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Articles by Joshua Benton

Joshua Benton is director of the Nieman Journalism Lab. Before spending a year at Harvard as a 2008 Nieman Fellow, he spent a decade in newspapers, most recently at The Dallas Morning News. His reports on cheating on standardized tests in the Texas public schools led to the permanent shutdown of a school district and won the Philip Meyer Journalism Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has reported from 10 foreign countries, been a Pew Fellow in International Journalism, and three times been a finalist for the Livingston Award for International Reporting. Before Dallas, he was a reporter and occasional rock critic for The Toledo Blade. He wrote his first HTML in January 1994.
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With teenagers stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus, the Times is offering access to its journalism — with the hope of converting some into regular readers and, eventually, subscribers
A talented staff, good ideas, and some forward-thinking technology couldn’t overcome a muddled editorial vision — and the realities of how news sites make money in 2020.
“When you aren’t sure the data really says what you think, or you feel anxious about making a math mistake, walking through your process with someone else can help.”
With revenues crashing, alt-weeklies and other outlets have been forced to get creative.
O’Reilly Media, long known for its successful conferences, has decided that it’s getting out of the business — no matter how quickly civilization gets past COVID-19. Will events revenue bounce back quickly in a few months or be lost under a mountain of Zoom calls?
“The economic problem for journalism was not competition, in other words, but surveillance and monopoly.”
COVID-19 is “a nearly perfect weapon against alternative weeklies.” In dozens of cities, papers are asking for donations, laying off staff, or abandoning print as social distancing dries up their revenue streams.
But Patrick Soon-Shiong’s outside business dealings show the importance of disclosure — especially in an era when more important news organizations are owned by billionaires with business interests in the topics journalists cover.