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Bubble fears, old-guard acquisitions, and Audible: This was 2018 in podcasts
Plus: What we’ll cover in 2019, and the most interesting companies to watch.
By Nicholas Quah
Google is launching a voice-driven version of Google News for smart speakers and phones
“News on smart speakers is not living up to the promise of what it could be.”
By Laura Hazard Owen
New limited-run podcasts are fun to listen to, but hard to sell. Can that change?
Plus: How the BBC is decentralizing political podcasting, and the battle of the Thanksgiving afternoon podcasts.
By Nicholas Quah
Consumers love smart speakers. They don’t love news on smart speakers. (At least not yet.)
People are still much more likely to use smart speakers for music and weather than news. But that could change as news organizations design news briefings specifically for the speakers.
By Laura Hazard Owen
How I cheated the Apple Podcast charts for $5
Plus: How your favorite shows are covering the midterm elections, The Washington Post named its daily host, and the Spiro Agnew content you’ve been craving.
By Nicholas Quah
“Yelling at her family in public, in your headphones”: Reality TV comes to podcasts
Plus: The state of Slate, Podtrac wariness, and national/local podcast collaborations.
By Nicholas Quah
What is up with Apple’s screwy (and seemingly scammy) podcast charts?
Plus: Spotify opens up its podcast section to everyone, Google bets on small producers, and The New York Times goes roundtable.
By Nicholas Quah
The New York Times Magazine wants to send you on an audio “voyage,” featuring bats, rats, and volcanos
Plus: The real-world impact of true-crime shows, Serial prepares its return, and an NBC podcast built around an Instagram account.
By Nicholas Quah
We’re getting closer to the day when news apps and interactives can be easily preserved in perpetuity
Well, maybe not easily, but an NYU team is building a tool to save the entirety of a news app (including underlying libraries and frameworks), as well as a digital repository to hold them for future audiences.
By Shan Wang
Alphabet soup: Will the merger of PRX and PRI shift the competitive landscape of public radio (and podcasting)?
Plus: A wave of new releases for the fall, an up-and-down week for My Favorite Murder, and SB Nation goes big on local sports podcasts.
By Nicholas Quah
WhatsApp is a black box of viral misinformation — but in Brazil, 24 newsrooms are teaming up to fact-check it
And unlike previous efforts, WhatsApp is giving the fact-checkers an important tool to reach the public more easily.
By Shan Wang
With “Your Feed,” The New York Times lets iOS users follow topics and journalists (in a non-overwhelming way)
In user research, The New York Times found that “following” topics and specific journalists was a top request. So it built “Your Feed.”
By Laura Hazard Owen
Where should the daily news podcast go from here? (Can we get away from “the commute”?)
“There’s just this prevailing, unshakeable feeling that everybody’s drilling for oil in the same spot because some other guy found oil there already.”
By Nicholas Quah
12 prototypes, eight weeks, and lots of tapping: What’s worked (and hasn’t) in the BBC’s quest for new storytelling formats
A highlight in an article that reveals context when it’s clicked. A video with a scrollable transcript that speeds up or reverses the video, too. A movie trailer–like intro, drawing readers into the setup of the story. Which ones worked?
By Christine Schmidt
Mobile Majority: How phones are changing news
Bubble fears, old-guard acquisitions, and Audible: This was 2018 in podcasts
Plus: What we’ll cover in 2019, and the most interesting companies to watch.
By Nicholas Quah
Google is launching a voice-driven version of Google News for smart speakers and phones
“News on smart speakers is not living up to the promise of what it could be.”
New limited-run podcasts are fun to listen to, but hard to sell. Can that change?
Plus: How the BBC is decentralizing political podcasting, and the battle of the Thanksgiving afternoon podcasts.
What We’re Reading
Reuters Institute for the Study of JOurnalism / Emma-Leena Ovaskainen
Nine types of visual storytelling on mobile
For one, “longform scrollytelling.”
Reynolds Journalism Institute / Madeleine Bair
El Tímpano will pilot a text message distribution and engagement strategy to serve Latino immigrants
“As we talked to community organizers about what approaches they find most effective in reaching Latino immigrants, two strategies came up again and again: in-person engagement and mobile messaging.”
The Information / Wayne Ma and Juro Osawa
Google is developing a news aggregation app for use in China that will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws
“Google is also preparing a mobile app for internet search in China that will comply with local censorship laws, an effort first reported Wednesday by The Intercept. The company is developing the apps in Mountain View where its headquarters are, and mainland China, where it has offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Journalism.co.uk / Marcela Kunova
Another app that tries to encourage sharing stories from outside users’ filter bubbles
“News With Friends uses an algorithm which ranks stories based on editorial choices media research company Kaleida observes from leading publishers; through their tools which put stories in context and enable people to compare and contrast views; and via the social features that fuel informed and intimate conversations.”
Digiday / Mark Weiss
Digiday Research: Mobile commerce shows promise for publishers
“73 percent of publisher executives surveyed by Digiday say at least at least 25 percent of their commerce revenues now come from mobile devices.”
Digiday / Kerry Flynn
🤑 How HQ trivia is trying to turn a viral sensation into a media business
HQ’s sole revenue strategy, for now, is akin to a sponsorship where brands pay for game takeovers. For example, NBC paid for a takeover of The Voice. On May 14, HQ players had a chance to win $50,000 and a trip for two to the show’s finale. The Voice game on HQ, which aired at 11:30 p.m. ET, reached 1.4 million players. NBC’s ratings for 18- to 34-year-olds, as well as viewers aged 12 to 17, was the best for a Monday episode since the first live show of the season, evp of digital for NBC Entertainment Rob Hayes said.
Digiday / Sahil Patel
Half of Telemundo’s live digital viewers for the World Cup are watching on mobile devices
“The NBCUniversal broadcaster, which has Spanish-language rights to air every World Cup game in the U.S., said between 48 and 51 percent of its live digital viewers consistently watch the games on their smartphones. The other half flips between connected TV and desktop streaming, said Peter Blacker, evp of digital media and emerging business for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises.”
Digiday / Max Willens
Podcasting keeps inching toward measurement standard, but is reluctant to deal with the short-term pain
“Transitioning to the IAB’s standard has caused a ‘double-digit percentage’ drop in downloads for many of its shows, Wondery said. That hit is slowing the transition that both producers and ad buyers say is necessary to attract more ad dollars. ‘It is the right thing to do,’ Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez said. ‘We certainly hope agencies will notice we’re taking the first step.'”
NPR / Elizabeth Jensen
You call that breaking news?: NPR’s public editor on the increasing frequency of push notifications
“NPR puts alerts into two categories: Breaking news that subscribers need to know now and feature alerts, which cover investigative work and original reporting that NPR wants to highlight, as well as live event coverage and new podcasts or programs. (New programming alerts are supposed to be “rare and far between,” per the guidelines.)”
The Hollywood Reporter
Vox Media chief Jim Bankoff on the future of digital media and his Hollywood ambitions
Q: What’s an area of growth for Vox Media? A: Podcasting.
Nieman Lab is a project to try to help figure out where the news is headed in the Internet age. Sign up for The Digest, our daily email with all the freshest future-of-journalism news.