from the past to the future
Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour for nearly 10 years, retired at the end of 2022. Many are sad to see her go. Her on-air personality was warm and earnest, and she presented her liberal perspective softly. But throughout her tenure, NewsHour viewership remained stuck at around a million households, this during an historic epoch of high news consumption. Nor did the program’s digital audience grow much at all. The NewsHour as currently positioned could be generated by Artificial Intelligence – and nobody would notice. You don’t believe me? Read this! Plus, the usual update on the most interesting developments in media since we were last together
Living in LaLa Land
The herd is almost always wrong. It seeks safety in numbers because it is lazy, and terrified of an original idea. Independence could get you killed. That’s why conventional thinking can cripple an established business. This examination of the editorial process inside news companies is a call for change based on new product and market thinking. Plus, the latest update on new developments across the world of media
The Age of the Skim
Back in the days of monopoly distribution, selling the news was a fantastic business. Local media outlets, with captive customers and competitive insulation, enjoyed profit margins as high as 25% or even higher. The internet dismantled their monopoly advantage. Now, offering general news like that is a shitty business. In a world where diversion is just a click or a swipe away, user engagement with general news products is irregular, with short, shallow usage sessions and erratic visit frequency. Smartphones have given birth to the Age of the Skim, which has made the engagement problem even worse. How to build audience by transforming skimmers into engaged customers with a predictable consumption habit is the singular challenge faced by media outlets today. The second challenge? Learning how to sell them, of course.
Plus, the fall 2021 update of the most interesting current developments in media…
Where’s the beef?
Five insights guaranteed to shortcut the path to profitability of any news start-up – they’re the basis of the playbook both Axios Local and 6AM City are using to fuel the rapid growth of their local offerings. Plus, the usual summary of the latest developments in digital media, from another epic Murdoch fail to Nextdoor’s public offering to the surprising resurgence of Yelp to a heartfelt memoriam for one of the last great newspaper editors…
As local newspapers continue their fall to extinction, digital news start-ups are emerging to fill the market gap. But do they understand how the market for news has changed? And do they understand the process of building a start-up business in the digital age?
Breaking the stranglehold on the news
Newspapers are dying and digital news companies are struggling because their newsrooms either refuse to listen to the markets they serve — or don’t know how to. In the age of data, they’re flying blind. It’s time for a new generation of news product specialists…
The luckiest guy on the planet
the story behind the bankruptcy of one of America’s largest newspaper companies — and why other newspaper companies are zombies, too
Putting Humpty Dumpty together again
How to unpack the newspaper content bundle and reconstitute it as a local network of vertical news products. If newspapers don’t do this, someone else will
Bucking the herd, again
In 2018, digital publishers struggled again to make their advertising sales number. The problem is not the market share of Google and Facebook. The problem is the product, and the way it is sold. Here’s what to do about that…
Between a rock and a hard place
Traditional news monopolies had no incentive to invest in the art and science of creating user demand. So when the Internet arrived, users grabbed the chance to go to more interesting places. Can they be persuaded to come back?
Why is local news so boring?
There is an art to telling a story. Even a local news story can be rendered in an attractive way. So why isn’t it?
the lessons in product positioning and advertising sales from the sudden shakeout in digital media
Local news, emerging from the ashes
– local news in a post-newspaper world
Why is marketing so important?
– because without an audience, you’re talking to yourself
You Gotta Pick Your Shots
Why digital advertising has failed to deliver on its original promise
“The Only Newspaper In The World That Gives A Damn About Yerington” or, The End of Local Media
Differentiating your product is the ultimate marketing challenge in the digital world – and local doesn’t cut it
Can anyone be trusted?
Why you watch the news you watch and visit the news sites you visit