The Economist's brand outshines its journalism
PLUS: How local news startups are building sustainable business models
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Not enough media executives recognize that article comment sections provide a key opportunity for reader engagement. People who take the time to comment are more likely to return to your site regularly. [Nieman Lab]
The Economist is one of the few publications whose brand outshines its journalism. When was the last time The Economist published a blockbuster piece of reporting that got everyone talking? I can’t think of a single time that happened. But lots of people want to be thought of as "Economist readers," so they subscribe because of that. It's kind of amazing. [Vanity Fair]
"Local dailies and weeklies could actually turn a profit with well-staffed newsrooms if owners could be satisfied by returns in the 5 to 10 percent range rather than the 15 to 20 percent that was typical in the pre-internet era and that is demanded by private equity players. Despite the internet, local merchants still rely heavily on display ads, which are profit centers. And well-run local papers attract more display ads." [The American Prospect]
Poynter asks whether young people will even aspire to become journalists given the mass layoffs within the industry. [Poynter] I think pieces like this are a little too myopic because they're focused on a very narrow sliver of traditional journalism. Is the traditional route into media —starting at a small newspaper or publication and working your way up — becoming less prevalent? Sure, but there are also more opportunities than ever for aspiring journalists to forge their own paths because the barrier to entry is almost non-existent. Any college journalism student can start their own blog, newsletter, podcast, or YouTube channel and start building an audience, and then they can leverage that experience to break into the industry. 30 years ago that wasn't possible.
"I write online tutorials for a living, helping people troubleshoot common tech questions. Millions of people read my articles every week, almost all of them because of Google. After a month of using Google’s searchbot, I’m wondering if I should find another line of work." [The Atlantic]
Can I interview you about your content monetization?
Next week I'm hosting a live Zoom call with my audience about content monetization. I'm looking for people who have success/experience with things like:
Selling online courses
If any of these are topics you feel comfortable speaking to, let me know so I can invite you to the call. You can find my contact info over here.
The products that Maya Chupkov, the host of the Proud Stutter podcast, can’t do without
In October 2021, Maya launched Proud Stutter, an interview podcast about changing how we understand and talk about stuttering. Within a year of the show’s debut, it was nominated for an Ambie Award, and it’s turned her into a sought-after advocate in the space. To date, Maya’s been featured in over 70 media outlets, including KQED, NPR, KTVU-TV, and ABILITY Magazine. Her show was named on The Guardian’s Top 5 Podcast of the Week list and was featured on Apple Podcasts as New & Noteworthy. In addition to her paid speaking engagements, Maya also monetizes Proud Stutter through a mixture of foundation grants, donations, and a merch store.
Maya walked us through the products that are absolutely essential to her business. You can find her interview over here:
BTW, I’m still looking for creators and media entrepreneurs to feature in this series. Each interview is heavily featured in front of my 14,666 newsletter subscribers, and I share it out to my 70,472 social media subscribers. Go here if you’re interested.
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How local news startups are building sustainable business models
Over the last few years we’ve seen a veritable boom in local news startups, with media entrepreneurs launching incredibly lean news operations in regions that lost coverage from legacy newspapers.
In a recent Zoom call, I invited on some of the top local news entrepreneurs to discuss the best ways to build and monetize a local newsletter, podcast, or blog. Panelists included:
Mike Shapiro, founder of TAPinto News
Peri Strathearn, found of Murray Bridge News
Ben DeJarnette, former communications manager for LION, an association for local news publishers
Scott Brodbeck, founder of Arlington Now
Sam Hoisington, the membership director at City Cast
Charlie Meyerson, publisher of Chicago Public Square
This session was jam packed with insights that any local news publisher can incorporate into their own strategy. Watch the recording of the call in the video embedded below:
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