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Need to Know: Nov. 2, 2017

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: Following the 2016 presidential election, The New York Times has seen a significant “Trump bump” in its digital subscription growth (VentureBeat)

But did you know: The New York Times’ surge in digital subscriptions and digital advertising made up for print losses in its Q3 results (New York Times)
The New York Times is seeing similar print losses as other newspapers in the industry, but it’s making up for those losses with substantial growth in digital subscriptions and advertising. In its Q3 results released on Wednesday, NYT reported that its print advertising was down by 20 percent year-over-year. But the company added 105,000 digital-only subscriptions, plus about 50,000 more subscriptions for its crosswords and cooking vertical. That pushed its digital subscription revenue to $86 million — a growth of 46 percent year-over-year.

+ “An analyst asked whether price increases for digital subscriptions may be coming soon,” Rick Edmonds writes on the earnings call. “For right now no, COO Meredith Kopit Levien replied. The effort remains focused on growing the base, and boosting prices would slow that. The cohort that came in at introductory rates before and after the election is converting to full price at the same rate other trial subscribers have — allaying any worries that those big gains were temporary.” (Poynter)

+ “Even though it can count twice as many digital subscribers than print ones, those print subscribers account for almost 65% of all reader revenue. Print payers — and print advertisers — pay a lot more than do digital ones, though of course the cost of serving them is lower as well. Transition offers a complex math, but in relatively few numbers, we can see both how the Times has separated itself from its former newspaper pack and the challenges that still lie ahead for the rest of the press,” Ken Doctor writes (The Street)

+ Noted: NPR’s top news editor Michael Oreskes resigns after allegations of sexual harassment (CNN Money); Sinclair Broadcasting CEO Chris Ripley said Bill O’Reilly approached the company, but said Sinclair has does not have “any interest in hiring him” (Deadline Hollywood); Forbes is cutting its opinion section: “As we strive to tell stories that have a point of view, the need for a conventional opinion-style writing has lessened,” Forbes Media vice president Mark Coatney said (Business Insider); Wall Street Journal staff fear an exodus of top reporters may be on the way after “a series of virulent anti-Mueller editorials” (Vanity Fair); The News Integrity Initiative is awarding a total of $2.5 million to Internews and the European Journalism Centre to “support community-focused journalism around the globe” (CUNY Graduate School of Journalism)

TRY THIS AT HOME

Money-making ideas for local news: Sponsored homecoming galleries and opting for memberships over advertising (Poynter)
In a session at last week’s LION Publishers annual conference, publishers shared specific ideas around community engagement and revenue that worked in their newsroom. Some highlights from the session: Richland Source published advertiser-sponsored galleries of homecoming photos, Madison365 shifted from selling ads to selling memberships, and Oklahoma Watch is replacing traditional banner ads with spots sponsored by nonprofits as a way to build relationships in its community.

+ Jason Kottke explains why memberships “saved” kottke.org: “The industry-wide drop in revenue from display advertising was beginning to affect kottke.org … But over the course of the past year, hundreds and then thousands of you became members, exceeding even my loftiest expectations. Membership is now the primary source of revenue for kottke.org” (kottke.org); As news organizations try to expand reader revenue, some are looking to hire ecommerce marketing veterans (Digiday)

OFFSHORE

Why aren’t UK publishers going all-in on video? It’s a smaller market, there’s fewer VC-backed publishers, and publishers tend to be less reliant on Facebook (Digiday)
In the U.S., we’ve seen a number of publishers “pivot to video” — but publishers in the U.K. aren’t jumping on video in the same way. Lucinda Southern explains that’s due to a smaller market, fewer VC-backed publishers and comparatively less reliance on Facebook. All of those factors mean that the U.K.’s video market isn’t as lucrative, Southern says: “Video’s importance is increasing, but not at the expense of other formats. … With Facebook’s shift toward video, publishers more reliant on the platform for traffic have followed suit. While Facebook is a source of traffic for U.K. publishers, most are unlikely to reach the same level of scale and dependence on the platform as those in the U.S.”

+ German law is pushing social media networks to delete abusive posts with the threat of large fines (NPR)

OFFBEAT

Millennial men may be women’s best allies at work, a new study suggests (Fast Company)
According to a new study conducted by Boston Consulting Group, men under 40 may be women’s best allies at work. The study found that Millennial men ranked parental leave, flexible work and on-site childcare as high priorities and were more likely to support flexible work measures (such as tracking performance based on outcomes rather than number of hours worked or changing schedules for routine meetings), regardless of whether they were parents themselves. They were also more likely to support hiring job candidates from “nontraditional recruiting pools and to undergo bias reduction training in order to improve gender diversity.”

+ “Your strategy won’t work if you don’t identify the new capabilities you need” (Harvard Business Review)

UP FOR DEBATE

Facebook and Twitter’s track record shows that they can’t be trusted to police themselves (Politico Magazine)
“Today, what we know about how disinformation spreads through social networks is due to the hard work of outside experts — researchers, journalists and think tanks — and no thanks to the tech companies themselves,” Data for Democracy researcher Renee Diresta and former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris write. “In 2015, researchers were writing about ISIS bots spreading jihadi propaganda on Twitter, and posting recruiting videos on YouTube. Technology companies took the most egregious content seriously, but initially did little to disrupt the terrorist network. This year, once again, outsiders have taken the lead in exposing how the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company that conducts information operations on behalf of the Kremlin, purchased and disseminated propaganda meant to exploit American societal divisions during the election. … To date, the tech companies have appeared incapable or unwilling to self-police in a sweeping and major way. The limited self-regulatory bodies that do exist have sprung up largely in response to crises, and usually only after significant outside government pressure and public uproar.”

+ Lawmakers released a sampling of Russian ads placed on Facebook before and after the election (Washington Post); Facebook says the Trump and Clinton campaigns spent a combined $81 million on ads during their campaigns, while Russian Internet Research Agency spend $46,000 (TechCrunch); Emails show Twitter offered Russia Today 15 percent of its total share of U.S. elections advertising, but RT declined (BuzzFeed News)

SHAREABLE

More on how digital has changed the ways journalists work: It’s ‘more like never stop’ (Poynter)
Following up on last week’s Local Edition on how digital has changed journalists’ workdays, Kristen Hare asked journalists, what’s working (and not working) for you? “More like never stop,” freelance journalist Matt DiVenere said of how digital changes the way he works. “With the opportunity to write an article on my phone, forward to my editor, and have it uploaded immediately, it’s a never-ending cycle.” His suggestions for slowing down: “I think that’s where having a supportive team around you and an understanding managing editor comes in. As a managing editor, one of my internal focuses was writer burnout. There’s nothing worse than watching a skilled journalist hit a wall and them not believe they can take the appropriate time to refocus and refresh. You need to know when you hit the stop button, there are people who have your back.”

+ Here’s how Snap Maps offered real-time coverage of the terror attacks in Manhattan on Tuesday (Nieman Lab)

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