There’s a lot to absorb in this quick summary of a study into local news on Facebook – but one thing you’ll be unsurprised to hear is that Facebook’s priorities aren’t aligned with local publishers. Shock horror! The study, conducted by Benjamin Toff and Nick Mathews from the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, found that “issues of importance to local audiences are being drowned out in favour of harder-hitting news pieces with national relevance”.
“Posts about hard news stories, especially on a national level, consistently brought more engagement than the softer, more locally relevant stories. ‘Even local organisations get more bang for their buck when they post about non-local subjects,’ Toff said.”
The whole piece is well worth a read, if only for the data on how wire copy tends to perform in terms of Facebook engagement. But in light of everyone’s rush back into local news – from Axios to Google – it seems there are still fundamental aspects of local news coverage we need to reappraise for the platform era.
Here’s an interesting one – the NYT is trialling an in-house audio app which collates all its audio content in one place. It’s zigging where others are zagging by publishing through third party apps and services. And if it succeeds, other publishers with deep pockets might remove the middlemen too.
We’re fans of Black Ballad, so we’re very happy to hear that it’s received a significant amount of cash – from private backers and crowdfunding – to invest in more reporters and technology. It’s exactly what Tobi Oredein told us she was hoping to achieve this time last year.
Earlier this year we heard that a number of sites are cutting back on the amount they publish in service of better audience engagement; now The Telegraph is trying something similar with its newsletters.
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