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What it takes to run a metro newspaper in the digital era, according to four top editors
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What We’re Reading
We keep an eye out for the most interesting stories about Labby subjects: digital media, startups, the web, journalism, strategy, and more. Here’s some of what we’ve seen lately.
April 22, 2024
“Local news outlets that fill coverage gaps with original reporting – and have a budget under $1 million – will be eligible to apply for Press Forward funding. The Press Forward Open Call on Closing Local Coverage Gaps will provide 100-plus news outlets with an expected $100,000 each in funding, whether they are non-profit or for-profit entities. The funding will be unrestricted, general operating support, allowing the news organizations to spend it as needed to sustain and grow their operations.”
Press Forward / Apr 22
“Sure, marketers have heard this song before, especially since the social network fell into the eccentric billionaire Elon Musk’s lap about 18 months ago. And yes, the chances of advertisers changing their minds over advertising there are slim to none.”
Digiday / Krystal Scanlon / Apr 22
“The censorship of the entire rsf.org domain site began on 18 April. The Russian authorities took this decision on 15 April without notifying RSF, which has never had a branch in Russia…RSF’s site has joined the more than 1.7 million URLs blocked in Russia, which include the sites of dozens of media outlets.”
Reporters Without Borders / Apr 22
Plus 58 percent of interactions on Instagram. “Meta spokesperson Dani Lever argued that the changes are a response to user feedback. ‘These changes are intended to impact what people see because that is what they told us they wanted — to see less political content and have more controls,’ she said. ‘This approach builds on years of work and is being applied to everyone.'”
The Washington Post / Naomi Nix, Michael Scherer, and Jeremy B. Merrill / Apr 22
April 21, 2024
“The portrait that emerges is of a media organization in the throes of a dramatic reorganization that has tanked employee morale and baffled some faculty members and alumni of American University, which operates WAMU…As one staffer puts it, WAMU has ‘a garbage mess’ on its hands.”
Washingtonian / Andrew Beaujon / Apr 21
“The bipartisan plan offers a statewide total of $30 million in credits each year for three years (a $90 million total commitment) that can be used to cover half of a journalist’s salary, up to $50,000 per year. Publishers are only allowed to use the credits, which are part of the state’s 2025 budget, if they both hire new reporters and keep their current staff.”
The Wrap / Stephanie Kaloi / Apr 21
“The publisher says its current revenue run rate is $5m per year, which it hopes to increase to $12m per year in 2025. [COO Ryan] Alberti said: ‘95% of our revenue so far has been from pure programmatic ads, I mean we didn’t even have a sales team until this month. But that is not our long-term model, our newsletter subscribers are.'”
Press Gazette / Clara Aberneithie / Apr 21
“More than 29 million — about a quarter of domestic paying streaming subscribers — have canceled three or more services over the last two years, according to Antenna, a subscription research firm. And the numbers are rising fast…a third of them resubscribe to the canceled service within six months, according to Antenna’s research.”
The New York Times / John Koblin / Apr 21
“The kidnappers, identified as Shia Hezbollah militants of the Islamic Jihad Organization in Lebanon, beat him, blindfolded him and kept him chained in some 20 hideaways for 2,454 days in Beirut, South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.”
The New York Times / Sam Roberts / Apr 21
“It took only days from Uri Berliner’s publishing his fiery essay about his employer, NPR, to his suspension, to his resignation in a blaze of bad-faith glory. ‘You knew the martyrdom was coming,’ was how journalist Issac Bailey put it. And that’s a shame, because every news organization — National Public Radio included — could benefit from more self-scrutiny, more openness to criticism, more willingness to change.”
The Guardian / Margaret Sullivan / Apr 21