Try This at Home

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers useful insights and ideas you can try yourself.

How Chicago’s The Daily Line used reader feedback to develop a niche subscription product

Chicago’s The Daily Line, known until last week as Aldertrack, is a niche newsletter and website aimed at a small segment of the Chicago population: land developers, contractors, lobbyists, attorneys, and labor organization members invested in Chicago’s political system. That small segment is supporting The Daily Line’s mission, with $39/month or $395/year subscriptions. And to […]

How NYT is bringing design thinking into its audience research

In her first column as NYT public editor, Liz Spayd argues that in order for the Times to increase its revenue, it needs to learn more about its readers and listen to what they want. To achieve that, NYT is incorporating design thinking into its audience research, both inside and outside of the newsroom: Led […]

‘If you’re not thinking about where people will read it, it’s not going to be that successful’

CNN’s incoming VP of digital programming Mitra Kalita has simple advice for how news organizations should think about distributed content: Find your readers where they are, because “if you’re not thinking about where people will read it, it’s not going to be that successful.” Kalita talks to Digiday’s Lucia Moses about how she’s implementing that […]

The Guardian’s lessons from experimenting with web notifications: Start simple with interactive notifications, and know when to run auto-updating alerts

The Guardian’s Mobile Innovation Lab is testing five different kinds of web notifications through Google Chrome, and sharing what it’s learned from testing each. The Guardian has found that interactive alerts, which allows the reader to direct themselves through a narrative, aren’t ideal for breaking news, but starting simple is best because interactive alerts require […]

How publishers such as BuzzFeed extract new value from old editorial content

“Modern publishing is as much an exercise in dusting off and repurposing old content as it is creating fresh posts,” Lucia Moses writes. One way BuzzFeed repurposes old content is to iterate upon older posts: It will publish a story with a certain framing, and if that story is successful, try that framing again across […]

How to execute metrics that matter: Make it all about the end goal

Creating a successful metrics strategy comes down to one thing, Alexa Roman writes: Predicting how much money you’re going to make. Or if money isn’t the goal, replace “money” with your own currency of what matters most. Roman outlines five steps for executing a metrics strategy focused on money (or some other form of value) […]

The Washington Post’s Jarrod Dicker on why creating internal tools is more valuable than outsourcing

Talking about the value of The Washington Post’s Arc CMS and its value for publishers, head of ad product and technology Jarrod Dicker explains why the Post values creating internal tools over outsourcing their creation: “We can be a bridge. What differentiates us is we sympathize and understand that chain of technologies publishers are using […]

How to investigate for-profit prisoner transport in your state

Over eight months, The Marshall Project, in collaboration with The New York Times, surveyed the departments of correction in all 50 states and found that 26 of them use private companies to transport parolees, fugitives and other prisoners. The investigation found a pattern of death and injury in an industry that operates with almost no […]

8 questions that will sharpen a story idea

For an editor, coaching means engaging the writer in an ongoing conversation about a story, from the conception of an idea to the final edit. The more time and thought you invest in this conversation, the less work you will likely face in “fixing” the story when it comes in. One key moment in coaching: […]

The Washington Post is using Slack to create a reader community focused on the gender pay gap

In April, The Post launched Pay Up, a Slack-based community aimed at women in the tech sector. The group has quickly become home to discussions about the male-female wage gap, salary negotiation tactics, and news about job openings. The group’s creators say the Pay Up model could be extended to other communities, and if they […]