Need to Know: June 4, 2019

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


You might have heard: Decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold (Associated Press)

But did you know: Marketers turn up podcast advertising (Wall Street Journal)

Advertisers’ spending on podcasts went up by 53 percent last year to land at $479 million total, according to a joint report from Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, and the report doesn’t expect the growth to stop there. The study predicted that podcast advertising could rise as high as about $679 million this year. Perceived as lacking the metrics and targeting abilities of other advertising media, podcast ad buys still fall well short of digital and TV ad spending, which yield a combined $200 billion, according to eMarketer, a research firm. Targeted ads are increasing in podcast advertising, as well. Dynamically inserted ads, which can target consumer segments based on IP address-connected data, made up almost half of podcast ads sold last year.

+ Noted: Substack expands its subscription platform with discussion threads (TechCrunch); Here’s The Salt Lake Tribune’s plan for securing 501(c)(3) status (Nieman Lab); ESPN will test NBA game stream aimed just at teens (Variety)


Four awesome Instagram strategies for sharing content (

Although Instagram’s 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily users make the app an important opportunity for branding, it doesn’t often lead to clicks. Last month, Instagram was ranked the 15th-highest source of referral traffic, most likely due to users’ inability to share links on posts. Instead of driving traffic, one big advantage of Instagram is its ability to help publications engage more with their readers. In one example, Instagram influenced the Bleacher Report’s app, which now enables users to share posts from the app to Instagram Stories. The Stories, in turn, are topped with a banner that links to a download for the Bleacher Report app.


Refinitiv blocks Reuters stories on Tiananmen from its Eikon platform (Reuters)

Reuters News’ largest customer is Refinitiv, a financial markets data provider similar to Bloomberg. Since Friday, at least nine Reuters stories about the 30th anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square protests were removed from the news feed for Refinitiv’s Eikon software. The story cuts followed pressure from the Cyberspace Administration of China, which threatened to suspend Refinitiv from the country if the company didn’t block the stories. Although Refinitiv had planned to leave the stories up for those outside China, their absence was widespread across Eikon’s user base. However, users could find the stories outside the news feed if they used search functions in Eikon. China aggressively censors online content and began to block Reuters’ site four years ago. China also blocked CNN’s site for its anniversary coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests.

+ In the former Soviet Union, old press habits die hard, especially on environmental issues (Nieman Lab)


What leaders can learn about customer loyalty from the Boeing debacle (Fast Company)

Boeing waited until a week after its 737 Max airplane crashed in Ethiopia to issue a public statement, in what Belding Group CEO and author Shaun Belding argues was part of “a strategy that has done the company far more harm than good.” Belding advocates for an alternative approach of embracing transparency and accountability – two elements some critics say are lacking in the journalism industry. According to a University of Michigan study, medical professionals who took ownership of their mistakes faced half the lawsuits of their peers who didn’t. “The moment customers start to question your integrity and intentions, it’s unlikely that you’ll get their hard-earned loyalty back,” Belding writes.


In the rush to spoil the outcome of ‘Jeopardy!,’ slow down (Poynter)

The episode hadn’t aired yet, but CNN, The Washington Post and other news organizations posted segments from James Holzhauer’s final appearance on the lauded game show “Jeopardy!” on Monday. Holzhauer, who set the record for the most money won in a single episode, enjoyed a streak of 33 games, with winnings that neared contestant Ken Jennings’ record-breaking prize total of $2.5 million 15 years ago. Al Tompkins writes in Poynter that “for news organizations to publish a spoiler just to get online clicks or to undermine a competitor media also runs the risk of irritating the public. It is editorial arrogance.”


Jamie Dupree 2.0: How a radio reporter lost his voice (but found a new one) (Radio Television Digital News Association)

A rare neurological disorder left WSB Radio’s Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree unable to speak or hit the radio waves. Last year, a software company came up with a solution to put him back on the air: a program that reads text into audio based on Dupree’s voice from years of his recordings. Atlanta-based WSB told Dupree’s story about his health condition and software through cross-platform reporting that included on-air news stories, video and articles. Rather than repurpose radio content into other formats for the project, the WSB team took a more “personal” approach, according to anchor Chris Chandler, who added that the video “gave the story more emotion and depth than [anything] else we did.”

+ How a retired Massachusetts judge revived The Berkshire Eagle (Boston Globe)