OFF THE TOP
You might have heard: How can publishers sell more online subscriptions? Lower the price, survey says (Press Gazette)
But did you know: Price-conscious consumers look for value amid cost-of-living crisis (Reuters Institute)
The global cost-of-living crisis is impacting readers’ willingness to pay for news, according to a new study by the Reuters Institute. While low-price introductory offers attract new subscribers, many don’t renew at the full price. About half of people who unsubscribed from a news source said nothing could persuade them to pay for online news, but other respondents said lower prices, more relevant content or ad-free platforms could convince them to resubscribe.
+ Noted: Aiming for 500,000 subscribers by 2026, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a big swing on growth (Nieman Lab); News execs lobby lawmakers on AI protections (Axios) [newsletter align=right]
The American Press Institute Board of Trustees adds five media leaders, appoints Barbara Wall of Gannett as new chair
Barbara Wall, a board member of Gannett Co. and The Freedom Forum, will serve as the next Chair of the American Press Institute’s Board of Trustees. In addition to Wall, who also serves on the board of the News/Media Alliance, the board welcomed four new members, including Steve Grove, CEO and publisher of Star Tribune; S. Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of URL Media and co-founder and publisher of Epicenter-NYC; Geraldine Moriba, senior vice president and chief content officer of TheGrio; and Ross McDuffie, chief portfolio officer at the National Trust for Local News. Wall succeeds longtime chair Kevin Mowbray, President and Chief Executive Officer at Lee Enterprises.
5 ways to support source tracking in your newsroom
It’s been a year of learning for the newsrooms participating in the 2023 Source Matters Cohort as they track the diversity of people quoted in their stories. Recently, two journalists shared how they made use of the data to change and improve sourcing habits. Ruth Serven Smith, an education editor for AL.com, created a Bingo card to track source diversity, which helped break down the task and make it more fun. She also emphasized the importance of spreading the responsibility for source diversity initiatives across teams to achieve better journalism in the long run. Journalist Kristen Barton, who developed an in-house source diversity database while she was at the Fort Worth Report, created a guide for reporters to use and gave tips on overcoming resistance to source tracking.
Register for a Table Stakes impact tracking session
For Table Stakes alumni: Join an interactive session on how to measure and share the impact of your journalism from 12 to 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 12. Anjanette Delgado, executive editor at the Detroit Free Press, will lead the training. Register at https://bit.ly/TS-Oct2023.
What will you learn? Whether or not your news organization is already tracking impact, this training will help:
- Define what impact looks like for your news organizations
- Gauge real-world change connected to your journalism
- Enhance the impact of your storytelling and coverage
German startup builds 40,000 subscribers and 1 boat in 5 years (INMA)
German news media startup The Pioneer started out in 2018 as a free daily newsletter and podcast, and now boasts 40,000 subscribers — and a boat. When the company grew, it tried offering eight different subscription options, which was a failure. The Pioneer now offers one subscription option — €25 per month for access to all its products. It still offers free revamped versions of its original newsletter and podcast to a large audience, where it promotes its other offerings. The organization also launched The Pioneer One boat in 2020, and it’s been a big hit. All interviews and podcasts are recorded and produced on the boat, and it also serves as a live journalism event space.
TRY THIS AT HOME
The story behind Mother Jones’ first-ever reader listening sessions (Mother Jones)
Last fall, nonprofit news organization Mother Jones launched a series of focus groups to better serve Black readers. Specifically, leadership wanted to learn about Black readers’ news needs and the challenges they faced trying to get that information, writes COO Jahna Berry. Mother Jones put out a call for current and prospective readers to participate in in-depth conversations; 57 readers answered and 16 ultimately participated in Zoom focus sessions. Berry says the insights will be used in future projects, including increased cross-platform promotion and messaging about how Mother Jones’ journalism fits into Black readers’ lives, and additional listening sessions are being planned to continue expanding audiences.
Journalist who won courage award for her Ukraine war reporting goes missing (The Daily Beast)
The family of 26-year-old journalist Victoria Roshchyna has not heard from her since she returned to Russian-occupied territory in early August and fear she is being held by Russian forces. Roshchyna won the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Award last year for her reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and has been captured by the Russian military twice before but got away. Her family is working with the Ukrainian government and legal organizations, which believe she has been detained but not registered, an increasingly common practice by Russian authorities.
Publishers reckon with declining Facebook referral traffic as the platform pulls away from news (Digiday)
An unintentional bug in a new page experience Meta launched in May continues to cause a steep decline in referral traffic to news sites, with no fix in sight. Four publishing executives claim that Meta told them the algorithm would be fixed, but it remains unclear if or when traffic from Facebook will resume. Other factors are affecting Facebook referral traffic, including the deprioritization of news partnerships — but Facebook is still the platform driving the most traffic to major news sites.
America’s new print-only newspaper reinvents the art of reading slowly (The Guardian)
County Highway is a new print-only newspaper modeled after 19th century newspapers, both in look and in coverage — and it’s flying off the shelves of the book and record stores where it’s sold across the U.S. and Canada. A new issue of County Highway is published every two months and costs $8.50, and the paper hit its three-year sales and subscription targets within weeks of its first issue. Content includes in-depth reporting and serialized stories, which will be turned into books by the publisher.