Gather is a collection of searchable resources. It’s a place to learn (and borrow) from existing projects. It’s a hub for collaboration. It’s an advanced how-to guide for engagement vets and an on-ramp for newbies. It’s a digital meeting space where engaged journalism’s budding community of practice can continue to grow and evolve.
The nitty-gritty details are TBD, of course, because we’re still building Gather with FMYI [Gather’s tech partner] and our steering and advisory committees. But if you check back next week, we’ll tell you more about our overall approach to community development — and share some specifics about how that approach is shaping the platform’s design.
The platform is intended for everyone working in news in some capacity, so don’t be scared away if you don’t hold “audience engagement” or “community manager” titles:
You might be doing that work for a community news site with two employees, a daily newspaper with hundreds of employees, a university journalism program with thousands of students, or some organization we’ve never heard of. That part doesn’t matter to us. What matters is that you want to do engagement that’s relational and collaborative, not transactional and extractive. If that’s the case, consider yourself invited to Gather!
The platform is tentatively scheduled to launch to the public in May. If you’re interested in participating or have questions, you can reach out to Joy Mayer, the project’s community engagement lead.
“Putting others’ words in quotation marks, to signal, ‘We don’t know if this is true, we’re just telling you what they said’ or even ‘Nudge, nudge, we know this isn’t true,’ is a journalistic cop-out.”
When it comes to attracting younger readers, the outreach efforts of The New York Times and Washington Post seem to be paying off.
New data from the Pew Research Center finds that adults under age 50 got their election news from national newspapers at rates equal to or greater than those of people over fifty. The trend was particularly clear for big national brands like the The New York Times and Washington Post, which younger adults read at twice the rate of those over fifty. (The same organizations are seeing big bumps in subscription rates post-election.)
The picture was less rosy for local papers, which were far more likely to be a news source for older adults than younger ones. Four in 10 adults over 65 said they got their election news from local daily newspapers, which is three times the rate of those younger than 50. So local papers might want to look to their national counterparts for pointers on how to attract younger readers, particularly online.
The New York Times, for its part, has repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of attracting more young readers. As it noted in its “Our Path Forward” memo published last month:
Moving forward we will be particularly focused on younger readers, who are already our largest category of readers — 40 percent of our mobile audience is under 35 years old — but who lag other groups in engagement. Expanding these relationships isn’t just a matter of growing our audience; it will help us stay ahead of the curve. Young readers were the first to shift to mobile and the first to embrace social platforms, and they have become reliable first indicators of major trends that ultimately affect our entire audience.
Pew says that the data backs up previous research that found that while older adults gravitated to television to get their political news, young people preferred to read it — largely online.
The takeway, according to researchers Jeffrey Gottfried and Michael Barthel: This is good news for the big national papers, who have “have aggressively pursued online audiences, which tend to be younger.”
Attracting these younger, digital readers may help grow digital advertising revenue and even subscriptions. Nonetheless, most publishers still rely more heavily on print dollars. In other words, attracting young readers may be just one step in securing newspapers’ future.
Recode’s annual media conference, Code Media, took place in California on February 13 and 14, and featured speakers like The Washington Post’s Marty Baron and Stratechery’s Ben Thompson. You can find links to watch video of each of the panels in the posts here, but among the highlights for journalism folks:
— Fake news watch: Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of software and services, declared that tech companies have to take responsibility for fake news: “Since the majority of news is being read through devices and services through devices, I think we all have a responsibility for it.” Apple’s worked to keep fake news off Apple News. (Cue also briefly mentioned podcasts, as Nick Quah noted yesterday.) Facebook’s VP of partnerships Dan Rose, meanwhile, repeated things the company’s said before: It’s “just getting started” tackling fake news, launching projects like this one. (Rose also skirted the question of whether Facebook is a media company: It’s a platform “where people discover a lot of media content,” never mind that many of them also think of it as a news outlet.) Philip Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, noted that “it’s often very hard to draw the line…between fake news and bad journalism.”
"If people want to share stories that have been disputed as fake news that is their prerogative." Dan Rose #facebook#codemedia
— Ben Thompson of Stratechery on his successful subscription model: “People underestimate the scale of the internet. Certainly I work hard, but the amount of work I’m doing today is the exact same amount of work I was doing three years ago. The only difference is my income is 100 times higher. And it’s because that $10 scales, and it scales very, very well.”
The news site has an unusual policy on crime reporting: No names or mugshots of those arrested unless they’re public figures, the arrest is judged to be a public emergency, or its reporters are able to interview the accused directly.