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Local news groups band together for survival
In yesterday’s newsletter Esther noted that the era of billionaire-based philanthropy hasn’t actually served newspapers all that well. That might well be why this new coalition of US local news groups believes that philanthropy is only one part of the mix of new revenue sources, rather than the sole leg on which the plan stands.
Rebuild Local News’ plans are ambitious – if reliant on government money, as its president Steve Waldman acknowledges here: “Indeed, government policies of the right sort could help both commercial business models to grow, financing pools to accumulate, and nonprofit local news to expand. We shouldn’t view public policy as being a substitute for the other steps that are essential, but rather as a way of making it more likely that those private efforts will succeed.”
There’s bound to be reticence, and it’s a conversation we had over on this side of the pond in the wake of the Cairncross Review. But even if it’s difficult, the conversation is vital, as the total collapse of local news isn’t doing anyone any good.
New waves of media layoffs
On the flipside of the coin, there’s more news of media layoffs. Always painful news. First Adweek announced layoffs, and now WaPo has followed suit – and the mood seems to be that many of them are totally unnecessary job cuts. It’s just a steady drip-drip-drip of cuts to the news industry and it never stops being depressing.
CNET’s AI journalist didn’t just get stuff wrong; it plagiarised, too
lol, lmao. This will be totally unsurprising to those AI doubters, and while the reality of the situation is a little more nuanced, it does appear that plagiAIrism has occurred. As we said on this week’s episode, a lot of the blame can be laid at the feet of the people actually using the tool, but it does illustrate the dangers of going whole hog on AI for creation, not just augmentation.
Cautious optimism around not using discounts and pricey subs
In line with our prediction that publishers’ priority is moving away from user acquisition at any cost, this piece on WNIP suggests that discounting is being reconsidered at many big publishers – probably in the face of cozzie livs. Keep an eye on this; ARPU is going to be the watchword (watchacronym?) across 2023. Relatedly: Press Gazette has rounded up the most expensive news subscriptions in the UK.
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NEW EPISODE: Dexerto CEO Josh Nino on standing out in the crowded market of gaming publishers
On this week’s episode, Dexerto CEO Josh Nino tells us about how the esports-focused publication went about carving a foothold in a competitive market that is often unfriendly to newcomers. He also talks about where a publication like Dexerto looks to grow revenue and audience – and whether those opportunities are universal for all digital publications – and what he thinks is the future of sports and esports-related communities online.