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The must-read publishing stories you may have missed this week

Making text message news work, lessons from The Membership Guide, and more

(1) new message

Text-based notifications deservedly have a mixed reputation amongst publishers and audiences. But with the need for information on fast-changing circumstances in the pandemic, more publishers are starting to experiment in the space again.

The Arizona Republic has attracted over 2,500 sign-ups to its free text notification service, sending up to four texts each day on the pandemic. Similarly, BuzzFeed News launched text notifications with one of their journalists updating readers on the latest COVID-19 numbers and news.

An Indiana-based publisher has taken this a step further, and has based its entire business model on text notifications. The New Paper curates and summarises the day’s top stories into a concise daily text message for a $5 monthly subscription fee. The New Paper is already profitable, with over 7,000 paid subscribers bringing in $400,000 in annual revenue. 

It’s a risky move putting all your eggs in one basket this way, but there are lessons we can learn. The New Paper is challenging the preconceived notions of text-based notifications – that the medium works best for narrowly tailored subjects. With WhatsApp restricting its newsletter-like functionality, publishers exploring notifications may want to take a second look at the good, old-fashioned text.



“Sell more than a product or a cause”: How memberships can help publishers build a sustainable future

Membership requires a “mindset shift,” suggests the Membership Puzzle Project’s newly published, The Membership Guide. “Instead of just assuming what members want, successful membership organizations have developed ways of listening, fresh thinking about what their members actually want, and strong feedback loops to get it right.”


Can text message-based news work? Indiana’s The New Paper thinks so

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the zeitgeist with publishers looking to react swiftly to changing circumstances, and audiences demanding news notifications as they happen.


67% consumers likely to engage with ads on trusted publisher sites: Contextual advertising promises better revenue and control

In a contextually targeted world, there’s a lot of advantages for publishers creating quality content.


“Our futures are tied together”: Google launches free, global program to help small and mid-sized publishers grow online

The program is informed by the lessons learned from GNI projects and programs, and was built in collaboration with industry experts.


The Publisher Podcast Awards 2021 are now open for entries

The awards are designed to celebrate the podcasting success of publishers and media organisations, whether they’ve been in the podcasting space a while or have just launched their first one.


“Without technology content is nothing”: What is a media company nowadays?

Marc Walder is living proof that fortune favours the brave. Over the last 13 years the CEO of Swiss media group Ringier has spearheaded a quite astonishing digital transformation at his company.


“TikTok is journalism in every sense”: How The Washington Post raked in 647,700 followers since its launch last year

The venerable newspaper now has a hugely popular TikTok account, which has raked in 647,700 followers since its launch last year.


ePaper readers are a younger, more profitable group than print readers: A case study from Germany

A report has found that two thirds of ePaper readers (65.8%) are under the age of 50, making them a younger group than print readers.

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The conversation around men’s magazines need to change: Insights from MEL magazine

In this podcast episode Josh Schollmeyer, co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of online men’s magazine MEL, takes us through working at the legacy print behemoth Playboy and why that convinced him men’s magazines needed to change.

London’s ES Magazine goes ‘all in’ on Brand Stories

In partnership with Newsroom AI, ES magazine has refreshed its mobile platform and launched ‘Brand Stories’ where branded content is delivered programmatically within an editorial context.

Google News favours mainstream media. Even if it pays for content, will local outlets fall further behind?

To rebuild Australia’s local news industry, the industry heavyweights would have to give up some of their own hard-fought share of the money. But you don’t need to consult Google to work out how likely that is.

The art of retention through community building

It’s time for publishers to take their brands off the page and screen, and integrate them into people’s lives to keep the subscribers they’ve attracted during the pandemic and build long-term loyalty.

See the rest of this week’s stories at