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Newsonomics: Tribune’s Thursday night surprise rescrambles the consolidation puzzle
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Feb. 9, 2016, 1:18 p.m.
LINK: www.nytco.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   February 9, 2016

The New York Times this week has launched a new email newsletter aimed at college students that will feature a collection of stories that will help students “through their next steps, both professional and personal, in a way that doesn’t come across as prescriptive.”

The newsletter, named The Edit, will be sent out every other week, and it’s just the Times’ latest attempt to target college students. The first issue of the newsletter, sent out Monday, includes stories on study abroad programs, Bernie Sanders, beer ads, and a guide to making eggs.

The paper offers discounted subscriptions to students and faculty. It also has a program where universities can purchase licenses to access the Times online or purchase subscriptions in bulk for distribution on campus.

For the Times, The Edit is part of an attempt to encourage a younger readership to develop an attachment to the Times — readers who could be converted into the future subscribers, key to its future growth and plans to reach $800 million in digital revenue by 2020. As Lydia Polgreen told me about the Times’ new Spanish-language site, “Our main goal in this is to get people to think of The New York Times as an important part of their daily lives.”

The Edit newsletter is another attempt to build that relationship with college students. Newsletters have become trendy recently as publishers look to offer readers finite products that are mobile friendly.

“We believe email is how people really communicate with each other, especially when we looked at the morning routines of our target audience,” Danielle Weisberg, one of the cofounders of theSkimm, an email newsletter aimed at young professional women, told the Lab last year.

The Times now has more than 40 different newsletters, including its daily morning and evening briefings, which originated as a feature on NYT Now. Digiday reported last August that for its weekly emails, the Times’ average gross open rate is about 50 percent, though that figure includes emails that were opened more than once.

Clifford Levy, a Times assistant masthead editor, explained to my colleague Shan Wang how the Times approaches the briefings to make them work on the app and in email.

The stories chosen for the briefings don’t mimic the homepage. These are not news summaries. We’re conscious of short paragraphs and sentences, of what’s pleasant to read on a phone screen. For example, in the morning briefing, there are few news items that are more one or two sentences long. If you want more information, you click on the links. The number of items included in the briefing depends on the day, and there’s no hard and fast rule on that.

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