Data can be hard to understand, so let me translate it for you.
- The New News
- Around The World
1. THE NEW NEWS
You don’t have to be smarter than everyone you work with, you just have to get access to information quicker than they do.
Cultural Industries Affected:
What It Means:
This data shows that 82 percent of adults aged 18 and above now consume news online – significantly more than the 64 percent who say they watch news content on television. On top of all of that, people are now more than twice as likely to get their news from social media as they are to look for it in newspapers and magazines.
Translation: While print sales departments might hate what I’m about to say, the “COVID bump” that digital and social media experienced last year isn’t some kind of random fluctuation in the market that will inevitably “correct” itself by decreasing, it’s Chicken Little coming to your house, saying “The Sky Is Fall—ah, screw it,” and punching you in the mouth because it’ll get the point across faster.
Your audiences have significantly increased their use of connected devices and services over recent months, and it’s unlikely that they’ll completely return to even their pre-COVID habits. As a result, growth trends in digital activity are here to stay, which begs that the industry now accept reality:
ALL print media is now niche media.
Which means it’s (past) time to pivot to a new way of thinking about how to approach it.
Now, let’s talk about opportunities that print media can leverage to serve their new niche (people who are willing to pay for print media).
Magazines and newspapers need to offer an alternative take on what the traditional “news” experience looks like.
Print newspapers and magazines need time to be able to turn around quality content that justifies the experience of paying for them AND taking the time to sit down and read them. It is very obvious to me that there’s demand for hard news, but how it’s presented might be the difference between survival and (more) death.
It’s time to perfect “low and slow” news.
For the unaware, “Slow News” or journalism is a term that was coined in 2007 by academic and former journalist Susan Greenberg. It means “storytelling that gives equal value to narrative craft and factual discovery, taking time to find things out, notice stories that others miss, and communicate it all to the highest standards.“
To me, “low and slow” news is a consistent and direct focus on the niches within the market being served by a given print publication. For example, at this point in 2021, a major newspaper like the Chicago Tribune could likely condense all daily news across all categories (national, local, sports, culture, etc.) into one section and put it up front like normal. Call it “news”, I don’t care.
From there, imagine if they chose to delve into pivoting their Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Business, etc. sections into Sunday Magazine-style stories and presentations. Staff workload would likely balance as staffers could shift to slower lede times that don’t require a news peg. Your subscription would get you world-class storytelling that’s worth the time to sit and enjoy and you’d likely be more willing to pay for that deeper and richer storytelling presentation than “7 sections of stuff that I already saw on Twitter 17 hours ago”.
Oh, and no more columnists.
Now, if that sounds great to you, then I’m willing to bet you’re already aware of print media operations that excel at slow news. I’d say that the print NYT and ProPublica are probably two of the biggest examples of American slow news that garners a loyal and paying audience.
It’s time to embrace the habit of “premeditated reading”.
I have the belief that it takes more thought and effort to go into reading print than digital. While print will always hold its place for both scientific (various studies show that print media stimulates both a stronger emotional response and significantly improved memory and comprehension of material vs digital) and practical (there are no distractions with print—nothing to click).
Can reading the paper become a form of self-care? A super-accessible luxury for those who appreciate quality storytelling? It’s not about “give them less to read”, it’s “give them a better reading experience”.
How does print media take advantage of these differences from digital media vs simply trying to compensate for them? Make the time a person spends reading print fun and enjoyable.
2. AROUND THE WORLD
- The above graphic and the study it’s from can be found here.
- TikTok’s catfish problem is worse than you think (Vox)
- The Subversive Joy of Lil Nas X’s Gay Pop Stardom (NYT)
- Why There’s No Black Barstool (FaintFlex)
- Why Are So Many Outdoorsy People Terrible With Money? (Outside)
3. NEW PLAYLIST
Can I be honest? Remote work-life has way more advantages for me than disadvantages. My brain isn’t well-suited to office/open floorplan life (#adhd). A MAJOR thing I miss that you wouldn’t expect? The music you’d hear piped into “creative offices”. For everyone who feels like I do, I made a new playlist.
Meet the 7th installment of my “Cool…” playlist series: Cool Creative Office
Listen on your streaming service of choice: