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My News Biz

My News Biz

By James Breiner
This podcast is about your digital media business and how you can make it more viable. Each week I'll bring you an episode with some tips about how to generate revenue, create new types of content, and reach more people. We will have a mixture of stories, how-to advice, and interviews with people who are helping create the future of quality journalism. I hope you'll join us.
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Mastering the craft of storytelling: it's like kicking a football

My News Biz

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Mastering the craft of storytelling: it's like kicking a football
This episode tells the story of how a police reporter at a a metropolitan daily newspaper became a celebrated writer of mystery novels. Robin Yocum talks about his experience at the Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) and how a football scholarship helped him escape a dying steel town on the Ohio River. He goes into the distribution side of the book publishing business, whose players include Amazon, bookstore chains, and independent book sellers. And he shares some advice for aspiring writers. Robin Yocum was a finalist for the 2017 Edgar Allen Poe Award, presented by the Mystery Writers of America, for his novel "A  Brilliant Death" (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books). His novel "The Sacrifice of Lester Yates" was named a finalist for the 2021  Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing. The  award is given out annually by the International Association of Crime  Writers, North America. Here is a list of Yocum's books available on Goodreads. "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" is the Stephen King book Yocum recommended for writers. "Purple Cane Road" is the novel by James Lee Burke that he mentioned. Don Nehlen is the Bowling Green football coach who gave Yocum a scholarship. 
36:54
May 13, 2022
Reasons for Optimism #10: Podcasters are making a profit
Is podcasting just the latest fad that publishers are chasing? Is it the next Big Thing that will be replaced by another next year? I don't think so. There are good financial, technological, and journalistic reasons. And there is The Gutenberg Parenthesis. This podcast is based on a post on my Newsletter, My News Biz.  If you have suggestions for people you would like me to interview, or if you have comments, questions, or critiques, email me at jamesbreiner@gmail.com. I read and answer every email. The “Gutenberg Parenthesis” theory is explained in an article in the Columbia Journalism Review in 2010. A study of US podcast advertising done for the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) showed revenue of $842  million in 2020, a nearly 20% increase over the previous year. NPR (National Public Radio), which lost a fourth of its audience for its live shows. However, for the first time, NPR was on track in  2020 to make more money from underwriting on podcasts than on its  conventional radio shows. NPR has four of the top podcasts as measured by weekly listeners, according to Edison Research: Planet Money (12), Fresh Air (13), Up First (14), and Wait Wait . . .Don’t Tell Me (15). The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in 2020 published an extensive study of daily news podcasting in six countries — the US, UK, France, Denmark, Australia, and Sweden. Ismael Nafría’s newsletter, Tendenci@s, included coverage of the impact of podcasts on Spain’s media market.
10:16
April 14, 2022
Reasons for optimism #9: The groundswell movement to revive local news coverage
Dozens of news organizations and philanthropies are banding together to create and support local newsrooms. This episode is based on an edition of my newsletter, My News Biz. If you have suggestions for people you would like me to interview, or if you have comments, questions, or critiques, email me at jamesbreiner@gmail.com. I read and answer every email. The American Journalism Project announced the launch of a 25-person nonprofit newsroom in Cleveland to “produce  high-quality journalism on a daily basis that centers community voices  and lets residents help set the agenda for newsgathering”. LION, which stands for Local Independent Online New Publishers, aims to help its 275 members achieve financial sustainability. Most of its members are for-profit. It has also partnered with Google News Initiative and other organizations to produce a free Startups Playbook. The Institute for Nonprofit News helps support more than 360 independent news organizations in a new kind of news network. It describes itself as “nonprofit,  nonpartisan, and dedicated to public service . . . INN’s members tell  stories that otherwise would go untold – connecting communities, holding  the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy”. The International Press Institute, based in Vienna, is a global network of editors, media executives and  leading journalists whose mission is “to defend media freedom and  support independent journalism wherever they are threatened”. Its Local Media Survival Guide says, “Local news media are defined by how they serve their community." Clare Malone’s article in the New Yorker, “Is there a market for saving local news?”, explores the limitations of some of the efforts in the US.
09:50
April 07, 2022
Reasons for optimism #8: Journalists finally discover how to use marketing
News publishers used to assume that the public understood how time-consuming and expensive it is to produce high-quality, trustworthy news and information. Now they are discovering that they need to market themselves and make the case for why consumers should pay for news. This episode is based on an issue of my newsletter, My News Biz. If you have suggestions for people you would like me to interview, or if  you have comments, questions, or critiques, email me at  jamesbreiner@gmail.com. I read and answer every email. Much has been written about the ambitious push by the New York Times to reach 10 million digital subscribers and become an international publication. The Times promotions emphasize the value of trustworthy  journalism: “The truth is worth it” and  “Your subscription helps our  journalists seek the truth.” My digital subscription costs $17 a month,  or $204 a year. Is it worth it? I ask myself that question every month.  So far, the answer is yes. Jeff Bezos, co-founder and former chief executive of Amazon, bought the Washington Post nine years ago and has invested millions in hiring new staff and upgrading its technology. It competes with The Times for that same English-speaking national and international audience. At last  count, The Post had an estimated 3 million paid subscriptions, but there was no breakdown of how many of them were digital. The Post’s marketing slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness”, strikes me  as a bit too abstract to be very effective and engaging. It also seems a  bit self-important, even if I agree with the premise behind the  statement. But the campaign must be effective. The Post had only 1 million paid digital subscriptions in 2017. Related: Reasons for optimism #1: Andrew Yang Reasons for optimism #2: Edwy Plenel of Mediapart Reasons for optimism #3: Journalists collaborating around the world Reasons for optimism #4: José Luis Orihuela’s ‘Digital Cultures’ Reasons for optimism #5: SembraMedia’s discoveries Reasons for optimism #6: Jared Diamond and other cautious optimists Reasons for optimism #7: The movement for trustworthy information
08:60
March 31, 2022
Reasons for Optimism #7, The movement for trustworthy information
Fact checkers globally are cooperating to fight misinformation and propaganda. This podcast is based on a newsletter post. If you have suggestions for people you would like me to interview, or if you have comments, questions, or critiques, email me at jamesbreiner@gmail.com. I read and answer every email. NewsGuard made its reliability ratings available to 7 million library patrons last year. NewsGuard offers its services free to schools and public libraries. Its transparency about how the ratings are calculated models a best practice. Gabriele Cosentino's book is “Social media and the post-truth world order: the global dynamics of disinformation.” First Draft News offers training in “prebunking”,  one of whose elements is to show people how to identify the techniques used by media manipulators. Researcher John Cook has developed a series of techniques for prebunking, which research has shown to be effective against misinformation. Agência Lupa in Brazil offers news literacy programs that show the public how to identify disinformation or misinformation promoted by  the right-wing government.  Trusting News is a nonprofit  dedicated to educating journalists on how to build trust with their audiences using engagement and transparency strategies. Related: Reasons for optimism #1: Andrew Yang Reasons for optimism #2: Edwy Plenel of Mediapart Reasons for optimism #3: Journalists collaborating around the world Reasons for optimism #4: José Luis Orihuela’s ‘Digital Cultures’ Reasons for optimism #5: SembraMedia’s discoveries Reasons for optimism #6: Jared Diamond and other cautious optimists
09:05
March 24, 2022
Reasons for optimism #6: Cautious optimists find solutions
Jared Diamond, Larry Fink, and Jay Rosen are cautious optimists who are working toward solutions to the biggest problems facing all of us. This episode is based on an article on my website.  I quoted Jared Diamond from the interview he gave to Steven D. Levitt on the People I Mostly Admire podcast.  Here is Larry Fink's 2022 open letter to CEOs. Jay Rosen's LinkedIn profile. I used some quotes of Jay Rosen from an interview with Columbia University professor and author Nicole Hemmer on the Ezra Klein podcast. I’ve written a list of best practices for inspiring trust through “radical transparency” in a September blog post. Much of it is borrowed from recommendations of Tina Kaiser, an investigative reporter with Die Welt in Germany. Related: Reasons for optimism #1: Andrew Yang Reasons for optimism #2: Edwy Plenel of Mediapart Reasons for optimism #3: Journalists collaborating around the world Reasons for optimism #4: José Luis Orihuela’s ‘Digital Cultures’ Reasons for optimism #5: SembraMedia’s discoveries
08:24
March 17, 2022
Reasons for optimism #5: Digital media startups on three continents provide models for sustainability
The survey data mentioned in this podcast comes from SembraMedia’s Inflection Point International study of 200 digital native media in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. The study is also available in Spanish and Portuguese. This podcast is based on an issue of my newsletter, My News Biz. Feel free to email me your suggestions, comments, criticisms, and corrections at jamesbreiner@gmail.com. Here are some examples of impact from the report: Ghana Business News said its work contributed to new legislation on e-waste and improvements to a school food project. In Nigeria, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting highlighted the way its reporting on withheld pension payments for retirees contributed to a partial resumption of these payments. HumAngle in Nigeria trained women displaced by Boko Haram in Borno on citizen  journalism and provided them with smartphones to document practices in  Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps. Subsequently, they have been  able to report on food diversions and food-for-sex scandals. HumAngle  pays these citizen journalists stipends and publishes the stories in  their names. Some of these citizen journalists have gone on to become  accomplished reporters who now work for other media organizations. New Naratif, a regional outlet with an office in Malaysia, said its work helped to bring in donations for students, after this story about the widening education gap facing young refugees and asylum seekers in the country. In the Philippines, The POST said its reporting on students who sell explicit images of themselves  online led government institutions to order an investigation on the  matter, including the Office of the President and the Department of  Justice. Marco Zero Conteúdo in Brazil said its reporting had contributed to the release of a man who was unjustly imprisoned after being accused of drug trafficking. Their investigation found that  his personal documents had been stolen from him and used by another man  who escaped jail while being held on drug trafficking offences.
08:26
March 09, 2022
Reasons for optimism #4: José Luis Orihuela's book, "Digital Cultures"
This podcast is about José Luis Orihuela's fifth book, whose title translated into English is "Digital cultures: brief texts for understanding how and why the internet is changing our lives" (Culturas digitales. Textos breves para entender cómo y por qué internet cambió nuestras vidas).  He is a pioneer in the research and analysis of the internet, and he helped me understand its impact through his blog, eCuaderno, which he launched 19 years ago, and his Twitter feed, @jlori.  His latest effort to enlighten the public is to co-host Blogpocket Live, a podcast that is livestreamed and also available on YouTube.  This podcast episode is based on one edition of my newsletter, My News Biz.  Feel free to email me your suggestions, comments, criticisms, and corrections at jamesbreiner@gmail.com.
07:47
March 08, 2022
Trailer
Introducing you to My News Biz, the podcast about the people creating the journalism of the future.
00:41
March 07, 2022
Reasons for optimism #3: Journalists innovating around the world
Thousands of organizations around the world are sharing resources and collaborating to produce public-service journalism, often in the face of significant obstacles. This podcast is based on a longer article in my newsletter, also called My News Biz. Joyce Barnathan, the outgoing president of the International Center for Journalists, captured this spirit in her recent farewell message. Among the organizations innovating are ProPublica and the Marshall Project in the US as well as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in Eastern Europe and Connectas in Latin America, among others.  Among the collaboration projects I mentioned are the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ.org), which produced the Pandora Papers; the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), with 350 media members; the European Journalism Centre (EJC), with training materials in 15 languages; and the Solutions Journalism Network, with 177 members in 13 countries. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which produces the annual Digital News Report on more than 40 countries, made his case for more cash investment from the publishing industry in his 2022 forecast written for Nieman Lab. You can find more blog posts about Entrepreneurial Journalism in English and Spanish at my website.  
06:41
March 06, 2022
Reasons for optimism #2: Edwy Plenel and Mediapart in France
This episode looks at the success of Mediapart, an investigative journalism in France. The episode is based on one edition of my newsletter, My News Biz.  The newsletter, in turn, includes edited excerpts of Marthe Rubio’s interview of Edwy Plenel, one of the founder's of Mediapart for the Global Investigative Journalism Network, “Five Journalism Tips from Edwy Plenel“.  Please write to me at jamesbreiner@gmail.com with your comments, criticisms, and suggestions. I read and respond to every email.
07:10
March 03, 2022
What we should tell entrepreneurs about risk
You can read the original article that this podcast is based on here. Most of the stories we tell media entrepreneurs are success stories, and my own research is full of such examples. The problem is we might be misleading those entrepreneurs about the difficulty of launching a new business. In this podcast, we'll talk about what some experts say about the errors of judgment made by entrepreneurs and how to overcome them.  One of the books mentioned is by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prize-winning economist–Thinking, Fast and Slow. The mental errors of entrepreneurs are laid out in detail by Stephen X.  Zhang and Javier Cueto, who draw heavily on Kahneman’s research in their  paper “The Study of Bias in Entrepreneurship”. Different strategies have to be used in the entrepreneurial environment,  given its uncertainty and unpredictability.  Author and consultant Eric  Ries has elaborated a model in The Lean Startup, which he began as a book and has transformed into a multi-pronged consulting business.
06:59
February 24, 2022
Reasons for optimism #1: Andrew Yang, how to de-polarize politics and media
This is the first in a series of episodes focused on reasons for us to be optimistic about the future of quality journalism.  Andrew Yang outlines his experiences in politics and the reasons for founding the Forward Party in his memoir, Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy. In an interview on economist Steven D. Levitt’s podcast, People I (mostly) admire, Yang described what he learned about working on politics from the  inside. He decided we needed to have a new political party, the Forward Party, with new incentives.  This episode is based on an issue of my newsletter.  You can write to me with your questions, suggestions, comments and criticisms at jamesbreiner@gmail.com. I read and respond to every email. 
06:46
February 24, 2022
Credibility has economic value for media
I have more on the topic of credibility, trustworthiness and creating economic value for users at the following link, How publisher credibility creates economic value. If you liked this episode, please share it. You can also leave me a  voicemail message with your recommendations and comments. And if you  have suggestions for media entrepreneurs you would like me to interview,  or topics that you would like me to cover, please email me at  jamesbreiner@gmail.com.  Here are some links to content that you might find useful:  How to make native advertising work for you Why you need to hire a dedicated salesperson Give users the option to pay what they can or what they want What are the biggest mistakes of digital media startups?
09:23
April 12, 2021
Joanna Sullivan: veteran journalist sees many opportunities for recent graduates
Joanna Sullivan's LinkedIn Profile. She is editor of the Baltimore Business Journal, which is part of the American City Business Journals network of publications, whose website is bizjournals.com. Joanna mentioned The Lists, which are compiled in the Book of Lists in each of the cities in the group. You can read more of our interview here.  If you liked this episode, please share it. You can also leave me a  voicemail message with your recommendations and comments. And if you  have suggestions for media entrepreneurs you would like me to interview,  or topics that you would like me to cover, please email me at  jamesbreiner@gmail.com. Here are some related links you might find interesting: Media consultant sees bright future for quality journalism in Eastern Europe How to make native advertising work for you Why you need to hire a dedicated salesperson Give users the option to pay what they can or what they want What are the biggest mistakes of digital media startups?
22:02
April 12, 2021
Jakub Parusinski: media consultant sees bright future for news startups in former Soviet bloc
I've written more about Parusinski here on my blog. He is optimistic about the future of journalism based on the new opportunities for developing financial resources such as reader-generated revenue. He has worked as a journalist, media manager, and strategic  consultant.  He is founder and managing director of Jnomics Media, a media management consulting firm based in London. Parusinski is chairman of the board of the Kyiv-based Media Development Foundation, which provides training and business consulting to  journalists and independent media that "are critical to social, economic  and political development, especially in post-authoritarian states."  If you liked this episode, please share it. You can also leave me a  voicemail message with your recommendations and comments. And if you  have suggestions for media entrepreneurs you would like me to interview,  or topics that you would like me to cover, please email me at  jamesbreiner@gmail.com. Here are some related links you might find interesting:  How to make native advertising work for you Why you need to hire a dedicated salesperson Give users the option to pay what they can or what they want What are the biggest mistakes of digital media startups?
25:04
March 30, 2021
Digital ad fraud: This is another reason you should hire your own dedicated salesperson
In this podcast, I want to give you another reason to control your  advertising sales. The digital advertising environment is filled with  toxic, fraudulent advertising. This advertising feeds off of fraudulent  websites. This is why news sites with a public service mission need to protect their credibility by controlling the advertising that appears on their pages. An excellent study of how this works is by Joshua A. Braun and Jessica L. Eklund (2019): Fake News, Real Money: Ad Tech Platforms, Profit-Driven Hoaxes, and the Business of Journalism. For journalists to understand the ad ecosystem better, perhaps the best study available is by Elizabeth Anne Watkins for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University: Guide to Digital Advertising Technology.  DigiDay just described how the New York Times now has 71 newsletters, which have been critical in converting users into paid subscribers. If you want to know more about some of the questions about digital advertising, I recommend Something is Rotten in Digital Advertising, by Rand Fishkin, and two Freakonomics Podcasts, “Does Advertising Actually Work”, Part 1 and Part 2. This episode is based on a blog post on my website, Entrepreneurial Journalism. If you liked this episode, please share it. You can also leave me a  voicemail message with your recommendations and comments. And if you  have suggestions for media entrepreneurs you would like me to interview,  or topics that you would like me to cover, please email me at  jamesbreiner@gmail.com.
10:43
March 18, 2021
How native advertising lets you merge your mission with monetization--and the risks
Native advertising –also known as sponsored content or advertorial (publireportaje in Spanish)– mixes characteristics of editorial content and  advertising. It has become a major revenue source for many independent news sites. As described in the Tow Center’s Guide to Native  Advertising: “Native ads take on the appearance  of real news stories, and are crafted by people inside news  publications who want to create and spread commercial messages that  don’t look like traditional advertisements that overtly push product . .  . . [T]his practice borrows credibility from the newsroom in order to  enhance the value of the ad created for clients.” You can read a lot more about the topic of native advertising in my blog post on the topic (it includes the Ford Focus ad on El País's front page). If you liked this episode, please share it. You can also leave me a  voicemail message with your recommendations and comments. And if you  have suggestions for media entrepreneurs you would like me to interview,  or topics that you would like me to cover, please email me at  jamesbreiner@gmail.com. How to make native advertising work for you Why you need to hire a dedicated salesperson Give users the option to pay what they can or what they want What are the biggest mistakes of digital media startups? These metrics predict which users will pay for news In Italy, a news startup's membership model captures 15,000 donors
12:25
March 16, 2021
Why your news organization should hire its own dedicated salesperson
Many media startups would benefit by adding a full-time salesperson to their team. This podcast gives the economic reasons for why to do  it, who to hire, and how much to pay for that staff person. Here is the link to Inflection Point, the SembraMedia study that includes data about ad revenues of 100 digital media startups in Latin America. The study is called Inflection Point, and you can also read it in Spanish and Portugese.  If you liked this episode, please share it. You can also leave me a voicemail message with your recommendations and comments. And if you have suggestions for media entrepreneurs you would like me to interview, or topics that you would like me to cover, please email me at jamesbreiner@gmail.com.  Here are some related articles about digital media entrepreneurs: Give users the option to pay what they can or what they want What are the biggest mistakes of digital media startups? These metrics predict which users will pay for news In Italy, a news startup's membership model captures 15,000 donors
08:29
March 13, 2021
The 5 keys to news media viability: the tactics and strategies of 20 media on 4 continents
This podcast was based on on article on my website, 5 keys to making quality journalism sustainable. This was an in-depth analysis of business models of 20 news media  organizations in four regions: Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Latin  America and the US.  The graphic I described in the podcast is visible here.  The final version of our study was in 2021: Medina, M.; Sánchez-Tabernero, A.; & Breiner, J. (2021). “Some Viable Models for Digital Public-Interest Journalism”, El Profesional de la Información 30 (1) e300118. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.ene.18 If you liked this podcast, please share it. If you have suggestions for people I should interview, or topics you would like me to cover, you can leave a voice mail on this episode or send me an email at  jamesbreiner@gmail.com. Here are links to some related articles:  Why you need to hire a dedicated salesperson Give users the option to pay what they can or what they want What are the biggest mistakes of digital media startups? These metrics predict which users will pay for news In Italy, a news startup's membership model captures 15,000 donors
08:39
March 12, 2021