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From reach to engagement to impact – the next big audience trend in journalism?

Plus The Independent partners with BCorp social media platform WeAre8, a guide to help you prompt ChatGPT and why Billie Eilish and Netflix are beating journalism


In the discussions we’ve been having around AI and how it will change publishing, one point I’ve been clumsily getting at is that it will likely drive people to value ‘human’ content more. In her latest newsletter, Jacqui Merrington sets out far more eloquently exactly that point, drawing in the subscriptions slowdown and social traffic decline into it as well.

She believes that impact is key to the future sustainability of journalism. “In an era when AI will increasingly automate content gathering, production and distribution, there will be an increasing need to reinforce the humanity of journalism,” she writes. “Impact shows a connection with audiences, it measures the difference that journalism is making to people’s lives – something that AI can’t do.”

It’s a very positive approach (unsurprisingly, from a newsletter called the happy journalist). But it’s one that addresses a lot of the issues journalism faces today. “If journalism’s success was measured not in page views or subscriptions, but in metrics that determined its impact on readers and communities, that would not only highlight its value to audiences, but to advertisers, investors and governments too,” Merrington concludes.


America’s new print-only newspaper reinvents the art of reading slowly

The retro-look County Highway costs $8.50, is published six times a year – and will never be available online

Am I just particularly attuned to print stories at the moment after our latest episode, or have there been a spate of them recently?! Here, Dalya Alberge reports on a US publisher who has launched a print-only broadsheet in the style of a 19th-century newspaper. Most interestingly, it came out of a demand from readers for “in-depth stories and writing that needs time to savour.” And no, there’s no online edition.

From our community forum: Will Apple Podcast’s newly-announced support for third-party subscription tools tempt more publishers to try subscriber-only podcasts? Join the discussion.


WhatsApp for publishers: How Reach is driving millions of page views via messaging app

WhatsApp insights for publishers: How Reach is driving millions of pages views via the messaging app.

Reach currently has 80 WhatsApp communities with around 100,000 subscribers in each, which delivers several million page views a month. The regional publisher sees WhatsApp as a way of making up for waning referral traffic from other social platforms (noting, of course, that Meta owns both publisher-hostile Facebook and WhatsApp). Could WhatsApp communities be a boost to other publishers?


News story or meme? After Elon Musk aXes headlines, it’s hard to tell

If you had to come up with a single move designed to deal a blow to whatever traffic is left and make sharing news more of a hassle, you couldn’t do much better than eliminating headlines from posts.

For those of you left on Twitter X, any links shared will appear without headlines. Yes, that means link Tweets posts now just look like pictures with a teeny tiny URL on them. Musk says this “greatly improves the esthetics [sic]”. His crusade to make the platform entirely hostile to the journalists and news organisations who provided some of the greatest engagement continues.

More from Media Voices


What kind of idiots still make magazines?

Joanna Cummings and Peter Houston discuss new B2B print title The Grub Street Journal, from inception to monetisation, challenges and more.


Why we’ve launched a media community forum

We’re excited to introduce the Media Voices community: a place for professionals in media and publishing to come together.


Mx3 and Media Voices join forces to launch new AI event for publishers

Media Makers Meet (Mx3) and Media Voices are collaborating on a new event focused on developments and opportunities in AI for publishers and media leaders.

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