This is sobering – and a bit of a bucket of cold water for my theory that you should be totally honest about your mission as a news outlet. In this lengthy piece for Nieman Lab, The Correspondent’s co-founder Rob Wijnberg candidly explores what went wrong with the global expansion of the Dutch parent site, with a particular focus on how nebulous and lofty goals alone don’t retain subscribers.
There’s a little bit of good news here, though, if you pan hard enough for it. Exploring why the Covid-19 pandemic did not serve the global site well, Wijnberg explains that what people wanted most was news of personal relevance – exactly what many newspapers have been delivering:
“The information that people wanted was quite local. Especially at the beginning [news outlets] were talking about the number of cases in their country or number of cases in their area, not… globalist origins of the whole problem. The Dutch site became quite relevant because it was confined to this space. The transnational side became sort of irrelevant because people were trying to get more local information than we had to offer.”
I think we’re all past being reticent about automated “robot” journalism, at least when it comes to covering financial and sports-related news. Well, as this article for CJR affirms, it also has a place in providing the raw materials from which Covid-related news and analysis can be crafted in newrooms.
Hello, yes, I am sceptical of the blockchain and the many, many promises of a digital utopia which get appended to it. But in this piece for journalism.co.uk we shared on Friday and this second article on DCN you can see that there are some real opportunities here – as long as you’re realistic about it.
This article about the BBC’s changing relationship with the Olympics also raises some questions about how the Beeb can continue to stay relevant in the face of greater commercial pressures.
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