cease to support the project. In other Facebook news this week, they’re also set to require buyers of political ads to provide more information about who paid for them.

“We realized Spotify for news was exactly the wrong thing to do.” Here’s what Kinzen is doing instead.

“News publishers should not be giving away their content to third-party platforms, or relying on social platforms. They should develop these personalised and curated experiences themselves.”

🤷 WTF?

The internet has made dupes—and cynics—of us all

“The typical response to the onslaught of falsehood is to say, lol, nothing matters. But when so many of us are reaching this point, it really does matter.”

#64 — How to use paid acquisition to grow your email subscribers

#64 — How to use paid acquisition to grow your email subscribers

Happy Sunday! Here’s all of the latest important stories and ideas in digital publishing.

If you’re enjoying this newsletter we’d appreciate it if you’d recommend us to a friend or colleague who might enjoy it too or share on Twitter 👉

💯 Top picks

How to use paid acquisition to grow your email subscribers and paid memberships

“There’s an opportunity to simply fund email list growth and to walk away knowing that this is a leading indicator for subscriber, member and donor growth, as well as increased revenue from sponsorships and advertising.”

Research backed insights about how publishers can leverage ads to get more people into the funnel who may later convert to a member or sponsor.

💸 Business models

The referral program that built an audience of 1.5 million subscribers

Tyler Denk shares a behind the scenes view of business news publisher Morning Brew’s growth. They managed to go from 100,ooo subscribers to 1.5 million in just 18 months with a very successful referral program – relying on their existing readers spreading the word to grow at a rapid pace.

How The Times attracts and retains digital subscribers

“In a world of Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime, how does a publisher convince readers to pay £26 a month for a digital news subscription?”

Subscriptions are the new competitive field for media!

“The migration to digital has put news content in direct competition with everything else. News, social, video-on-demand, games, are now fighting for spending allocation, and time spent.”

The biggest changes for publishers in 2019 so far

A mid-year summary of the biggest changes that have impacted publishers this year from Twipe, including the threat of paywall blockers and the expansion into audio.

✍️ Modern journalism

An upstart sports news service is thriving amid media layoffs

“The Athletic now has more than a half-million readers, but can it turn a profit?”

One potential route to flagging fake news at scale

A software engineer and computational linguist has been studying fake news and has ideas for ways to identify it algorithmically. Since fake news articles are more likely to use expressions that are common in hate speech, linguistic analytics could provide better ways to identify it at scale.

Apply for funds to transform your newsroom analytics

The American Press Institute are offering subsidised access to the Metrics for News software and services that helps publishers priortise audience-driven content. Application form here.

Inside Glamour’s print-first to digital-first transformation

The UK publisher cut back on printed editions of its magazine in 2017, and replaced it with bi-annual collectible glossy issues. Publishing Director Camilla Newman shares some insights into their digital-first journey.

👩‍💻 Technology

YouTube is testing a members-only videos feature

YouTube are reportedly gearing up to sell subscriptions for publishers' videos by expanding their existing product to support standalone subscription based services.

Axios joins media push into software with newsletter product

“Digital media publisher Axios is planning to enter a new business that includes selling software for helping companies create newsletters for their employees. The move comes at a moment when more media businesses are seeking to diversify their revenue through software sales.”

“Plus, a new free course for online fact-checking taught via workspace app Notion.”

🤷 WTF?

MoodFeed recommends content based on how you’re feeling

Rather than browsing categories on BuzzFeed, you can now tell it how you're feeling instead! 🙃

MoodFeed is offering readers a new approach to finding content that fits their emotions - by allowing them to self-identify their mood based on 6 options: curious, stressed, bored, nostalgic, joyful, or hungry.

#63 — Tighten up that paywall!

#63 — Tighten up that paywall!

Happy Sunday! Here’s your top stories in publishing and the latest ideas about modern business models. As always, thanks for supporting the newsletter and for helping to build this community. If you have any ideas or suggestions for future issues, hit reply 📫

💯 Top picks

Tighten up that paywall! (And some other lessons from a study of 500 newspaper publishers)

Since The New York Times introduced a paywall in 2011, it has become popular with a majority of newspapers and a growing business model for independent publishers across the world.Research into a wide range of these publications suggests that pay model strategies with higher “stop rates” are doing better - which means giving out less content for free before asking readers to pay. Having a simple checkout process and understanding your readers is also important. Find out more in this NiemanLab piece.

💸 Business models

To increase retention, The Financial Times is using newsletter polls

“The Financial Times has started incorporating polls into its email newsletters in an effort to encourage readers to interact more regularly with its content and ultimately increase subscriber retention. Early signs show it’s working.”

How to do something about local news

“The old model for local news is dying, but in every crisis there is an opportunity. I believe that a more promising model for local news is just emerging.”Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie shares his thoughts on emerging business models for local news!

PodPass wants to build the identity layer for podcasting (before some big tech company does it first)

As podcasting grows, and paid podcasting becomes a hot topic - there’s still an issue which needs to be addressed: Podcast listeners use several apps and platforms - so can podcast subscriptions be integrated into an open ecosystem? The PodPass proposal hopes to solve s0me of these issues with an open protocol that provides a better experience for listeners, and more control for podcasters.

✍️ Modern journalism

Ever wished you read more books? The NYT share how to be a better reader in 7 days

A full guide on how to get better at reading books, including making a reading plan and how to read more deeply. We’re sure it could be a useful guide to follow in a world of instant gratification and dopamine hits that keep us addicted to mobile devices 🙃

Could Facebook license publishers’ content?

It has been reported that Facebook is in talks with multiple large publishers to offer them a licensing fee of $3 million to allow them to show content in the Facebook “News” tab.

The Financial Times story playbook

The FT approached a problem shared by many publishers: How do we share content clearly and consistently at scale?To explore this, they have built a playbook of standardised and proven templates that can be used directly in a CMS by their entire newsroom. They shared the end result on GitHub so that others can learn from their processes, see their reference materials and get tips on how to create their own templates.

Semantic search: How to write content that anticipates searchers’ needs

Search engine optimisation isn’t just for marketing experts – Feast your eyes on some digestible technical SEO insights for content creators from PR Newswire, including how to rank better and understand searcher intent.

👩‍💻 Technology

Verizon sells Tumblr to WordPress!

Yahoo acquired Tumblr back in 2013 for $1.1 billion, and now (Automattic) are acquiring the social network for a reported $3 million. See also: a lengthy interview with WordPress CEO about the acquisition.

For your privacy, adopt browser compartmentalisation

Since incognito mode means very little for your privacy these days, a new technique is gaining traction which involves using two or more browsers on the same computer for different types of internet activity.

Get your RSS feeds in your inbox

Curate your own email newsletters RSS style with this tool and get periodical emails with all of your favourite content. Don’t forget you can always visit our curated list of tools for publishers on the Publisher Weekly site.

🤷 WTF?

The lonely work of moderating Hacker News

Anna Wiener writes on Daniel Gackle and Scott Bell, the content moderators of Hacker News, a popular online tech-focussed forum owned by the startup accelerator Y Combinator.

#62 — The four visitors to your site, and how to hook them

#62 — The four visitors to your site, and how to hook them

Welcome back! This weeks thoughtful takes on the future of publishing includes lots of news about emerging business models and a free downloadable resource in our top pick of the week.

For those of you who have joined this community in the past few weeks, here’s a brief reminder about who we are, and why we curate this newsletter!

Stories, ideas and resources all in one place – catch up with past issues, or discover neat tools for independent publishing 👉

💯 Top picks

The four visitors to your site, and how to hook them [Report]

Why do content creators focus on maximising reach, rather than improving engagement with the right people?

Editors at The Atlantic have become fatigued with placing too much importance on page views, and are focusing on metrics that offer more insight. For example: What kinds of audiences are visiting? What do those people actually value?

They’ve shared this (free with email address) downloadable resource that walks you through how to segment your audience, surface relevant content, deepen relationships and improve conversions. If you don’t have time to read it right now, save it and file for when you need a little inspiration - it’s only 9 pages and full of insightful opinions!

💸 Business models

How Piano built a propensity paywall for publishers — and what it’s learned so far

A propensity paywall uses signals to measure a visitor’s likelihood of becoming a subscriber, and determines exactly how to encourage them to do it by sending the right messaging at the right time. Piano launched their own intelligent propensity paywall back in June and have since seen clients increase their visitor-to-subscriber rates by up to 75%.

This month in email: Not A Newsletter, August Issue!

Dan Oshinsky released the latest edition of Not A Newsletter in the usual Google Docs format and it’s packed full of interesting reads as well as an overview of what Dan learnt looking back on two years of working at The New Yorker!

News aggregation app SmartNews reaches $1 billion valuation

Google and Facebook may have eaten up all of the news referral traffic in recent years, but this hasn’t stopped the Japanese startup SmartNews from gaining traction. For now, it remains the largest news aggregation service in Japan – but is growing rapidly in the US, making most of its revenue from advertising.

"If we can't figure out a model... we won't last!"

A creative plea from for their loyal readers to donate and pay for their news, to keep the publication alive.

“If half of those users […] paid $10 a month, we would earn $168,000 a year. Counting in our current business members, we would be fully funded.”

Some publishers are making money from Apple News

“Publishers like Vice Media and The Stylist Group say they’ve gotten traffic and more importantly, revenue lifts from Apple News in the last three months.”

✍️ Modern journalism

HuffPost UK launches new sections that will pay contributors

The publisher aims to give a voice to underserved communities through new Personal and Opinion sections, which will expand the variety of voices on the publication and actually pay contributors, unlike the former Blog section that is being replaced.

The New York Times and The Guardian are celebrating good digital revenue news today

NiemanLab summarise a week of good news for the two big publishers, with the NYT hitting 3.78 million digital subscribers, while The Guardian broke even with over half of its revenue coming from digital.

The Markup is back, with Julia Angwin reinstated as editor-in-chief, a new leadership team, and the same reporters

A little publishing news drama for you this week! The Markup is a nonprofit news site with a mission to investigate how big tech impacts society. In April, the cofounder and editor-in-chief was suddenly fired, causing the editorial team to protest. Now, Angwin has been reinstated, the people that fired her have left and there’s a new leadership team.

👩‍💻 Technology

How disabling 8chan became Cloudflare's job

“The decision to disable an infamous message board fell to Matthew Prince, an internet executive who is deeply uncomfortable with his own power.”Cloudflare disabling 8chan after it hosted advance announcements about mass shootings was a widely discussed topic this week, sparking philosophical debate about the meaning of free speech and the law on the internet.

See also: The announcement post on the Cloudflare blog and “A framework for moderation” from Stratechery.

🤷 WTF?

4 extremely online writers on how the internet broke our brains and how we can unbreak them

“Can the very online ever unplug?”

Mother Jones put the question to four writers with varying degrees of internet damage.

#61 — Email is important for publishers. So is retention!

#61 — Email is important for publishers. So is retention!

Welcome to your weekly roundup of the most important stories in independent publishing. It was a busy news week, so this issue is packed full of great content.

Thanks for being a part of the community – don’t forget you can submit articles & access a curated resources list of the best tools for publishers anytime!

💯 Top picks

The Facebook local news accelerator finds out what readers will actually pay for!

The Facebook local news accelerator launched to support 14 publishers in finding sustainable business models, with financial backing and the help of coaches and experts. One year in, the project shared this report of all of the things they’ve discovered so far, including:

  • Average conversion rate for email subscribers to paid is between 5-10%
  • Leading publishers aren’t seeing subscription fatigue
  • Retention is very important

Check out the full article for this weeks top read!

💸 Business models

The Guardian's membership editor functions as the "connective tissue" between supporters and the newsroom

Kyra Miller dives into how The Guardian’s membership team connects with readers and builds membership into its editorial flow, breaking it down into to challenges the publisher faces, their strategy, the numbers and lessons learnt. Published for Solution Set, a great weekly resource from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

The L.A. Times’ disappointing digital numbers show the game’s not just about drawing in subscribers — it’s about keeping them

“Digital subscriptions at the Los Angeles Times are way below expectations, and leadership, in a memo to staff, said the future of the paper could depend on solving the issue rapidly.”

The Athletic sports news site hits 500,000 subscribers

The sports news subscription product from The Athletic now has 500,000 paying subscribers, but expects to double this by the end of the year.

Stop sending emails to your inactive subscribers

Are you running an email newsletter? Word on the street is that you definitely should be. This in-depth article explains how to manage your email subscriber list effectively and provides tips for identifying inactive subscribers – and what to do about it!

✍️ Modern journalism

Journalists in Ukraine are using Telegram for effective engagement with their audience

Telegram was built for personal, security-driven private messaging. Recently publishers are increasingly using the app build communities and distribute content and news. In Ukraine, journalists are using the tool to connect with relevant audiences, while successfully increasing click-through rates and creating a better space for community.

Holloway aims to rewrite publishing with $4.6M from investors including the New York Times

“The goal is to democratise access to how the best are doing business today (and take on traditional publishing).”

Holloway has an ambitious mission: To share knowledge about business and startups, and make it available in communities that are growing, but where knowledge is hard to come by.

This week they launched a series of online books covering a variety of topics about startups and technology – and with a large investment from top tech investors and the NYT, they’re hoping to provide better resources for publishing businesses.

👩‍💻 Technology

Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke

This article provides some important perspective: Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is just one month of revenue for Facebook, their stock price is up and none of the new conditions will stop them from collecting data that feeds their lucrative ad business.

Wayback Machine now shows when a page was updated and what changed

The Wayback Machine has long been a popular tool for checking out what websites looked like in the past. Now it has new features to show what date a page changed as well as exactly what changed on it!

Spotify’s big bet on podcasts is starting to pay off

The company is experiencing huge growth in its podcast audience, as revealed in its earnings report. The number of people listening to podcasts on the platform has doubled since the start of the year, which has contributed to a 9% growth in premium subscribers.

Journalists on the ‘aha’ moments that changed the way they work

CJR interviewed a group of journalists to learn more about how they developed their approaches to writing, researching and all aspects of journalism. A very real article with some extremely interesting insights!

Adblocking: How about nah?

“The rise and rise of ad-blockers (and ad-blocker-blocker-blockers) is without parallel: 26% of Internet users are now blocking ads, and the figure is rising. It’s been called the biggest boycott in human history.”

🤷 WTF?

Why most marketing emails still use HTML tables

“How HTML helped, then hindered, the evolution of email, or why all those fancy marketing emails you get in your inbox still rely on HTML tables…”

#60 — Partnership, membership, and social justice

#60 — Partnership, membership, and social justice

Hello & welcome to all of our new subscribers 👋

This week’s roundup includes stories about innovation and retention in digital publishing, a new tool for keeping up with the latest trends, more evidence that the ad industry is still in decline and much more. Enjoy, and have a great week!

💯 Top picks

Partnership, membership, and social justice: How publishers in repressive news environments are innovating

“Digital publishers worldwide face a common set of challenges — monetizing digital while retaining print subscribers, deciding how much content to give to third-party platforms, and so on. But publishers in repressive media environments have additional barriers to overcome.”

💸 Business models

5 case studies to inspire your retention strategy

Twipe investigate why the majority of publishers spend more on acquisition than they do on engagement, and share five inspiring case studies of great retention strategies that go against the grain.

Five years after crowdfunding, here’s how Krautreporter is keeping its members engaged

There’s been a lot of news about De Correspondent in the past year, which crowdfunded $1.3 million in 2013 . Meanwhile in Germany, the lesser talked about Krautreporter was in the process of raising $1.38 in the same way. This piece explores how the publication is still keeping members happy, and building tools that you can use, too!

✍️ Modern journalism

Find out where your readers are with a this new tool

Analytics tool provider has launched a new product called “Currents Digests” that shows you overall traffic, referral and geo-location information for keyword topics you’re interested in following.

This freelance journalist was owed $5k from late-paying publications and held them all accountable

Wudan Yan shares a transparent account of what happens when publications fail to pay freelancers, resulting in late payment fees. An interesting read for journalists and freelancers in any industry!

'We're not resourced like a big tech company': The challenges of doing product at a publisher

“As publishers start balancing different kinds of content and revenue strategies, product leaders are becoming increasingly important.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Internet advertising is growing at slowest rate since the dotcom bubble burst

Advertising on the internet is forecast to grow by 10% next year, which is the lowest growth since 2001. According to media agency group Zenith, the shrinking growth means that cinema advertising will take the lead as the fastest-growing ad medium.

Google’s tool to tame election influence has flaws

Google built a searchable database of political ads following pressure for greater transparency - but campaigns that have been running in recent weeks have not been showing up in the database, sparking worries about the efficacy of the tool.

Should publishers retain their most loyal print readers?

“Flat is the new growth, many would say, when it comes to declining volume of daily newspaper print circulation, especially as success has been found in raising prices among the most loyal subscribers.So maybe it’s time for publishers to radically lean in to serving and retaining their most loyal print readers—the elderly.”

FTC imposes $5 Billion penalty and sweeping new privacy restrictions on Facebook

The largest penalty imposed on any company for violating privacy - Facebook are to pay the penalty and have also been forced to accept new rules that will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about user privacy in future!

5 times Spotify has U-turned its content strategy

From apps, to short-form content to censorship and beyond. Take a guided tour of Spotify’s content strategy over the years.

🤷 WTF?

Can’t read just one: Slate’s daily advice columns are strange, funny, deep, and increasingly a major traffic driver for the site

“We probably won’t do twincest again.”

Find out why Slate’s online advice column is so popular!

#59 — Substack gets $15.3 million in VC funding

#59 — Substack gets $15.3 million in VC funding

This weeks curation of the most important news in publishing includes funding announcements from Substack, more evidence that micro-payments aren’t working out, and some thoughtful articles about trust and diversity. Enjoy!

Thanks for supporting our newsletter ❤️ We’d love to hear more about what you’re here for and what made you subscribe for Publisher Weekly? Hit reply to chat.

💯 Top picks

Email newsletter platform Substack nabs $15.3 million in funding (and vows it won’t go the way of other VC-funded media companies)

“The email newsletter platform Substack, which has become home to an increasing number of personal and professional newsletters as creators phase out their use of TinyLetter, announced Tuesday that it’s raised $15.3 million in Series A funding.”

💸 Business models

New European drops micro-paywall charging readers small amounts for premium articles

More proof that micro-payments for journalism didn’t work out as planned, as The European, who previously used the Axate paywall to ask readers to put £3 into a wallet, charging up to 50p per week for access to their articles, has taken it down. They’ve decided that their readers would prefer to support them in a more direct way, similar to The Guardian!

The BBC could trade in their licence system for a subscription service

“The BBC could switch away from the licence fee to a Netflix-style voluntary subscription model, the director-general acknowledged yesterday. The compulsory licence fee system is guaranteed until 2027, after which the broadcaster will have to negotiate a new funding arrangement with the government.”

✍️ Modern journalism

Whose stories get told? Why media diversity matters

“There are still too many media gatekeepers who clearly don’t get it.”David Morgan discusses the struggle for better representation in the media, and how the trend toward greater diversity will not continue on its own.

The Guardian's Chief Revenue Officer Hamish Nicklin on sustainable journalism and fair advertising [Podcast]

Hamish Nicklin appears on the Media Voices podcast to discuss the newspaper’s journey to profit, including how they leverage membership, contributions and advertising.

Governments making “fake news” a crime risk stifling real journalism — accidentally or intentionally

It’s common knowledge that the spread of fake news is an issue in modern media. But what happens if a country makes it a crime to deliberately spread false information? Alana Schetzer argues that this isn’t necessarily the best route, after Singapore became the latest country to pass such laws!

👩‍💻 Technology

Social media giants are restricting research vital to journalism

Twitter and Facebook imposing tighter restrictions on their data is making it difficult for ethical researchers to gather important data that acts as sources for journalists. CJR explain how the “simple python applications” they built to collect messages posted by election candidates in 2014 quickly became ineffective – and now they’re finding it hard to gather reliable data.

Google is redesigning the news tab, prioritising context and publisher names

News articles that appear in the search engine under the News tab will now display publishers’ names more prominently, with article cards in a carousel.

Podcasters need listening data, so Nielsen is going to call people’s homes to ask for it

“Nielsen, a company best known for tracking TV shows’ popularity, is getting into the podcast data collection business.”

The new tech principles for

The Financial Times product and technology department shared their new tech principles, including a few favourites like: “make small changes often” and “treat unblocking others as your priority”.

Netflix insists it won’t move into selling advertising

“Netflix wants you to know: It doesn’t have any plans now or in the future to start running commercials on its streaming service.”

🤷 WTF?

We’re at peak newsletter, and I feel fine

An article celebrating the personal-newsletter, which also happens to be full of great recommendations of personal-newsletters you might want to read.

#58 — 14 steps to create better journalism and boost revenue

#58 — 14 steps to create better journalism and boost revenue

Welcome back to your weekly update with all of the most important stories in digital publishing curated for a growing community of people who are deeply interested in the future of publishing. A warm welcome to all of our latest new subscribers!

If you have questions or feedback about the newsletter, hit reply and let us know! 📫

💯 Top picks

14 steps to create better journalism and boost revenue

Poynter put together this step-by-step guide on how to succeed at independent journalism and make some revenue in the process. Pick your revenue model, segment your audience, create a roadmap, solicit feedback and lots more useful tips with actionable insights. This week’s top pick requires approximately 16 minutes of your attention!

💸 Business models

Converting news readers into paying subscribers: a primer for publishers

“With 52% of publishers focusing on subscriptions as their main revenue source this year, the need to better convert subscribers is continuing to grow.”

Twipe break down some of the top learnings from recent research about subscription media. According to the stats, readers are more heavily persuaded by what they’ll gain from a subscription, rather than what they’d lose if they don’t subscribe.

Mozilla teases $5-per-month ad-free news subscription

“Mozilla has started teasing an ad-free news subscription service, which, for $5 per month, would offer ad-free browsing, audio readouts, and cross-platform syncing of news articles from a number of websites.”

With sports, local newspapers try 'unbundling' the subscription

“The rookie campaigns of many newspapers’ digital sports subscriptions are over. Now comes the work of developing the standalone subscription products into long-lasting sources of revenue.”

How Nordic giant Schibsted 'saves' unsubscribers

Here’s another example of a publisher employing tactics that are well known in the SaaS space. Norwegian outlet Shibsted has been busy working on user journeys and implementing a churn-stopping user management feature that allows subscribers to change or pause their memberships. Here’s another article from INMA that takes a deep dive on some of the tactics they’re using.

A landscape study of local news models across America

Heidi Legg published a new Shorestein Center paper that takes a look at digital subscriptions and emerging business models for both non-profit and for-profit organisations. See also: an overview of 21 examples of news outlets who are building subscription businesses.

✍️ Modern journalism

Where should analytics live within a media organisation?

When news brands debate where to house data analytics functions within an organisation, they must put the business case first and avoid keeping data in a silo. Here are five tips to do it right.

Is “news on the internet” the same as “news on your phone”?

How do we calculate the true trends of people reading the news on the internet? Is reading a story on an app on on social media the same as reading a story online? The Pew Research Center has been perfecting how they survey people about their reading habits for years - Elisa Shearer shares some insights from the inside.

Working across disciplines: A manifesto for happy newsrooms

This piece from NiemanReports argues interdisciplinary teams are essential in the modern newsroom. Publishing in 2019 and beyond opens the doors for new approaches and new skills in newsrooms: coding, designing and data science to name a few. But to make this work, publishers need to adopt a fresh perspective!

👩‍💻 Technology

Six months into 2019, what new do we know about the state of podcasting?

The latest issue of Hot Pod (republished on NiemanLab) takes a look at the latest news and insights in the growing podcasting industry, and gets top points for creative use of the word “somnambulant”.

Why you have to keep logging in to read news on your phone

“Do you pay for news online? The news industry thanks you for your business. Want to read that publication on your phone without having to log in over and over again? You’re mostly out of luck.”

🤷 WTF?

Newsroom employment has declined 25% in a decade

Pew have reported that while employment decline has been driven by job losses at newspapers, digital-native news outlets continue to generate too few positions to balance things out!

#57 — Monetisation for news is tough, but not impossible

#57 — Monetisation for news is tough, but not impossible

Hi everyone, welcome back to your weekly issue of the top stories in digital publishing and the media 🗞️

Got a suggestion for us? Hit reply, we’d love to hear more about what you’re working on, and what you’d like to see in future issues.

💯 Top picks

Monetisation of news is tough, but not impossible

GEN interview Nic Newman, the journalist and digital strategist who shaped the BBC’s internet services over more than a decade, about monetisation of content and the dependency on tech in the media.

💸 Business models

Inside the box: A look at news, niche, and inspired subscription strategies

As more publishers are moving their strategies towards digital subscriptions, it's worth taking a step back to understand what they can learn from other subscription services. This article dives into what can be understood from subscription box services, such as the value of curation and catering for churn.

'Newsletters as puzzle pieces': How The Economist uses email to reduce subscriber churn

Speaking of Churn - this Digiday piece explores how The Economist revamped their email newsletter strategy to keep people engaged. The key to their success? Value over volume!

Subscription media: The benefit of making more of your content available for free

Subscription sports broadcaster Dazn charges a monthly fee for viewers to access live, on-demand sports. But with lofty goals to expand the business, they’ve recently started experimenting with making more content free to access in order to acquire new subscribers.

✍️ Modern journalism

Q&A debate with the Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair

Check out this Q&A session and discussion with Radhika, the fifth Editor-in-Chief of the Vanity Fair Magazine (formerly worked for The New York Times, The Paris Review and TIME magazine). Thanks to Devansh Bhikajee from the Publisher Weekly community for the recommendation.

The New York Times goes all in on personalisation

“The Times knows its editors’ judgment of what’s important is one of its critical selling points. But in order to surface more than a sliver of its journalism each day, it’s now willing to respond to readers’ interests in a much bigger way."

Unpaywall – Read research papers, for free!

We recently stumbled across this tool which unlocks millions of peer-reviewed journal articles for free. Great for researchers and journalists!Don’t forget you can access a curated list of the best tools for digital publishers on our resources page.

Edition Vs Newsflow: Why edition readers are more valuable for modern publishers

Twipe dig into segmentation of readers by those who prefer Edition format, a bundled package of content (like this newsletter), or Newsflow format, with a daily stream of information. They found edition readers to be more loyal and engaged, and more likely to want to pay for a subscription.

Here’s The Correspondent’s budget for its English-language expansion

“This represents five full-time correspondents working in different parts of the world, as well as at least five freelancers each month.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Anyone with more than 30,000 social media followers is now considered a celebrity in the UK

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has decided that anyone with more than 30,000 social media followers or subscribers should be treated as a celebrity and subject to advertising rules - with one Instagram influencer having a post removed for endorsing medicines.

How to launch your own podcast on a shoestring budget [Podcast]

Want to jump on the podcasting bandwagon but cannot afford a production crew? Listen to this podcast about how to create a podcast (25 minute listen).

Superhuman says it will disable email read receipts by default after privacy controversy

Email startup Superhuman found itself caught up in controversy about how it uses tracking pixels, which allows users to see when and where people open their emails without consent. After some contemplation, the CEO Rahul Vohra wrote a thoughtful public apology, and announced that Superhuman will stop tracking location and turn off read receipts by default.

🤷 WTF?

Slack is bad, actually

“Your boss can read your DMs, and everyone can see how much you talk.”Monica Torres talks about Slack as a “tool of corporate surveillance” and gives tips on how to see who can read your private DMs.

#56 — Turning user-level data in to a churn reduction strategy

#56 — Turning user-level data in to a churn reduction strategy

Happy Sunday from the Publisher Weekly team! Here’s your latest curation of the most important news and stories in digital publishing! 👉

💯 Top picks

Habit formation: How The Wall Street Journal turned user-level data into a churn reduction strategy

“The Journal went on a quest to identify the user actions — an app download, an article share, repeat reading of a particular reporter’s stories — that can turn a new subscriber into a loyal one. Then it turned that knowledge into churn-reducing action.”

💸 Business models

Google changes that will soon impact publishers and weaken paywalls

Twipe take a look at upcoming Google updates that will impact publishers, including the indexing of podcasts and photo stories which will be displayed in the search results pages. Plus, there are going to be some changes to incognito mode which will prevent publishers from being able to stop readers bypassing their paywalls.

Why this one publisher uses WhatsApp to distribute their newsletter content!

Many publishers are taking advantage of successful email campaigns, but one local news publisher in Germany,, decided to take a different approach and send theirs via WhatsApp, with other publishers in Germany following suit. Sounds like a great idea, but a recent announcement from WhatsApp might put a stop to this, as they intend to stop supporting automated and bulk messaging in the app.

SmartNews has shown it can drive traffic. Can it drive subscriptions too?

News discovery app SmartNews boasts 40 million downloads worldwide, and has become the new biggest source of referral traffic for publishers, overtaking social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. But can it help publishers attract subscribers?

✍️ Modern journalism

R.I.P. Quartz Brief, the innovative mobile news app. Maybe “chatting with the news” isn’t something most people really want to do?

Quartz Brief is a mobile news app built around chat, with bots that feed content to users that is computer generated, but kinda written by humans. Basically, it’s the app that can text you the news. However, after three years, it has been reported that it will close down on July 1st – because maybe chatting with the news is just not what people are into!

The audience in the mind’s eye: How journalists imagine their readers

This piece from Columbia Journalism Review explores whether technology has influenced modern journalism – has it changed the way in which journalists form audience perceptions and their understanding of the audiences they serve? Read the full report here, it’s a long one!

A tech guide to being a freelance journalist!

Media and politics reporter Scott Nover shares his thoughts and tips for flying solo as a freelance journalist.

Can tools for user reviews help the news regain audience trust? [Podcast]

Although publishers have become more data-savvy with reviewing their website traffic and engagement metrics, it has been suggested that it is rarely scrutinised why readers lose trust or stop engaging with news content. New startup Credder thinks it has the answer, with a review platform that allows journalists and the public to review articles.

The Associated Press and Google are building a tool for sharing more local news — more quickly

“We’re living in an age of journalism where people want to help each other and are prioritizing collaboration over competition. We want to seize on that in a way that ensures no matter who is in the newsroom there’s still a mechanism for them to use this.”

5 insights that will strengthen engaged journalism

The Engaged Journalism Accelerator programme gathered 140 practitioners in Berlin for a community-driven journalism event. Here’s the top takeaways, including how to plan, how to retain reader trust and how to listen to your community.

👩‍💻 Technology

Email autocomplete is sucking the life out of communication

Have you noticed Gmail began finishing your sentences for you lately?When drafting emails in the Gmail editor, it now uses a tool called “Smart Compose” to decide how you should form the rest of your sentence. It even offers suggestions for quick replies using Smart Reply. Journalist Emily Reynolds doesn’t think it’s very smart at all and makes some great points in this article!

Recode’s Peter Kafka: 'Netflix is winning' [Podcast]

“There are many video streaming services hoping to be the next big player in the future of TV. Peter Kafka, a reporter at Recode Media and host of the Recode Media podcast by Vox, thinks Netflix has remained ahead of the curve and will retain the top spot for as long as streaming services keep positioning themselves as the answer to Netflix.”

🤷 WTF?

Monitor websites for changes & get email alerts

Check out this useful chrome extension for journalists and researchers, which tracks changes to web pages, pushing email alerts or even Slack & Discord messages when changes are published!

#55 — Send better emails, grow local subscribers & produce less content

#55 — Send better emails, grow local subscribers & produce less content

Welcome back to your weekly curation of the most important stories in digital publishing. There’s a lot of interesting links in this week’s edition. Don’t worry, you can always look back and reference past issues, or find that one article you meant to send to your colleague right here 👉

What are you reading this week? Hit reply to start the conversation, we’d love to hear what bought you to Publisher Weekly and what you’d like to see in future issues.

💯 Top picks

Not a Newsletter: A monthly guide to sending better emails

Top read of the week comes in the form of an email newsletter, but not really. Dan Oshinsky, director of newsletters at The New Yorker is sharing all of the best email news, tips, and ideas in an accessible Google Docs format. If you want a reminder of when it has been updated, you can subscribe here.

💸 Business models

Learning the best ways to grow local news subscribers

News startup WhereBy.Us have a core metric for success: Growth. They share what they’ve learned about the most efficient and effective ways they have increased subscriber numbers, with a common thread we hear so often - building human relationships is important! Find out more about how they define and analyse success metrics.

GEN Summit 2019 — The state of the paywall: Where do we go from here?

“Recently at the GEN Summit, I saw so much positive awareness about how different monetization models can complement subscriptions. Just like at INMA earlier this year, people are paying attention, listening to the arguments being made, and building their own opinions. It is incredibly gratifying to see, and it made me want to share with you my own contribution to the debate.” – Cosmin Ene

Media Voices on micropayments: They might still work!

After last weeks news that Blendle, the pioneers of micropayments, were ditching micropayments, Media Voices chime in on why this isn’t proof that it will never work for news.

Digiday Podcast: Subscriptions are becoming like a TV rating model

“Subscriptions and advertising businesses may stand in conflict with each other, but The New York Times has been bullish on this strategy. While remaining a shining example of a successful subscription business, last year, it also had its first growth year overall in advertising since 2005. Sebastian Tomich, head of advertising at The Times discusses the advertisers’ aversion to news, how audio has become a meaningful business for the Times and more.”

Market-leading magazine subscription app Readly raises €15 million

Founded in 2012, Readly paved a future for digital magazine subscriptions - providing unlimited access to content from popular publishers in a single app interface. In 2019, they're one of the fastest growing companies in Sweden, and have recently raised a €15 million investment round.

✍️ Modern journalism

6 principles for the Guardian (and the world of journalism)

Watch to Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian, Katharine Viner, present her keynote speech from GEN Summit 2019. Full video right here!

Related Twitter thread: “The Guardian cut its weekly story production by *one third*… and traffic went up, said @KathViner. This is amazing on many many levels, and something we should all be paying attention to. Less is sometimes more.”

Community Info Coop: How to launch an info district

“Information is power. But decisions about how information gets discovered, shared, and used are made by those already in power. In most places, the people who are most in need of information have little say in those decisions. This is a proposal to change that.”

Check out the new guide produced by the Community Info Coop with Reynolds Journalism Institute, about organising community change.

“Tying together two rocks doesn’t make them float” Why newspapers are facing the end of scale

“My issue with newspaper consolidation is that this strategy didn’t start with the rise of Google and Facebook. It has its roots in the rise of television and radio, and while it delivered the illusion of a golden age of one-paper towns and monopoly rents, it hasn’t delivered a new durable business model.”

BBC global audience passes 300 million

The BBC’s global audience has passed 300 million, with television overtaking radio as the most popular platform for international news for the first time in the corporation’s history.

Axel Springer to merge Business Insider and eMarketer

German publisher Axel Springer said it would combine two of its biggest publications: millennial-focused financial news site Business Insider, and eMarketer, the marketing trends research company.

👩‍💻 Technology

Twitter is removing precise location data on tweets — a small win for privacy and a small loss for journalists

Twitter have announced the removal of location data on tweets, stating people don't use this feature and removing it will simplify the experience. This definitely had a warm reception from privacy conscious users of the platform – but there's an impact on journalists and researchers, too!

Facebook content moderators break their NDAs to expose desperate working conditions

Facebook moderators are employed as contractors and become the editors of deciding what users see on the social media platform to prevent abuse. It's a job that includes consuming and moderating upsetting content day after day. Casey Newton published this deep investigation into the disturbing conditions that contracted moderators are subjected to, including accounts from people who have broken their 14-page NDA to raise awareness.

Spotify to separate podcasts and music

Spotify is introducing a library redesign that’ll separate podcasts and music more clearly, reportedly for premium users only. Another step in investing more in the podcast space this year!

Newsrooms should take the voice ecosystem seriously

With smart speakers and voice technology taking off in North America, Global Editors Network explore whether there is a sustainable business model for the voice economy in this interview with CEO of Kaleida Networks, who recently published a News Assistant Report.

🤷 WTF?

WeChat is watching

PhD student Barclay Bram writes an account of living in China and using We Chat: “the app that knows everything about me.”

#54 — Modelling subscription success with Piano and Tortoise

#54 — Modelling subscription success with Piano and Tortoise

Welcome back. It’s been a busy week in the digital publishing news, so we’ve included all of the top reads in this weeks extra roundup for you to peruse at your leisure. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

Modelling subscription success with Piano and Tortoise [Podcast]

This conversational episode of Media Voices with Michael Silberman (SVP of Strategy at Piano) and Katie Vanneck Smith (co-founder of Tortoise) covers all things membership, subscription strategies and best practice around user data. Grab a drink and settle in for this week’s top listen!

💸 Business models

People who like paying for news usually only pay for one subscription

A new report surveying over 75,000 people in 38 countries has been released with lots of insightful trends about news consumption: Most people pay for one news subscription, WhatsApp groups are gaining popularity, more people are avoiding mainstream news and email newsletters and mobile notifications are still effective. Click the title for the NiemanLab summary - and check out the top 5 takeaways from Twipe.

How do you involve your audience members? [Survey]

Membership Puzzle Project are running a survey to learn more about how organisations are involving audience members in their journalism projects. Maybe you can help? Find the survey here (sharing your organisation name is optional).

Micropayments-for-news pioneer Blendle is pivoting from micropayments to premium subscriptions

“I have to be honest: We are still not making a profit.”On the face of it, micropayments sound like an excellent option for people who want to access a single piece of content without signing up for a recurring subscription - especially if consumers are only prepared to pay for one news subscription. But micropayments aren’t panning out as publishers like the funded startup Blendle had hoped!

Tips from WIRED's evergreen content strategy

“Is your content archive working harder than you’re giving it credit for? WIRED’s Director of Audience Development Indu Chandrasekhar recently shared that 40% of WIRED’s visits goes to content that’s at least a week old.”

✍️ Modern journalism

How Axios drives engagement with its email newsletters through user-level data

“Some of your audience is engaged, and some of it isn’t. So why do we treat them all the same? We shouldn’t measure success as an aggregate — we should instead try to understand if the right people are highly engaged.”

The Athletic plots UK expansion with a team of 55

Sports subscription publisher The Athletic is opening it’s first overseas operation in the UK with a team of 50+ writers covering Football news, and expanding to cover more sports later.

Local news organisations are inviting community leaders into the reporting process

A project called Stories of Atlantic City is turning usual journalism process on its head by inviting community leaders to source the stories, rather than reporters thinking up story ideas.

2010 vs 2018 compared: Print advertising is not coming back, mobile is eating the world

“Comparing 2010 and 2018 side by side makes it clear what a changed media universe we now live in.”Joshua Benton shares his annual summary from Mary Meeker’s state-of-the-Internet slide deck, which illustrates just how much the media has evolved in those years. The slides contain hundreds of graphs about media, ecommerce, investment in tech and much more!

👩‍💻 Technology

Twitch is emerging as a favourite new platform for publishers

The latest platform to catch the eye of publishers is Amazon-owned live video service, Twitch. Reportedly, publishers are using the platform to grow audience numbers, learn from community members and even monetise with in-stream ads and subscriptions.

Should journalists learn to code?

The New York Times wanted it’s journalists to improve their technical and basic data skills, and is releasing a training curriculum they’ve built to the world. It doesn’t teach journalists how to code, per se, but it does cover how to use spreadsheets and wrangle data sets. You can already access some of their resources here!

Facebook and the media — frenemies?

GEN speak with Jesper Doub, Director of News Partnerships EMEA (European Middle-East Africa) at Facebook, about what can be expected from the platform’s policy changes after accusations of funnelling media advertising resources worldwide and spreading misinformation.

ProPublica’s Facebook-monitoring political ad tool (which Facebook fought) is alive again

The browser plug-in tool designed to help Facebook users identify political ads that weren’t aimed at their demographic group is back, after Facebook urged ProPublica to shut it down before making changes that broke the tool.

🤷 WTF?

New York Times spark debate with a poorly sourced report claiming Google makes “$4.7 billion” from the media industry

The NYT recently published a piece about how much money Google makes from the media, which was immediately torn apart by Media Twitter and critics for being inaccurate, with questionable sources.

#53 — Lessons from a year behind a paywall

#53 — Lessons from a year behind a paywall

In this week’s roundup of the latest news in publishing, we’ve pulled together some interesting podcast episodes about reader revenue, lots of technology news from the likes of Apple, YouTube and Facebook and a hot take on the difference between influencers and creators!

Enjoy 👉

💯 Top picks

“300% increase in new digital subscribers”: Lessons from a year behind a paywall [Podcast]

Media Voices catch up with Nicholas Thompson, the Editor-in-Chief of WIRED, who has been the driving force behind two high-profile paywall launches for Condé Nast. This weeks top listen!

💸 Business models

Substack expands its subscription platform with discussion threads

The subscription email newsletter platform are launching a community feature - unlocking discussion threads that can be open to everyone, or limited to a newsletters subscribers.

A framework for developing habits with news products

The newspaper industry had the art of habit forming down, but what can modern, digital publishers learn from their print-based ancestors? Twipe share some insightful tactics for news products in this 7 minute read.

Publishers need to have a reader revenue component for a viable strategy [Podcast]

The Financial Times CEO, John Ridding, shares his views on the Digiday podcast about their biggest growth areas, their difficult relationship with Facebook, and cautions that the road to building subscribers is much harder than it looks!

✍️ Modern journalism

These reporters lost their jobs. Now they’re fighting back against big tech!

“John Stanton and Laura Bassett are warning about what they believe the tech industry is doing to journalism, as thousands have lost their jobs this year alone.”

Inside the Washington Post's hybrid newsroom structure [Thread]

@JasonJedlinski shares an insightful snippet from the WNMC event in Scotland earlier this week about how the Washington Post manages their newsroom. editors exit as shake-up continues

Two key editors left after mass layoffs and a pivot towards video.

How did journalists file before Google Docs?

Ever wondered how journalism actually happened before we had the technology we have today? Take a journey back in time from the 60s to present day with CJR.

Sobering reality for news outlets: Your readers are somewhere else 99% of the time

And figuring out where else they’re spending their time online is a key part of generating competitive intelligence.”

👩‍💻 Technology

R.I.P. iTunes and more power to the iPad: Important news for publishers from Apple’s WWDC keynote

“It’s getting a lot easier to build a Mac news app, the words spoken in all podcasts will soon be searchable, and Siri might soon read your news alerts straight into someone’s AirPods.”

A curated list of best email designs in the universe

We recently discovered which is full of examples of good email design and best practice. There’s lots of categories to choose from, including news, subscription and technology.

Facebook is offering new subscription tools for publishers via Instant Articles

“Facebook is introducing more tools for users to kick in subscriptions for publishers, but it’s unclear how many subscriptions it will meaningfully drive.”

YouTube bans kids live-streaming video unless accompanied by an adult

In an ongoing response to backlash about how minors use the platform, YouTube have introduced new rules around live-streaming.

🤷 WTF?

The real difference between creators and influencers

“Influencer is a platform-agnostic term. It describes anyone who leverages social media to grow a following and exerts influence over that following in order to make money.”

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Anders Norén
Received a good first issue of the Publisher Weekly newsletter from @TryGhost to read with my morning coffee. I recommend you give it a try:
5:07 AM - 4 Jun 2018
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Andy McIlwain
Publisher Weekly - Issue #29… via @revue (Further props to @TryGhost for the newsletter. 90% of the curated stories make their way into my Pocket list. 👍)
5:42 PM - 16 Dec 2018 from Toronto, Ontario
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Jijo Sunny
Thanks for the votes! I recommend this newsletter by @TryGhost (@JohnONolan) for thoughtful takes on publishing, subscription biz and future of creators:
4:38 PM - 8 Jul 2018
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