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Need to Know: Oct. 19, 2017

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


You might have heard: McClatchy released its third quarter results on Wednesday: The company reduced its costs year-over-year by 9.4 percent, leading to an adjusted net loss of $5.9 million (McClatchy)

But did you know: Retail losses are getting worse, hitting newspapers’ print ad revenues even harder (Poynter)
Last year’s holiday shopping season made it clear that Amazon and other online retailers were “sucking the lifeblood from department stores and other brick-and-mortar outlets,” Rick Edmonds writes. That effect on print ad revenue is becoming clearer now as McClatchy reports its third quarter results. The company saw a 23 percent year-over-year decline in print advertising. CEO Craig Forman said that “bankruptcies and store closings are beginning to have even more of a bite.” He said he expects targeted retail digital ads to pick up some of the slack eventually, but “but those changes are discontinuous and bumpy.” McClatchy is trying to offset ad losses by reaching 100,000 for paid digital subscriptions by the end of the year, and has 93,000 to date, Edmonds reports.

+ Noted: Hearst has agreed to acquire Rodale, publisher of Men’s Health and Prevention: WSJ reports that the price was under $225 million (Wall Street Journal); Attorney general Jeff Sessions says he can’t “make a blanket commitment” to not jail journalists, saying he reserves the right to put journalists in jail “if we have to” (Washington Post); A Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that 46 percent of voters believe that the news media is fabricating stories about Trump (Politico); A new report from MapLight recommends more rules for digital political ads, such as requiring platforms to report ad buys and marking ads clearly (MapLight) and Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner will introduce a bill co-sponsored by Republican John McCain intended to increase the transparency of political ads online (Politico); LA Weekly will be sold to Semanal Media: Semnal Media is a new company created for this transaction with unknown owners (Los Angeles Times)


The Shorenstein Center released a new guide on using data science for email audience analysis (Shorenstein Center)
The Shorenstein Center has a new guide and tool to help news organizations better understand their email audiences. The white paper dives into how to define your email audience, metrics specific to email and data challenges when it comes to email. Meanwhile, the Shorenstein Center Notebooks, which are written in Python and available for free via GitHub, include example code for using data science to analyze your email audience.

+ The tools and techniques NYT is using to produce virtual reality videos (New York Times)


The Guardian is starting a new £42 million venture capital fund to invest in tech startups that support news (The Drum)
The Guardian is launching a new £42 million venture capital fund to invest in early-stage businesses in areas that support journalism, such as artificial intelligence, fraud detection, online payment systems or new formats of content distribution. The Guardian says the startups it invests in will “be adjacent and disruptive to the news sector,” and accelerate its own strategy in some way — whether that’s through enriching the reading experience, creating a tool for journalists or improving the digital ad buying experience.

+ Here’s why Facebook and Google likely won’t be redefined as “media” under U.K. regulatory law: “If [the government] thought Google and Facebook were publishers, they’d have classified them as such long ago. This is a case of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and applying 20th-century mentality to 21st-century business models” (Digiday)


How to make your work culture friendlier for introverts and extroverts alike (Fast Company)
A major challenge for employers is how to build cultures that equally support people whose personalities differ dramatically, Morra Aarons-Mele writes. Physical workplace design is part of the solution for employers, but there’s a few low-tech steps you can take, too. Some suggestions: Ask introverts how they prefer to share and receive information, don’t make office events outside of the workday a job requirement, and don’t expect people to be “on-call” via Slack and email 24/7.

+ “Why you can focus in a coffee shop, but not in your open office” (Harvard Business Review); ICYMI: API’s new Strategy Study on how newsrooms are redesigning their workspaces to better support the behaviors, workflows and attitudes required in an adaptive, modern media company


Jonah Peretti: News paywalls are bad for society (Fast Company)
“The subscription model does not support informing a broad audience,” said BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti at the Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference. “It’s a huge issue for society and democracy.” Peretti went on to explain that though Google and Facebook capture a large percentage of online ad revenue, they don’t “pay for the reporting, the fact-checking, the more intensive investigations. … Google and Facebook are going to have to fix that. It’s not tenable that the only people getting quality news will be only 2 percent or 5 percent or even 20 percent of the public.”


Matt DeRienzo: To stop newspapers’ slide, empower local publishers (Editor & Publisher)
Increasingly, we’re seeing regional publishers managing multiple local newspaper markets. “The theory,” LION Publishers executive director Matt DeRienzo writes, “is that companies have built corporate leadership teams specializing in the different sectors of the business — advertising, circulation, news — and don’t need the additional overhead of a well-paid manager pulling them together in every local market.” But DeRienzo argues that there’s some major problems with the loss of local leadership: “If engagement with the community is paramount, we need publishers who are a part of, understand and look like the community. There’s a strong argument to be made that community organizing is a more relevant background for the modern publisher than advertising sales.”

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