In this edition:
We have talked about the trend of individual media companies for many years, and we have seen many other people embrace it (like YouTubers). But many journalists are now also thinking about doing the same thing. Would it possible, you ask, for a journalist to create a media product that is supported directly through Patreon, other forms of donations or through direct subscription?
In this very big guide (46 pages), I'm taking a deep dive into this fascinating world of 'solo' media, and hopefully answering most of your questions.
When Opinion Becomes Legislative Facts
There is an increasing problem with how we report the news. The problem is that, by simply reporting what is happening, we are often directly the cause of why many people end up being misinformed. In this article, I explore one such example, where I illustrate how an innocent news report is instrumental in allowing politicians to distract people from the facts.
Reuters Institute is out with yet another study about how people perceive news, and it's worth a read.
The report finds that 'opinion' is an increasing problem, which is degrading the trust and relevancy of news, and this is something I have now heard from many different sources.
The problem is that many newspapers have started using opinion to 'build traffic', because the outrage is far more effective at driving views. As such, when you go to many newspapers today, you often find that the opinion content is given as much prominence as the regular content.
But, as this study also found, this is a terrible long-term strategy. As they write:
"Based on these findings, the report argues that the news media needs to differentiate itself more from information that has not gone through the same professional checking processes. It argues that journalists and news publications should be far more open about their biases and clearer about distinguishing news from opinion and news."
As media analyst, I must advise you to think much more critically about using opinions to drive traffic. We have to remember that relying on opinions is also what caused the problems with inaccurate news on Facebook.
As the report found:
"Social media (24%) is trusted less than the news media in its ability to separate fact from fiction. There is a sense from respondents that feeds are becoming polluted with inaccurate information, extreme agendas, and strong opinions, perhaps encouraged by social media algorithms. But, people also blame other social media users for fuelling these stories by sharing without reading them."
This is a big problem on Facebook, but we see exactly the same pattern on newspaper sites.
The problem is also with the order of things. As I wrote in the article mentioned earlier (about opinion turning into legislative facts), if you start reporting and giving voice to an opinion before the facts have been uncovered, people end up misinformed even if you report both sides accurately.
Finally, I want to give a shout-out to 'Journalism Research News', because they are awesome.
What they do is to collect and summarize all the many different studies about journalism in one single place. Here, for instance, is a sample of their latest newsletter.
So, if you, like me, want to stay on top of the latest studies, this is a great place to follow and the team behind it is doing a really good job.
Speaking of newsletters worth following, there are three more that I would like to mention. One is Rachel Schallom's (from WSJ) newsletter on visual story telling, the other is
Anjali Ramachandran's newsletter about very interesting innovation that is happening outside the Western world. If you want a view of the world that we don't usually see, this is a great thing to follow. And, last but not least is my good friend Avinash Kaushik's wonderful newsletter The Marketing < > Analytics Intersect.
Oh... and, as you have probably heard, Google fixed the burger emoji ;)
As we talked about last time: A media analysis of the 'burger tweet' that reached 8.5 million views, by @baekdal and @aexm:
A look at the trend of brand+publisher, and the future for epaper
Asking an AI to do media analyst, and what does it mean when social becomes content focused?
It's tempting to just take a picture of your desk, but be mindful of what it might reveal
A guide to AI for publishers, the end of a million views, and what read metric is best?
Depression is impacting all level of news, from the journalists, the audience, to the businesses.
Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter
"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé