Category Archives: journalism

Facebook: A Local News Company

 

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Let’s not get carried away, Facebook is still the world’s second most visited internet site (after YouTube.) But no one can deny that the past two years have been bumpy for the leading social media company. Privacy scandals, post-2016 election revelations of Facebook’s failure to more forcefully counter the sharing of ”false news,” and an unpopular change to Facebook’s algorithms have all contributed to user defections and declining site visits.

Indeed even if some of the decline in traffic to Facebook is actually due to their users spending more time on other apps, Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger for example, Facebook’s much publicized announcement yesterday to invest in local journalism is as much about the priorities of Facebook’s core businesses, as it is an attempt to make amends for recent missteps.

First, what exactly are we talking about here? Facebook is granting over $300 million to a select group of journalism nonprofit partners including the Pulitzer Center, the American Journalism Project, the Local Media Association and several others. The grants are to fund the hiring of journalists to focus on local news and content as well as the development of technology for better ”storytelling and newsgathering.” Here’s a roundup of reporting on the story:

The Street

Axios

Editor & Publisher

Reuters

Second, why invest in local news and content? Because it is the backbone of social media sites, especially Facebook. Nearly half of Facebook users get news on the site and about half of those users share or comment on the news. In short, news is vital to Facebook’s audience engagement and community building.

Third, why are news audiences important? Aside from the fact that publications need subscribers and readers, news consumers tend to be better educated and have average to above-average household incomes. Advertisers value print publications and digital news platforms because they are ”trusted environments” for their brands. But social media users have said they tend to not have as much trust in the news they find on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Without trusted content, Facebook smartly knows they’ll have a harder time attracting advertisers and developing new revenue streams. Given that news consumers are most likely to trust strong local journalism, Facebook’s investments in local news production is a straightforward play for increasing trust, increasing engagement and increasing revenues.

 

Contributor: Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

The Purpose Driven ”Ugly Christmas Sweater”

 

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The ”ugly Christmas sweater” has long been a part of the holidays for many (tongue-in-cheek or not.) But one of the largest daily newspapers in northern Europe – Helsingin Sanomat – is very creatively and purposely putting a new spin on the ugly sweater tradition.

Helsingin Sanomat’s ”ugly sweaters” campaign has two main goals:

  1. To highlight journalism’s important role in bringing reality and truth to the public.
  2. To raise serious issues – like climate change, #Metoo, war, digital manipulation and plastics in our ocean – and to celebrate and recognize the work of activists and leaders in these areas.

According to AdAge, ”the sweaters were sent to celebrities and influencers who work on these issues, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leonardo DiCaprio for climate change, Nobel Peace Prize winners Martti Ahtisaari, Malala Youszafai and Nadia Murad for war, Tarana Burke and Alyssa Milano for sexual harassment.” Also, each sweater was made and sourced locally in Finland and the paper ran an article focused on each issue.

Taken together – the whole effort is a big win in terms of highlighting the importance of journalism and media in our world. It’s also a strong example of how creativity and marketing can be powerful, serve a larger purpose and serve business objectives all at once.

Happy Holidays!

Contributor: Jim Jinks

Newspapers Maintain Their Dominance

Monday Pew Research published their latest findings re: Americans and where they get their news. The headline was ”Social media outpaces print newspapers in the U.S. as a news source.”social media image Pew’s analysis is that with about 20% of Americans now indicating they often get their news from social media, ”print newspapers” dropped below social media for the first time. So why our headline here that ”Newspapers Maintain Their Dominance?”

TV outpaces every other individual media source noted in the study including: news websites, radio, social media and print newspapers. Setting aside that none of these media distinctions really mean much to news consumers and that this is all basically just inside baseball, here’s how these news sources rank:

Television – 46%

News websites – 33%

Radio – 26%

Social Media – 20%

Print Newspapers – 16%

Respondents were asked to answer the question of where do they most often get their news. Pew notes that this is the first time social media has garnered a higher percentage than print newspapers. Nothing against Pew Research but as big believers in print publications – both news and consumer brands – we take some issue with the portrayal of newspapers suffering a loss of news consumers (and therefore value) due to more Americans getting their news via ”other” sources.

Over the past three to four years it’s commonly known that news consumption is way up. Technology and the Trump era have combined to heighten American’s appetite for information and quality news sources. Indeed, the New York Times has had a big surge in subscribers (both digital and print) since Trump started calling the paper the ”failing New York Times.”

But in all seriousness (and despite the actual decline in metro daily newspaper print circulations), newspapers are still the dominant news source by far. I’m not the average news consumer and I get 100% of my news via reporters on Twitter and the Twitter feeds of newspapers. This isn’t typical for my age group (45-54.) But I then sometimes share some of these newspaper articles from Twitter on Facebook. This distribution of news across channels is typical. My local daily and weekly newspapers also share much of their reporting on Twitter and Facebook. This is then circulated by social media users on multiple platforms. So the particular media (TV, radio, news websites, social media etc.) where consumers get their news is a distinction without a real difference.

Much of local and cable TV news is driven by newspaper reporting. Cable news broadcasters and personalities regularly quote sources at newspapers. Radio news updates are generally a rehashing of the days newspaper headlines. News websites are regularly among the sites with the most views and clicks. The reality of news consumption is that the specific media matters very little and ”print newspapers” or news platforms are still the dominant source of news for most Americans.

Long live ”newspapers!”

Contributor: Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Lesser Known Tariff Problem

CanadaMany Americans are aware of Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. We’ve been reading about the effects on companies like Harley Davidson, BMW and Alcoa. Americans are also probably aware of our emerging $500 billion ”trade war” with China. Tariffs that are impacting what we pay for a whole range of products we import from China.

But we’d bet few Americans are as aware that in retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, Canada slapped tariffs on paper and other goods. In fairness to the President, there has been long-running trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada about timber and timber products. Trump didn’t exactly create this issue. Nevertheless Canada’s paper tariffs are wreaking havoc on the newspaper industry, an industry that especially in terms of metro dailies can ill afford new and massive cost pressures.

Here’s a brief roundup of some of the great reporting on where things now stand:

New York Times

Politico

Nieman Lab (Newsonomics)

LA Times

WisCONTEXT

These tariffs have already cost newspaper industry jobs and if this goes on long newspapers will be forced to go out of business. This is especially a problem given that the press is already enduring a period of heightened attacks. What can you do?

Click to SIGN THE PETITION.

 

 

Happy National Newspaper Week!

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Image Source: http://www.nationalnewspaperweek.com

Oct. 1 – 7 is officially “National Newspaper Week” and MediaBids would like to thank each and every newspaper we work with.

The theme this year is “Real Newspapers…Real News” and a website has been set up for interested newspapers to download content & house ads reinforcing the importance of newspapers to use in print editions and online.

Here’s the link for more information – there’s still time to celebrate! http://www.nationalnewspaperweek.com/

Global Print Titles with Subscriber/Readership Growth

Growth Sequence - A sequence of seedlings growing progressively taller, isolated against a white background.

Spanning a wide variety of publication types, many newspapers and magazines have seen an uptick in readership in 2017 over the prior year. Here’s just a small sampling of those who have increased digital & print subscriptions –

Harvard Business Review – 10% Growth in the past year.

The Austrialian – Growth of 4.7% in the past year.

Private Eye (UK) – Growth of 8.6% circulation over the past year

Financial Times – 20% increase over prior year

New York Times – 11% increase over prior year

To take a look at other publications who are experiencing growth in circulation and beyond, Editor and Publisher put together a nice list of innovative newspapers who have made strides in 2017.

 

NNA Survey Shows Newspapers are Still a Top Source of Local News

The National Newspaper Association recently conducted a survey to find out what consumers preferences were when it came to learning about local news in their community.

Newspapers slightly edged out television, but what was the most surprising stat was that only 1% of people surveyed cited newspaper’s websites as their preferred source. Also notable is that the majority of respondents have been readers of their local paper for 30 years or more. The full survey findings can be seen here: http://www.nnaweb.org/nna-news?articleTitle=nna-survey-newspapers-still-top-choice-for-local-news–1497279875–1575–1top-story

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Source

The “Newseum”

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http://www.newseum.org

Anyone interested in seeing front page news from around the US every morning can stop over to Newseum.org . You can literally check out content on the front pages from over 800 newspapers – ranging from small town papers to large dailies like The Washington Post.

In addition to hosting this large group of newspaper front pages online, the Newseum has a top top rated museum headquartered in Washington D.C., featuring curated exhibits, events and programs covering notable news events throughout history.  Current exhibits include a gallery of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs, an interactive news room and an exhibit about Presidents and their pets.

Now, more than ever, may be an important time to take a trip here and appreciate the role journalism in its various formats plays in our society. We’ll be making the trek.

Hey Gannett, Why Buy More Papers?

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As of this writing, it’s quite possible that Gannett has bought Tronc (a.k.a. Tribune Publishing.) As many media watchers know, Gannett has made a series of offers to Tronc this year. Based on a report from Politico Media today, the deal appears to be all but announced.

Whether you’re inside or outside the media business you may be wondering why exactly Gannett is in such a hurry to snap up Tronc, one of the country’s largest metro newspaper publishers. One thing is for sure, it’s not necessarily about publishing more print newspapers.

Newspapers and journalism have been in the midst of a great deal of industry upheaval and change for the past decade. The future of newspaper publishing isn’t about growing print circulation. Rather, the future is about digital (meaning video, really) content distribution to a valued audience of reliable news and content consumers. Metro newspaper publishers are aiming to deepen their relationships, and drive revenue, by providing their loyal news consumers with more content overall and more mobile-friendly content, to be precise.

Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and several other large metro papers. In other words Tronc has audiences in several top ten media markets. According to ComScore, Tronc’s online audience exceeds that of the Washington Post and nearly matches Disney. As you might expect, these are among the largest audiences on the web.

Gannett is already the largest newspaper publisher in the county. The purchase of Tronc, with it’s large online audiences, content distribution network and investments in video production,  position Gannett to be a major player in the future of content, information and entertainment. A future that is, more or less, already here.

Post by Jim Jinks

Print Ad Success, Happens To Be Just Like Fishing (no kidding!)

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I just returned from my annual trip to Alaska, where I did a lot of fishing with my kids. Stay with me for a minute, there is a point to this that relates to marketing in newspapers. I believe, that what I have learned about fishing applies to marketing in newspapers.

Not surprisingly, my kids all like catching fish more than they like waiting for fish to bite. The problem is that a big part of fishing is waiting (I always tell them, “that’s why they call it fishing, not catching”) and having faith that the fish will respond sometime soon. If my kids believe that we have gone to a bad spot or that there is no hope in trying, their attention to detail diminishes. Instead of checking the bait every few minutes, they check every hour. They don’t hold the rods, they put them in the boat’s rod holders. They are less likely to try different techniques or pay attention to where their bait is positioned. In short, fishing is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are unlikely to be successful, unless you pay attention, which is easier to do when you believe that success is possible.

In an effort to counterbalance the inevitable impatience of children fishing, for the past several years I have manufactured a new “secret spot” that some unnamed but very wise old friend has told me about. I tell my kids that this friend caught monsters at this spot and their enthusiasm rises to a fever pitch. They believe that this spot will produce fishing glory, so they fish harder, are more attentive to detail and are more patient than they would be otherwise. So it is no big surprise that my fictitious “secret spot” always outperforms other areas that we fish.

Fishing is a hard thing to scientifically quantify and there is no doubt that a certain amount of luck factors into a good day of fishing. However, I firmly believe that there are many factors that a fisherperson can control and the expectation of success creates an environment where success is more likely.

Now, stay on the line, I am about to set the hook – marketing in newspapers is very similar to fishing.

As you probably know, we do a lot of response-based print marketing here at Mediabids. In response-based marketing there are two parties who are involved in a transaction. First, there is the advertiser who is trying to generate response for their goods or services. Second, there is the publication, who wants revenue from the results they generate for that advertiser.

Too often, I believe, all parties (and I include Mediabids in this group) don’t expect success for a specific ad in a specific publication. They want success, but they don’t expect it. All parties involved act like my kids when they are fishing in a spot they believe is unlikely to yield results. But attention to detail generates better results in fishing and in newspaper marketing. Maybe the ad would perform better with a different offer or at a different price point? Maybe the ad would generate more response if it ran in a different section of the publication or at a different size or on a different day of the week? Often it is the little things that determine the difference between an ad performing well or below expectations. However, if success is not expected, it is easy to ignore those little things, which only increases the odds of failure. It is too easy to say, “This ad isn’t going to work.” and not try anything. It is like my kids saying, “There are no fish here.”

We should all expect success from print advertising. We have all seen enough success stories to know that print can generate large numbers of highly qualified results. It should happen with every ad we place, but it doesn’t. It is the job of Mediabids, the advertiser and the publication to expect and demand that ads perform well.

Post by Jedd Gould.