Need to Know: June 22, 2022


You might have heard: Print editions took significant hits during the pandemic (Columbia Journalism Review) 

But did you know: U.S. digital newspaper ad revenue expected to surpass print by 2026 (Axios)

According to a new report from PwC, the U.S. will become the first major media market where digital newspaper ad revenue will surpass print ad revenue. The switch, which is expected in 2026, is likely to be due more to the loss of print revenue — which is expected to drop from $7 billion in 2021 to $4.9 billion in 2026 — than to gains in digital revenue, which is expected the rise by only $250 million in the next four years. PwC also predicts that circulation revenues, in both print and digital, are likely to overtake advertising revenue this year. 

+ Noted: Out Magazine, The Advocate sold to new owners in Pride Media acquisition (The Hollywood Reporter); Nobel peace prize auctioned by Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov fetches record $103.5 million (The Guardian); Newsrooms are invited to participate in a webinar on July 20 to hear details about how they can participate in Democracy Day, an effort to draw attention to the crisis facing American democracy (Center for Cooperative Media)  


Trust Tip: Talk about your ownership and funding (Trusting News) 

In this post from the Trust Tips archive, Lynn Walsh writes that talking about who owns your news organization can be an important part of earning the trust of your users. For many journalists, the impact of who owns the paper, website, or TV or radio station might not be felt on a daily basis. But many consumers assume corporate owners and their financial interests dictate news coverage. Take the opportunity to be clear with your audience about how you operate — who owns your news organization, what being an affiliate or part of a chain means, and who funds the journalism. 


‘Always be fundraising’: How Bridge Michigan built a million-dollar membership program (News Revenue Hub) 

In 2018, the nonprofit news organization Bridge Michigan set out to earn $1 million in revenue from a membership program, and with help from the News Revenue Hub, the outlet is on track to reach that goal by the end of the year. The outlet runs six fundraising campaigns every year, including donation buttons on the website and emails highlighting standout work. After sending out audience surveys, Bridge Michigan discovered that readers wanted more politics coverage, so they hired a politics reporter and centered a crowdfunding campaign around that role. 


Times of London subscribers revolt over story spiked for ‘legal reasons’ (Press Gazette)

Over the weekend, The Times of London pulled a story reporting that several years ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had maneuvered to get his then-mistress (and current wife Carrie Johnson) a job in his government. The paper’s publisher, News UK, has said that the story was taken down for legal reasons, but subscribers to the paper have been vocal in their opposition. In the comments to another story about Johnson, subscribers have alleged that the paper bowed to pressure from the government, and several commenters threatened to cancel their subscriptions. 


A global collective of ad execs has launched an open-source resource to help brands support quality journalism (Digiday) 

Brands4News is a new initiative aimed at helping brands support quality journalism while mitigating the risks of being associated with a bad news event. The first offering are HTML5 display banners that read  “supporting quality journalism” alongside a brand logo or image. Inspired by the simple branding that appears in sports arenas, the goal is to “help reinforce the links between what people are reading and how it’s funded,” writes Seb Joseph. The next step will focus on ​​domain inclusion lists of trusted, high-quality news organizations. 

+ Meta to roll out new monetization tools on Instagram and Facebook, including a creator marketplace (TechCrunch); TikTok cracks down on ‘get rich quick’ schemes and undisclosed ads, in line with EU rules (CNET) 


The Washington Post wants to give you a good deal on a digital subscription — from now until 2072 (Nieman Lab) 

As part of a promotion, The Washington Post is offering subscribers the opportunity to lock in a $50/year rate for the next 50 years. While this could be an incredible discount for subscribers, Joshua Benton writes, it bolsters the Post by emphasizing its status as an institution — and takes advantage of the 50-year anniversary of the Watergate break-in. It also celebrates the Post’s stable ownership: “The Post is one of the few news organizations in America that can think in decades instead of years, and that’s a strategic advantage,” writes Benton. And, practically, the offer reduces the incentive to “churn” in and out of a subscription over the years. 

+ Related: With his vast investment in The Washington Post’s digital publishing technology, Jeff Bezos could soon control the backbone of most large American newspapers (Washington Monthly) 


Truthful climate reporting shifts viewpoints, but only briefly, study finds (The Guardian)

New research from Ohio State University found that while accurate scientific reporting could shift people’s opinions about climate change, the effect faded quickly, especially if people were exposed to opposing ideas, reports Fiona Harvey. Even people who were skeptical of climate science were amenable to the idea that governments should consider acting to tackle climate change after first reading an article about it, but over time, they reverted to their original opinion. Professor Thomas Wood, who led the study, said that people need to hear the same, accurate messaging about climate change many times in order for it to sink in.