Good morning! Today’s newsletter is brought to you by Chris. We’re now on Beehiiv – hopefully you haven’t noticed a difference, but if you have any thoughts on the new newsletter format then please let us know!

Punchbowl tests alerts as a replacement for Twitter (RIP)

Punchbowl adds text alerts as news outlets rev up Twitter alternatives

News providers look for ways to connect directly with readers in wake of Twitter’s journalist bans.


We all know what’s going on with Twitter, so we won’t dwell on that too much here. But what’s interesting is how news organisations are testing alternate ways to alert their readers to breaking events and article publications. Realistically we should have had all these options in place already, but better late than never.

Punchbowl, for example, is going all-in on the idea of providing text-based alerts for its paying subscribers: it will send the messages using a platform called Subtext that works with dozens of media companies and thousands of creators to send users real-time news updates. It apparently sees this as a bonus for its subscribers, as it has no plans to expand the service as of yet.

I’ve never once agreed to Subtext-powered alerts, and in fact find the repeated prompts to turn them on quite annoying. But then, I’ve never lived in a Twitter-less world for my entire professional life, so I can at least appreciate publishers making the effort to find ways around the roadblock Musk has thrown up in front of publishers reaching their audiences.

Guardian reels from suspected ransomware attack

Guardian offices closed until 23 January due to ongoing fallout from suspected ransomware attack

Guardian ransomware attack: Staff have been told to work from home until 23 January as the fallout continues from the 20 December incident.


This lengthy extension of the period in which the Guardian is having to deal with a probably ransomware attack is deeply worrying. It’s not only the fact that such a major news organisation has been targeted – it’s that this will almost certainly not be the only time a newspaper is hit by something similar over the next year.

Rumble pays big bucks for Trumps

Donald Trump Jr. signs 7-figure podcast deal with Rumble

Rumble will exclusively host the podcast called “Triggered with Don Jr.”


First of all, gross. Second of all, gross. But the alt-right enabling video platform is now evidently following its peers in offering huge payments for ideologues to appear on its service. I’m writing an article on what – if anything – this means for other publishers and platforms, so keep an eye out for that in the coming days.

What Mastodon is (and isn’t) good for


ongoing by Tim Bray · Private and Public Mastodon


Hey and speaking of Twitter – Tim Bray has taken a good look at its would-be rival Mastodon to find out exactly how it stacks up in terms of privacy and sharing options. It’s a lengthy read, but if you want to find out how to maximise what little privacy you have on social media, it’s a good read.

Throwback podcast

We’ll be back mid-Jan with a new season of the podcast. If you haven’t had chance to listen to our end-of-year review featuring BuzzFeed’s Caroline Fenner, AdWeek’s Stephen Lepitak and Poool’s Ludivine Paquet then here’s your chance!

Special: Highlights from Media Moments 2022

This special episode of Media Voices features the audio of our launch presentation for the Media Moments 2022 report.


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