RocaNews began after its founders struggled with news overwhelm and avoidance at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, with over a million Instagram followers and 175k newsletter subscribers, the start-up is turning its attention to its own social news app.
This is a write-up of part of the interview co-founder Max Towey gave to us earlier this season. I’m highlighting it here because I’ve seen some snobbery towards this type of social-first news outlet. News doesn’t have to be crisis-driven and serious all the time. Nor should all publishers start reducing content to bullet points and memes.
What I like about Roca’s approach (and why I’m one of the 1 million+ followers) is the way they take the heat out of divisive topics by presenting just the facts, as well as balancing bad news stories with funny, heartwarming and quirky stories too. There’s still a lot of good left in the world. We’d do well as an industry to remember that.
“Operational excellence isn’t the same as financial engineering that fetishizes efficiency,” says Brian Morrissey in this piece about short-termism in the industry. Financialisation is the tail wagging the dog in that companies are focused on massaging numbers to create an illusion of growth to please the market, rather than creating actual good stuff. It’s an approach which ultimately ends up gutting creativity and weakening companies. A must-read.
Jessica Patterson speaks to The Washington Post, Axios, NPR and the Texas Tribune for a series of case studies that explore how these organizations approach social audio. Notably, all opted to use Twitter Spaces. Lots of best practices and tips in here for any publishers looking to do the same.
Dotdash Meredith achieved 568% revenue growth in Q2 YoY to $489.5 million, despite a rapid pullback in ad spend. Faster sites, fewer ads and better content have helped bring Meredith’s digital properties up to speed. Interestingly, the Meredith print portfolio has performed better than expected, with ad revenue on the remaining titles up 3%.
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