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Apple wants you (and it) to get paid for your premium podcasts
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Articles by Joshua Benton

Joshua Benton founded Nieman Lab in 2008 and served as its director until 2020; he is now the Lab’s senior writer. Before spending a year at Harvard as a 2008 Nieman Fellow, he spent a decade in newspapers, mostly 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 a dozen 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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Instead of taking 30% of new subscribers’ payments, it’ll take 15%. The money’s welcome, but it’s also a reminder of how little control publishers have over the terms they get from tech giants.
Including how research into sports fandom explains Trump supporters’ claims of voter fraud: “One’s degree of team identification is a major predictor for attributing a loss to external forces such as referees and opponents’ cheating, resulting in denial of the outcome.”
The Swedish music giant is apparently testing out podcast-only subscription offers. But the market for paid premium podcasts is pointedly unproven.
Newspapers have all had to make cuts. But it doesn’t look like they’ve favored the beats that are most important to democracy — watchdog coverage of local governments — over other kinds of news.
The Citizen Browser Project will pay 1,200 Americans to let The Markup monitor the choices that tech company algorithms are making for them. “What are they choosing to amplify? And what are they choosing not to amplify?”
Faster speeds will enable new levels of video, AR, VR, and other _Rs that haven’t even been invented yet. But news products are unlikely to benefit as much as all the other apps competing for audiences’ attention.
When Dan Baum started spooling out the story of his ouster on Twitter in 2009, the media world was entranced — and a new kind of digital serial storytelling seemed possible.
There’s good evidence that some people find predictive models like FiveThirtyEight’s confusing, and an argument that they might keep people from voting. But 2016’s scars shouldn’t mean that voters have to be kept in the dark.
The money, spread over three years and the entire globe, is welcome — but this is PR, not a product.