Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Need to Know: Sept. 25, 2017

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

OFF THE TOP

You might have heard: A number of major magazines editors have announced their departures in recent weeks: Graydon Carter will leave Vanity Fair (New York Times), Nancy Gibbs will leave Time (New York Post), Cindi Leive will leave Glamour (Los Angeles Times), and Robbie Myers will leave Elle (The Cut)

But did you know: Facing competition from online platforms, magazines are adopting a ‘try-anything’ approach (New York Times)
Recent changes in the magazine industry as companies look for new revenue streams “represent one of the most fundamental shifts in decades for a business that long relied on a simple formula: glossy volumes thick with high-priced ads,” Sydney Ember and Michael M. Grynbaum write. Magazines are forgoing expensive celebrity editors and trying out new story formats, such as Time Inc.’s streaming show “Paws & Claws” or Hearst’s new magazine with Airbnb. “If you want to do the same thing year in and year out, you shouldn’t do these jobs,” says Hearst Magazines president David Carey.

+ Noted: The Washington Post’s Arc Publishing is introducing a white-label native app: The app will give “publishers a low-lift, turnkey solution for launching a mobile app for iOS and Android devices” (Washington Post); BuzzFeed’s morning Twitter news show AM to DM premieres this morning: Ad packages for the show range from $250,000 to more than half a million (Ad Age); Nine days after Mark Zuckerberg said the idea that fake news on Facebook played a role in the election was “crazy,” President Obama approached Zuckerberg to make a personal appeal on why he should take fake news and misinformation seriously (Washington Post); New analysis by CJR finds that most of the U.S.’s daily newspapers have adopted digital subscription strategies that allow free access to content (CJR)

TRY THIS AT HOME

Insights on how to grow subscriptions through machine learning and analytics (Schibsted Bytes)
Using analytics and machine learning, Schibsted Media Group increased its subscription telemarketing conversion rates by 540 percent. With a prediction model, Schibsted targeted users on its own sites, predicted their likelihood of purchasing a subscription, and then carried out telemarketing to those users. Schibsted data scientist Ciaran Cody-Kenny and head of data and analytics Eivind Fiskerud break down how they built the model, what they learned, and how they plan to adjust in the future.

OFFSHORE

Time Inc. UK is being put up for sale by its parent company, Time Inc. (Guardian)
Time Inc. U.K., publisher of Marie Claire, NME, Wallpaper and TV Times, is being put up for sale by its U.S.-based owner Time Inc., The Guardian reports. Time Inc. said on Friday that it’s “looking to sell several assets,” including Time Inc. U.K., after sales and advertising revenue fell more than expected in the current quarter. A sale could be announced as soon as Q4 of this year, The Guardian reports.

+ Time Inc. announced plans last month to cut costs by more than $400 million (New York Post)

+ News organizations in Germany have been proactive about correcting fake news after its role in elections in the U.S., U.K. and France: A verification platform called Truly Media is aiding in that by offering “a single verification interface that integrates with services like reverse image search site TinEye, Google Maps (for location verification), and video verification tools” (Nieman Lab); “There’s not much misinformation about the German election going viral online. Even stories that do gain traction are shared only hundreds or thousands of times, not millions like the lie about the Pope endorsing Trump for president or Hillary Clinton running a child abuse ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria” (CNET)

OFFBEAT

‘Academia is replicating the structure of the mass media’ (London School of Economics and Political Science)
“Academia is replicating the structure of the mass media,” Portia Roelofs and Max Gallien write on how engagement metrics are changing academic research. “Academic articles are now evaluated according to essentially the same metrics as BuzzFeed posts and Instagram selfies. In fact, the impact factor is an especially blunt example of online metrics: Reddit, Youtube, and Imgur at least allow users to up-vote or down-vote posts. The result is to dilute the idea of impact to simply publicity. … And it’s deadly serious: how many likes your article gets is not simply a matter of vanity but is ingrained into the system of academic rewards and respects; whether when applying for promotions, jobs, or research funding.”

+ From June: How the pressure to get published in academic journals is is leading to “too much cookie-cutter research” (Guardian)

UP FOR DEBATE

‘Police posed a greater danger to journalists than demonstrators in St. Louis’ (Columbia Missourian)
“The behavior of police, in particular SWAT teams and riot officers, toward the news media and other peaceful participants on Sunday ought to be alarming to the general public,” Davis Winborne writes on his experience covering protests in St. Louis last weekend. “The actions of the St. Louis police against journalists were completely inappropriate. We were there to cover an important story, and the actions of the police were a direct attack on that constitutionally protected work. … As journalists, we expect the police to recognize the right we have to document unfolding events in order to truthfully inform the public. Instead of being able to do our job, our physical integrity was at risk because of the police.”

SHAREABLE

The Los Angeles Times hits 100,000 digital subscriptions (The Street)
The Los Angeles Times has hit a major milestone in digital subscription growth, Ken Doctor writes: The newspaper now has 105,000 digital subscribers, “quietly [assuming] the leadership in digital subscriptions among regional dailies.” In comparison, The Boston Globe has 90,000 digital-only subscriptions, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune 50,000. Doctor breaks down how Tronc has prioritized digital subscription growth and what this milestone says about its potential for future growth.

+ What are your earliest memories of local news? (Poynter)

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