Daily Scroll: The news app for teen girls; more digital newsroom strategies unveiled

14 Oct

BuzzFeed is redefining another traditional title — publisher. Also, plenty of insight into the digital strategies of newsrooms around the world.

BuzzFeed’s Growth Czar Is Now Its Publisher (Re/code)
That doesn’t mean “publisher” in the traditional sense of the role, Peretti points out in an internal memo you can read below — “She isn’t the heir to a newspaper baron and she won’t be responsible for the business, selling ads or physical newsstand distribution.”

Instead, Nguyen is heading up every part of the company that isn’t editorial, ads or video — “tech, product, data and everything related to our publishing platform,” Peretti writes. That means she’ll now manage more than 100 people — about a sixth of BuzzFeed’s total headcount.

This app is nailing mobile and social storytelling for Gen-Z (Digiday)

You may not know about ShowMobile, but hundreds of thousands of teen and pre-teen girls are turning to the mobile app for an entertainment fix.

ShowMobile’s six-person production division has already developed one popular franchise: “HitStreak.” The weekly episodes live on YouTube, but fans need to stay tuned to the ShowMobile app’s HitStreak channel to get the full story — a medley of comedy, drama and music.

With its Disney-style content, ShowMobile’s userbase skews young and female: 82 percent of users are girls, and 66 percent are between 13 to 17 years old. The average user launches the app five times a day and spends ten minutes in the app, according to the company. Most HitStreak episodes top 100,000 views on YouTube.

10 ideas from the FT for digital change in newsrooms (Journalism UK)

Changing newsroom culture at the FT, La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and Le Soir (The Media Briefing)

“No longer just a newspaper, but the producer of high quality information distributed on all platforms.”

Newsroom culture is largely defined by the people who work in it, and when most newsrooms needing to transition from print to digital are heavily weighted towards older journalists, that can leave them disconnected from a big segment of their potential audience who have different expectations from news outlets.

Belgiam newspaper Le Soir decided to tackle this issue with a surprisingly simple approach – hire young journalists. Under the trendy digital title #25, brought in a dozen young journalists, all under 29, and gave them carte blanche to get involved across almost the whole paper – the only exception being the op-ed section that features on the front page.

MacLeod says that it’s important to shape training to the needs of journalists. Initally the FT ran short lunchtime courses – which it was assumed would be convenient for busy journalists. They eventually found out that most preferred day-long intensive boot camps.

Inside Gannett’s editorial innovation lab (Digiday)

Scaling those editorial products is increasingly possible because the company, under its digital chief David Payne, has been breaking down silos between USA Today and its community newspapers with a common CMS and shared video production studio and news desk.

Gannett exec: Goal of reshuffled newsrooms is to invest ‘fewest resources necessary in production’ (Poynter)

Coverage at the test sites will be determined by listening to readers and gaining a deep understanding of audience analytics. “We’re going to use research as the guide to make decisions and not the journalist’s gut,” The Tennessean’s Stefanie Murray told Poynter.

Reporters at Gannett are outfitted with “audience dashboards,” Marymont said, allowing them to look at “real-time and long-tail data.” Reporters will be tasked with paying more attention to audience feedback both with short-term changes to underperforming stories, like adding interactive elements or tweaking headlines, and with long-term tailoring of beat coverage.

The idea is that newsroom positions focused specifically on audiences and new kinds of content will better allow the newsroom to cater to reader needs.

All five sites — not just The Tennessean — will require staffers to reapply for jobs in the newsroom, Marymont confirmed. But she said the word “reapply” isn’t the right way to look at it: “No one is reapplying for an existing job, because all the jobs have been redefined.”

“We’re giving our employees first crack, of course,” Marymont explained. “Some may look at it and not see a role — I hope that’s a small number. Some may interview for the new jobs, which are very different, and may not have the skills — I hope that’s a very small number.”

Digital Newspaper Readers’ Eyes Shift to Mobile (eMarketer)

The percentage of mobile-only digital newspaper readers more than doubled between August 2013 and August 2014, while the portion of unique visitors who only looked at news on desktops and laptops dropped 16%. But not all mobile users had ditched their PCs—the number of readers who looked at digital news via mobile and nonmobile devices rose 48%.

Should HBO Open A News Division? (Variety)

“We are not a news division,” says Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president of programming, in an interview. Even so, the network recognizes a “huge appetite to be engaged with an opinion, as opposed to being fed facts.” HBO isn’t looking to compete with “NBC Nightly News,” Lombardo says, but “we continue to work at shows that resonate in what I’ll call the ‘non-fiction’ area, and I think you’ll see more from us.”

Confessions of a site designer: ‘We’d like to see more trust’ (Digiday)

The challenge in the content world is that people copy each other without knowing something is going to be successful or whether it’s right for their brands.

Upworthy Claims It Can Deliver Its Positive Spin for Brands (AdWeek)

Upworthy’s advertising package, the Upworthy Collaborations program, is a “strategic bundle” of digital media methods that it knows works for its readership. The company claims that on average, brand content gets 3.5 times more overall views and 2.9 times more attention-minutes above the site average. In addition, these sponsored materials get three times as many social shares. And, according to Marcus, the company is seeing a 50 percent to 100 percent lift from topline brand awareness—and a 15 percent to 25 percent increase in positive associations with the brand.

How News UK digs into data to build its subscriber base (Digiday)

The company has unified its digital and print subscriber data to retarget ads, devise new products, personalize its content. But doing so has meant investing in skills most newspaper groups have never had to have.

To that end, the company’s new recruits have helped identify over 400 different scenarios where a customer interacts with a brand like The Times — 38 of which heavily influence subscriber cancellations. From there, its teams are using its customer analytics to figure out which factors improve customer satisfaction at each point.

Beyond just retaining the readers it already has, the company is also using data to improve customer acquisition. Readers who have considered a subscription but abandon the sign-up process are targeted with ads encouraging them to reconsider.

Dallas Morning News focuses programmatic strategy on selling audiences (inma)

How are journalists at risk of vicarious trauma from UGC? (Journalism UK)

Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin departs following $50M raise (Venture Beat)

Kushner out as Register publisher, remains CEO (L.A. Observed)

Making Sense of Owned Media (HBR)

So what are the elements of an owned media strategy? Think content, community, and context.

Twitter Partners With Bank to Offer Money Transfers via Tweets (All Twitter)

“(S-Money) offers Twitter users in France a new way to send each other money, irrespective of their bank and without having to enter the beneficiary’s bank details, with a simple tweet,” said Nicolas Chatillon, chief executive of S-Money.

Facebook comments: now with stickers (Inside Facebook)

Facebook is rolling out support to add stickers (a popular messaging feature) to comments on personal posts, as well as posts in groups and events. It does not appear that stickers can be posted on a page’s post. This works on both desktop and mobile.

The Daily Scroll are verbatim excerpts from my top media reads Monday through Thursday.

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