20 min

Slow News Movement and Charging for Content

Slow News Movement

In July 2016, I thought of an idea called the Slow News Movement, patterned after the Slow Food Movement.

For consuming news, the Slow News Movement would mean focusing less on so-called breaking news and preferring stories that would be longer features or analysis reports, and these print or digital stories would be published at regularly scheduled times.

The Slow News Movement would apply to media orgs and consumers. No rush to publish crap and no rush to read every scrap of crap.

I think that an information overload point will be reached for many consumers who will then embrace the Slow News Movement by forgoing all of the alleged "breaking" news stories and all of the must-know-it-all-now consumption methods.

These future reformed information consumers will resort to a morning or evening "paper" for news and that's it. After reading the print or digital newspaper at scheduled times as part of the daily routine, the Slow News Movement crowd would then have 22 to 23 hours left in the day for living.

Pay for content

A few media orgs are sustaining themselves with their text-heavy operations by charging a fee (subscriptions) for their products, like many businesses do.

Quality writing, paywall, Slow News Movement (scheduled digital publishing times), print editions, clean and simple web and app design for comfortable screen reading, these might be the keys for a media org to survive today.

The Information

Escaping the digital media crap trap

The New European

October 2016

medium.com/global-editors-network: ‘Pop-up’ newspaper The New European: Can print be more agile than digital?

July 2016

Archant launches pop-up paper to serve people who voted remain

http://mediagazer.com/160703/p5#a160703p5

UK publisher Archant announces The New European, a pop-up paper for British “dismayed by Brexit”, for an initial run of 4 issues

New ‘pop-up’ national newspaper The New European is set to go on sale on July 8

UK's first ever 'pop up newspaper' to be launched in response to Brexit

Anti-Brexit paper the New European outsells the New Day and makes profit - ‘Pop-up’ title estimated to have sold more than 40,000 copies, and may see an extension to its four-issue run

Pop-up newspapers are a thing, and this anti-Brexit paper is killing it

Excerpts

A regional publisher is to launch a “pop-up” newspaper this week aimed at people dismayed by the Brexit vote in the EU referendum.

The Norfolk-based Archant is planning to publish four issues of a weekly title called The New European to cater for the 48% who voted to remain in the European Union.

Reader interest will decide whether it lasts beyond a month. Priced at £2, the first issue will be available in shops across Britain on Friday (8 July), but distribution will be focused on areas that voted strongly for remain, such as London and the south-east, Liverpool and Manchester.

The company said in a press release: “The paper will offer those feeling dismayed and disenfranchised by Brexit a non-political focal point, bringing together the extraordinarily broad spectrum of people who feel a real sense of loss after the leave vote victory.”

  • [me]: how can it be non-political when the whole thing was politically-related, including a vote?

The New European will provide in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as a celebration of European life and culture with contributions from some of the most respected journalists and opinion formers from the UK and Europe.

We will celebrate both the highbrow and the fun with exciting features and news on cultural, fashion and artistic events across the UK and the continent and inspiring articles on how to get out there and enjoy them.

The New European - a cosmopolitan, optimistic, intelligent and expansive collection of news, analysis, voices, sport, culture, business, travel and the arts - celebrates the best of Europe.

“It will upset Michael Gove to hear that we value very highly expertise and have some of the world’s best brains in their areas writing for us. And it is also a politician-free zone. They are banned.”

  • [me] : interesting experiment. but a politician-free zone is not the same as a politics-free zone.

The publication will be called The New European and only four issues are planned - any subsequent editions will depend on sales.

Set to be printed in Berliner format, the publication was conceived less than a week ago and its senior editors believe it will be the fastest ever newspaper to be created. If all goes smoothly, it will be on the shelves on July 8 at a cost of £2.

Political voices are not expected in the publication, as the paper will also aim to discuss how “the political environment is no longer fit for purpose.”

Do you want to write for The New European? We’re looking for short pieces of writing and/or photos on the theme of 'My European Year'.

These could sum up your memories of the year you went Interrailing, to the Euros, on a family holiday or school/work trip 'on the continent', to a European Cup/CL game or just the year you saw the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time.

They would hopefully say something about how you fell in love, or even out of love, with Europe or a European.

We need short pieces on the topic My European Year. These could sum up your memories of the year you went Interrailing, to the Euros, or on a family/school/work trip 'on the continent'. Pieces should be 250-600 words long and include photos if possible.

The summer of 2016 will be remembered as a zeitgeist moment in British political and social history. Every Friday for four weeks a brand new weekly newspaper will play its part in this time of critical discussions. That paper is The New European.

The New European will provide in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as a celebration of European life and culture with contributions from some of the most respected journalists and opinion formers from the UK and Europe.

We will celebrate both the highbrow and the fun with exciting features and news on cultural, fashion and artistic events across the UK and the continent and inspiring articles on how to get out there and enjoy them.

The New European - a cosmopolitan, optimistic, intelligent and expansive collection of news, analysis, voices, sport, culture, business, travel and the arts - celebrates the best of Europe.

UK pop-up newspaper the New European, aimed at an anti-Brexit audience, sold an estimated 40K copies of first edition and made a profit.

The New European, a pro-European weekly newspaper that went from conceptualisation to the printing press in just nine days ...

  • [me]: easy. it didn't start totally from nothing.

The New European is owned by the newspaper and magazine publishing company Archant

  • [me]: that helps. being owned or started by an already-existing newspaper. pop-up print newspapers are a good idea for existing media orgs. they may not be good ideas for a startup media org.

The New European, a pro-European weekly newspaper that went from conceptualisation to the printing press in just nine days, has released its third edition Friday following a profit-turning launch that boasts an estimated 40,000 copies sold.

Born out of the frustration, indignation, and unadulterated anguish felt by many following the European Union referendum results, “the new pop-up paper for the 48%” endeavours to publish content that resonates with Remainers.

  • [me]: plotters and remainers. plotters attempted the failed coup in turkey a week ago [July 2016]. the remainers voted to stay in the eu.

(print over digital) Kelly and the team responsible for bringing The New European to life felt that the unique circumstances of the Brexit zeitgeist called for a more impactful response than an online platform could offer, as well as something that could be launched quickly.

"It may be that The New European develops into something beyond print and leaves print behind. But I don’t think we could have established the brand of The New European as quickly and as strongly as we have done on any other format than print," Kelly told Mashable.

  • [me]: if it extends beyond the originally planned four weekly print issues, and if it ads a digital presence by sharing content on 2,000 social media sites, hopefully, it keeps the print version.

Kelly also points out that the print format allowed the paper to attract high-caliber writers.

So what does the future of a pop-up newspaper look like? "We'll close the paper down as soon as people lose interest in it. We don't have any three-year plan or long-term vision for it. We will keep it going as long as we think it's worth doing and as long as there's enough interest," said Kelly.

said Jeff Henry, the chief executive of Archant, the Norwich-based regional publisher that launched the title. “Some have said print is dead. No it’s most certainly not. It has made money from the get-go. It is a profitable endeavour.”

“It is definitely a product of the moment,” he says. “When that moment passes then so too will the paper. That's the heart of this idea of pop-up publishing.

Issue 3 out now! Click here to find the nearest shop selling our paper - Download for Android - Download for iOS - Click here to order a print copy for delivery

  • [me]: The New European provided a free phone app that is simply a browser or reader. It costs money to download each digital issue into its app. Interesting idea. Good idea.

The Times

Interesting design and function plans by the UK's The Times.

The Times UK may be the best example of a newspaper/digital media org that is making a profit.

These articles are enlightening. But can the same principles work at a smaller daily paper?

I would say that The Times UK's strategies are more applicable to smaller dailies than the ideas used by the NY Times and WaPo.

Although, I still think that their website could be designed simpler and faster.

July 2016 info

thedrum.com: The Times editor John Witherow on how its paywall is paying off - and why he thinks the Guardian will now follow its lead

In his 11th floor office at News UK, Witherow, who became editor of the Times in 2013, immediately references the Rusbridger 60,000 prediction and notes that the Times and Sunday Times now has more than 182,000 digital-only subscribers “and we charge quite a lot of money”.

He sees the Guardian’s £49-a-year membership scheme (heralded by Guardian Media Group as a beacon of hope, with 50,000 readers registered) as merely a stepping stone to a subscription model. “Appealing for donations of £49 is not the answer, because it's not enough. You need a million people donating £49 to pay for the journalism at the Guardian which is very good but it's expensive,” he says. “They have to really rethink their model.”

Witherow notes that his readers are paying around £350-a-year for their subs. “If [The Guardian] want to ask people to donate that's fine but they are going to have to donate more and it just seems to me that it's a gradual process that they are heading towards a paywall, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's always been my view that digital would end up like newspapers, a combination of advertising and paid-for content.”

Charging for content has created a “harmonious circle” at the Times titles, by generating funds to “invest in journalism”, he claims. “We are trying to hire the best possible journalists we can because people will only pay those sort of amounts for top quality journalism.”

Good thoughts, but this also helps:

Certainly there is a confidence to the Times that is hard to find elsewhere on old Fleet Street. Its print circulation – aided by its comparatively cheap £1.40 cover price – has risen for nine consecutive months year-on-year and stands at 449,151.

An increase in print subscribers is fascinating. Has the digital paywall led to an increase in print subscribers?

Are TheTimes.co.uk readers interested in the Slow News Movement, which features a diminished emphasis on breaking news and a greater emphasis on detailed analysis, published at scheduled times?

Witherow says that being part of a profitable organisation is a major part of improved morale.

... he believes that although “one or two” news outlets will remain suited to a free model, charging for content “ultimately makes sense for all newspapers” because “news is a valuable commodity and people will respect it more if they have to pay for it”.

It was once argued that only news outlets with a business audience could persuade readers (or the employers of their readers) to pay for online content. But Witherow says that the fevered contemporary news climate contributes to a willingness to pay for high-quality reporting and analysis of general news. “What is happening (in world news) is both terrible and good for journalism in the sense that there's a huge thirst out there for explanation.”

The Times’ editorial strategy, heavily informed by the stated wishes of its readers in surveys, is to abandon attempts to compete in the crowded market for breaking news and fall back on more considered reporting, analysis and opinion pieces. “People feel buried in rolling news, there’s lots of free stuff out there,” says Newman. “Actually what they want is for someone to help them to get to what matters, to cut through everything else that’s going on.”

The Times’ editorial strategy, heavily informed by the stated wishes of its readers in surveys, is to abandon attempts to compete in the crowded market for breaking news and fall back on more considered reporting, analysis and opinion pieces. “People feel buried in rolling news, there’s lots of free stuff out there,” says Newman. “Actually what they want is for someone to help them to get to what matters, to cut through everything else that’s going on.”

Particularly popular is the 5pm update, aimed especially at smartphone users on the homeward commute. It’s an alternative to the London Evening Standard and other regional titles.

Regarding comment sections on the site:

While many open news websites struggle to moderate abuse in their comments sections, the Times has relatively few such problems. “Readers can use screen names but they know that they have given their details to us – that’s a real incentive to act in a reasonable way,” says Hunter. This helps in building relationships between the paper’s staff and the readers, which can be further developed at live events aimed at members of the Times+ subscription loyalty scheme.

It makes sense that comment sections are more civil, intelligent, and useful, since a paywall represents a large barrier to entry.

About Brexit coverage:

While its stablemates, the Sun and Sunday Times, backed the Leave campaign, the Times chose to support Remain – but only after a long period of covering both sides of the argument to a degree that left commentators guessing on the paper’s allegiance.

The determination not to pursue an agenda – unlike some other papers – fits with the business strategy. Witherow, editor of the Sunday Times for 19 years and of the Times for three, might not have backed the winning horse but he takes a long-term view. “The paper benefited from that approach because other papers quite early on took a particular line and pursued it editorially and I think our readers just wanted to hear the arguments,” he says. “This story is going to dominate our lives for years. Journalistically that's exciting, the challenge is to explain it to people as best we can and to make it interesting, because some of it is going to get very nitty gritty.”

A bad prediction by someone at The Guardian years ago:

Six years ago, in a debate on BBC Radio 4, Alan Rusbridger, then editor-in-chief of the Guardian, faced off the then Sunday Times editor John Witherow and described the new digital paywall model established by the Times and the Sunday Times as a “vault of darkness” which might generate as few as 60,000 subscribers.

“We shouldn’t kid ourselves that this is going to be the panacea,” sniffed Rusbridger, comparing the statistic to the 32 million browsers then accessing his paper’s site every month. Today, the Guardian site has grown to 155 million monthly browsers and more than 10 million a day. But its publisher, Guardian Media Group, yesterday declared the paper’s annual losses at £68.7m, compared to £14.7m the previous year. In total, the company lost an eye-watering £173m.

By contrast, the Times and Sunday Times last week reported record subscriber numbers – 413,600 across print and digital. This is the basis for a business that declared a pre-tax profit of £10.9m in its last financial results, having made annual losses of more than £70m prior to the installation of its paywall.

March 2016 info

March 30, 2016 - niemanlab.org: The U.K.’s Times and Sunday Times are structuring their new apps and website around peak traffic times

Other commentary: http://mediagazer.com/160330/p13#a160330p13

Excerpts:

The Times of London and Sunday Times on Wednesday launched new phone and tablet apps, and a new website, all focused on publishing online in editions that will be updated four times a day.

There will be a fresh issue early in the morning, followed by updates at 9 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. — all times when the Times’ traffic tends to peak as readers wake up, arrive at work, eat lunch, and commute home.

The bulk of the content will be published in the first early-morning edition, but stories will be added and updated as needed throughout the day.

“Hitting these times gives us a great opportunity to report more in-depth, to get things right, to provide analysis on the breaking news that happens throughout the day, but also to serve readers at the times they want it,” Hunter said. “They want a package of news so they feel up-to-date. We recognize that people might check their smartphones a hundred times per day, but they’re not checking for news a hundred times per day.”

The Times and Sunday Times are both published behind a hard paywall, and it’s difficult to read their content without paying for it.

The Times spent a year and a half developing its new products. Working with a consultant, it conducted 12 weeks of interviews and discussions with staffers, current readers, and potential future readers before it even began coding any of the products.

On average, readers spend about 45 minutes with the Times’ tablet app on weekdays, and spend more than 65 minutes with it on Sundays. The Times’ website averages 1.2 visits per reader per day.

“It’s finite. It’s finishable. It’s a clear package that contains a breadth of content, but also depth where appropriate. It’s easy to navigate, clearly delineated,” Petrie said.

Other news organizations, such as Quartz and The Economist, have created finite products, because readers often say they’re overwhelmed by the unending stream of content found online.

“We’re a paid-for proposition in a market where practically everyone else is free,” Hunter said. “We think breaking news is commoditized. It’s very difficult to make people pay for breaking news, and we’re emphatic in our belief that quality journalism should be paid for.”

The Times’ research also helped it decide to emphasize its slower, edition-based approach. It will be ditching features like live blogs, which analytics and interviews suggested readers weren’t fans of.

The Times also commissioned a new font — Times Digital — for the apps and site, which is meant to be read on screens. (Fun fact: The Times actually commissioned the creation of Times New Roman in 1931, when it was looking for a font that was easier to read on newsprint.)

Web design thought from the NL article:

  • Reader feedback led the Times to design its website as one long scrolling page instead of a homepage with separate section pages. “Readers told us they wanted to find things very simply and easily, and that was the most important thing,” Hunter said.

Simple and easy, which translates into user-friendly. Good design can do that.

digida.com: The Times of London is swearing off breaking news

“Readers don’t come to us for breaking news; they can go to the BBC and Twitter for that, which are free,” said Alan Hunter, The Times head of digital. “They come to us for the authority of our reporting, opinion and analysis. Breaking news has become a commodity, and it’s hard to charge people for it. We believe in the power of digital editions.”

While The Times has run live blogs and other forms of breaking news, they haven’t had good uptake, according to Hunter. “People talk about content shock and the feeling of being bombarded with a torrent of news day in, day out, hour by hour. There’s a feeling they can’t keep up. We want to help them make sense of it and ensure our readers know what’s important,” he added.

Slowing its digital news metabolism to spend longer producing in-depth articles for the Web, comes along with a radical design overhaul of The Times and Sunday Times Websites, which have been separate (and unresponsive) since 2010. The previous reader experience was somewhat disjointed, with different designs and branding on each of the sites, compared to the tablet and smartphone apps. “We had a complicated estate,” said Hunter.

The new website has been designed to give a cleaner user experience

A website that is cleaner, simpler, and easy to use. All positives for creating a reader-friendly experience.

Yet someone who works in media and apparently does not understand good design tweeted

New site design for 'The Times of London' is so dull. May appeal to older subscribers - but what about under 50s?

A nonsensical statement, unless that person believes that only people over the age of 50 understand good design. That media-tweeter does not understand that articles that are mainly text should be served simply. I wonder if that media person has ever read a book on a Kindle reader.

The limited view of this article

... shows a clean, simple design. How can easy-to-use be dull? I would prefer that it be designed a little lighter in weight though.

Print not dead

What If the Newspaper Industry Made a Colossal Mistake? http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/10/newspapers-digital-first-214363

http://jothut.com/cgi-bin/junco.pl/replies/79402

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12734368

#media #design #business

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