20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
5
2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
6
2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

Respect the non-paying audience

“I was floored when a publisher said they hit their non-member email list with a whopping 15 promotional come-ons in an average month.”

I recently attended a Google News Initiative Local Summit in Chicago. A room full of newspaper, pureplay, and a few TV folks spent two days talking about how to adapt to a changing local news landscape.

The topic on everyone’s mind: how to grow reader revenue. With most categories seeing increasing challenges — including and especially advertising — reader revenue is the phrase on everyone’s lips.

A year ago, I wrote about my experiment around what I call a timewall. Instead of a hard or soft paywall, paying members get the benefit of early access to content in exchange for their payment (along with some other perks). Just last week, the site hit its first-year membership goal — and is generating tens of thousands in reader revenue — without locking the public out of a single story.

As we enter 2020, I believe that the big experimentation space will be the fusion between growing membership and email newsletters.

At BoiseDev, we don’t send purely promotional emails — ever. I was floored when a publisher said they hit their non-member email list with a whopping 15 promotional come-ons in an average month.

How do we use email to grow our paid member business? By anchoring the emails we send with content.

Each week, non-paying members get the BoiseDev Download (here’s a sample). It’s a quick check of some of the top headlines of the week. It starts, however, with a membership offer. This accomplishes two goals: It continues to incentivize return visits — and helps drive new paid memberships.

Plus, it feels a hell of a lot more respectful to the end user than sending 15 spammy messages a month.

Because our model will always be predicated on multiple revenue streams — including, yes, advertising, it’s important to drive traffic — especially from high-value users who have already given us their email addresses. And incentivizing them to pay for the product in a content-rich environment helps drive conversions.

In 2020, I look to more publishers finding smart ways to grow their reader revenue business in ways that respect the audience.

Don Day is publisher of BoiseDev.

I recently attended a Google News Initiative Local Summit in Chicago. A room full of newspaper, pureplay, and a few TV folks spent two days talking about how to adapt to a changing local news landscape.

The topic on everyone’s mind: how to grow reader revenue. With most categories seeing increasing challenges — including and especially advertising — reader revenue is the phrase on everyone’s lips.

A year ago, I wrote about my experiment around what I call a timewall. Instead of a hard or soft paywall, paying members get the benefit of early access to content in exchange for their payment (along with some other perks). Just last week, the site hit its first-year membership goal — and is generating tens of thousands in reader revenue — without locking the public out of a single story.

As we enter 2020, I believe that the big experimentation space will be the fusion between growing membership and email newsletters.

At BoiseDev, we don’t send purely promotional emails — ever. I was floored when a publisher said they hit their non-member email list with a whopping 15 promotional come-ons in an average month.

How do we use email to grow our paid member business? By anchoring the emails we send with content.

Each week, non-paying members get the BoiseDev Download (here’s a sample). It’s a quick check of some of the top headlines of the week. It starts, however, with a membership offer. This accomplishes two goals: It continues to incentivize return visits — and helps drive new paid memberships.

Plus, it feels a hell of a lot more respectful to the end user than sending 15 spammy messages a month.

Because our model will always be predicated on multiple revenue streams — including, yes, advertising, it’s important to drive traffic — especially from high-value users who have already given us their email addresses. And incentivizing them to pay for the product in a content-rich environment helps drive conversions.

In 2020, I look to more publishers finding smart ways to grow their reader revenue business in ways that respect the audience.

Don Day is publisher of BoiseDev.

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Lucas Graves   A smarter conversation about how (and why) fact-checking matters

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

L. Gordon Crovitz   Fighting misinformation requires journalism, not secret algorithms

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

M. Scott Havens   First-party data becomes media’s most important currency

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Christa Scharfenberg   It’s time to make journalism a field that supports and respects women

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Bill Adair   A Nobel Prize, a Brad Pitt film, and a Taylor Swift song

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Errin Haines   Race and gender aren’t a 2020 story — they’re the story

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

A.J. Bauer   A fork in the road for conservative media

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Nicholas Jackson   What’s left of local gets comfortable with reader support

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Richard J. Tofel   A constraint of the reader-revenue model emerges

Joshua Darr   All that campaign cash will make the media’s problems worse

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Elizabeth Hansen and Jesse Holcomb   Local news initiatives run into a capital shortage

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Cory Haik   We’re already consuming the future of news — now we have to produce it

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Kevin Douglas Grant   The free press stands against authoritarians’ attacks on truth

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, collaboration in a time of state attacks

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Raney Aronson-Rath   News deserts will proliferate — but so will new solutions

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists get left behind in the industry’s decline

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Joanne McNeil   A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Margarita Noriega   The platforms try to figure out what to do with single-subject newsrooms

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Laura E. Davis   Know the context your journalism is operating within

John Garrett   It’s the best time in a century to start a local news organization

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Linda Solomon Wood   Everyone in your organization, moving toward a common goal

Irving Washington   Leadership isn’t something you learn on the job

Carrie Brown-Smith   Engaged journalism: It’s finally happening

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Power to the people (on your audience team)

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Zizi Papacharissi   A president leads, the press follows, reality fades

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Madelyn Sanfilippo and Yafit Lev-Aretz   News coverage gets geo-fragmented

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Nico Gendron   Make better products if you want to reach Gen Z

Rachel Davis Mersey   The business of local TV news will enter its downward slide

Jeremy Gilbert and Jarrod Dicker   A call for collaboration between storytelling and tech

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Dannagal G. Young   Let’s disrupt the logic that’s driving Americans apart

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Kourtney Bitterly   Transparency isn’t just a desire, it’s an expectation

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The business we want, not the business we had

Millie Tran   Wicked

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Jim Brady   We’ll complain about other people living in bubbles while ignoring our own

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   A changing industry amps up podcasters’ ambitions

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Matt DeRienzo   Local broadcasters begin to fill the gaps left by newspapers

An Xiao Mina   The Forum we wanted, the forum we got