Publishers Report Q1 Ad Revenue Is Pacing 10-25% Behind Forecasts

The first quarter is off to a rocky start for publishers’ advertising businesses, and while that might not come as a surprise given the state of the economy — even for media execs who forecasted their companies’ revenue goals according to the headwinds in the market — January is pacing between 10% to 25% off their projected targets, according to three media executives. Three other execs profiled for this piece said their business is approximately even with Q1 2022.

“We’re coming off a Q4 [2022] that was up 30% to 31% in direct [advertising revenue], which was epic. And I think whatever bug [our competitors] had in Q4 caught up with us in Q1. We’re down right now as much as 20% to 25% in our forecast for Q1,” said an executive from a digital media company who was permitted anonymity in exchange for candor. And according to that exec, they haven’t ever had a down quarter, aside from Q2 2020 during the first three months of the pandemic.

Two other large digital media publishers told Digiday on the condition of anonymity that their businesses were about 75% booked for Q1 as of Jan. 25. For one of the execs, this was well behind the goal for amount of inventory booked that they normally set going into a new quarter. Meanwhile, the other exec said that this was actually pacing about 10% up year over year as much of their business is sold in-quarter typically.

Paxton Media Group Tells At Least Some Local Papers To Close Their Offices To The Public

One of the nation’s leading rural newspaper chains is planning to close at least some of its papers’ local offices to the public this week. In an email to local and area managers, Paxton Media Group said, “To help streamline our efficiencies and processes, and to keep pace with changes in our own industry, we’ve decided it’s best to eliminate our open office hours to the public completely, for the remaining publications in our group.”

The meaning of “remaining publications in our group” was unclear. The memo seen by The Rural Blog was sent at least to managers of some papers in Kentucky and southern Indiana, and was a topic of discussion among Kentucky employees last week.

The memo was sent last week and gave a target date of Wednesday, Feb. 1. Paxton managers declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment on such questions as possible layoffs.

At The Seattle Times, 70 Percent Of Revenue Now Comes From Readers

Intensely focused on reader revenue for more than a decade, Fisco credits The Seattle Times’ success in large part to its high quality, local content. Winner of 11 Pulitzer Prizes, the Times has 176 journalists, which makes it the second largest news staff in the western United States after the Los Angeles Times. Twenty-seven of those positions, or 15 percent of the total newsroom staffing, are funded through the Times’ philanthropic funding work, which helped them to add 11 newsroom positions in 2022, Fisco said. The past couple of decades have not been without their challenges and hardships, however. “We, like many of you, have been forced to cut expenses and cut staff over the years as advertising revenues have declined pretty precipitously. But when we’ve done that, we’ve tried to do everything we possibly can to protect newsroom positions,” Fisco told participants at WAN-IFRA’s World News Media Congress late last year. The Seattle Times has been locally owned and independent for more than 125 years, he said, adding, “We take great pride in that local ownership and believe it is one of the cornerstones to our success.” Fisco himself has been at the Times for more than 30 years and its president for the past five.

An early decision to focus on reader revenue The Times made the strategic decision to move its business model away from a reliance on advertising to one that was audience focused more than 10 years ago, long before most of its peers. “At that point everybody was still saying digital advertising was going to be the savior for us,” Fisco said. “What we were seeing was declining rates. Modest growth, but single digit growth. We strongly believed that we needed to make a pivot organizationally and focus on content, which really is our unique differentiator.” Today, 70 percent of The Seattle Times’ revenue – both print and digital – comes from its audience. However, Fisco said 70 percent of that 70 percent is still coming from the print side of its business. For example, they have 130,000 print subscribers vs about 82,000 digital subscribers. Advertising represents a further 24 percent of revenues, and that is split evenly between digital and print. “So, clearly you can see we’re still very dependent on print revenue,” he said. On the digital side, the paper uses a metered paywall, which it launched in 2013. In 2015, the company invested in a new digital tech stack both front and back-end. “That was a two-year process,” Fisco said. “We’ve spent the years since that installation tweaking it to make it even better.” Those efforts really paid off in 2020 and 2021 as Seattle became the epicenter for the Covid outbreak in the United States. “We suddenly had this giant influx of page views and digital subscriptions both locally and internationally. Had we not done that work in advance, we would never have seen the growth that we have experienced,” Fisco said.

The Houston Landing Launches: Local News For The Greater Houston Area

More than a year ago, researchers studying local news in the Houston metro area learned something critical to the launch of the Houston Landing.“The community often times feels left out of the news,” said a nonprofit director in east Harris County, who was one of hundreds of residents who participated in the study. “I think there’s a lot of feelings of being forgotten, being left out, and the light not being shined on the community since [Hurricane] Harvey.”It shouldn’t take a natural disaster to make our communities feel heard, seen and valued. It just takes a vision that is as big and bold as Houston. This is why we are announcing today the launch of Houston Landing, an independent nonprofit news organization devoted to public service journalism that will be digital-only and nonpartisan.

Houston Landing’s mission Our mission is to strengthen democracy and improve the lives of all Houstonians one story at a time. Because we want to serve as many people as possible, our content will always be free, with no paywalls or subscription fees. It will also be available for other media organizations to publish. The American Journalism Project, which helps build nonprofit newsrooms, conducted surveys, interviews and focus groups with residents of Greater Houston. The message was clear: People do not feel they have access to the trustworthy, local and deeply reported stories they need for their daily lives. We’re trying to fix that. The Houston Landing will provide trusted reporting about local issues important to our region, stories that offer solutions to pressing problems and investigative journalism that keeps the powerful accountable. The Landing (we’ll get to the story behind our name shortly) will focus on watchdog coverage of governments and institutions in Harris County and our suburbs. We will tell stories that reflect the region’s dynamic diversity.We will offer stories and information that help residents make decisions about their daily lives — from accessing public services to participating in democracy — empowering them to engage in their communities and city.

Congress Committed To Fixing That Problem Through JCP

Following the re-introduction of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (H.R. 1735 / S. 673) (JCPA) in 2021, the News/Media Alliance and its allies worked to advocate for the bill’s passage during the 117th Congress. The JCPA would allow small and local news publishers to come together to collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook for fair compensation for use of their content. News publishers, magazines and broadcasters currently do not have the ability to negotiate deals on their own, as the dominant tech platforms capture the majority of U.S. digital ad revenue, leaving little to reinvest in the production of high-quality journalism.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on antitrust hosted a hearing for the JCPA in February of 2022, allowing for substantive conversation on the legislation, and garnering further interest from Congressional leaders. The Alliance and its allies followed up on this hearing by meeting with Congressional staffers and organizing grassroots outreach, resulting in over 2,000 touchpoints on Capitol Hill over the summer. These efforts led to a successful Senate Judiciary Committee markup on September 22, where the JCPA was reported favorably to the Senate floor with a committee vote of 15-7.

Policymakers are motivated to stand up for the vital public institution of journalism and push back against anticompetitive business practices. A thriving press performs a critical role in building and engaging local communities and holding government officials accountable. There is broad agreement in the U.S. – on both sides of the aisle, not only on the Hill but among members the public – that action is needed to protect local journalism. An April 2022 poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Schoen Cooperman Research for the News/Media Alliance found that 70 percent of Americans support Congress passing the JCPA

NewsGuild Asks DOJ To Investigate Block Communications Inc. Purchase Of City Paper

The largest union for journalists in the United States is asking the Department of Justice to investigate the recent acquisition of Pittsburgh City Paper. A subsidiary of Block Communications Inc. — which also owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — bought the alt-weekly earlier this month. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a letter sent Wednesday afternoon, the NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America urged the DOJ to examine how this purchase could harm the Pittsburgh community. According to NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss, the union is concerned about how it could reduce competition, limit the mobility of newspaper employees and restrict the kinds of stories local journalists can tell.

“The existence of pesky, small news outlets, daily or weekly, that cover issues not normally covered by the incumbent media improves the overall quality of news production for the entire local market,” Schluess wrote. “That vibrancy, in turn, gives readers the information they need to make decisions in their personal and professional lives. It also leads to a more informed citizenry.” He went on to call on the DOJ to probe “the competitive impact of this attempted consolidation of local news.”

Eagle Media, the company that owns the Butler Eagle, sold the paper to Block Communications after purchasing it in 2016. Publisher Ron Vodenichar said running the City Paper from a distance was difficult and costly. In a joint statement with Vodenichar released Jan. 4, the publishers said all City Paper employees will be retained and operate autonomously “continuing to serve as Pittsburgh’s alternative news weekly.” But Schluess pointed out that in an already shrinking news market, the City Paper had carved out space to cover the Block family, owners of Block Communications

DOJ Sues Google, Seeking To Break Up Online Advertising Business

The U.S. Justice Department and eight states Tuesday sued Alphabet’s Google, calling for the breakup of the search giant’s ad-technology business over alleged illegal monopolization of the digital advertising market. “The lawsuit we have filed today seeks to hold Google to account for what we allege are its longstanding monopolies in digital advertising technologies that content creators use to sell ads and advertisers use to buy ads on the open Internet,” the Justice Department’s antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter said in a news conference Tuesday announcing the suit.

New York, California and Virginia were among the states that signed on to the complaint, which was filed in federal court in Virginia.

Google said in blog post that the lawsuit “attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector. The case “largely duplicates an unfounded lawsuit by the Texas Attorney General, much of which was recently dismissed by a federal court. DOJ is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.”

Alphabet’s stock extended declines on the news, dropping as much as 2.5% to touch a session low. The stock slid 23% in the 12 months that ended Monday, underperforming the Nasdaq 100 Index. “No matter the industry and no matter the company, the Justice Department will vigorously enforce our antitrust laws,” Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland said during the news conference.

The lawsuit represents the Biden administration’s first major case challenging the power of one of the nation’s largest tech companies, following through on an investigation that began under former President Trump. It also marks one of the few times that the Justice Department has called for the breakup of a major company since it dismantled the Bell telecom system in 1982

Informed App Attracts Big-Name Publishers To Join Curated Subscription Bundle

A new app bundling together curated stories from some of the world’s biggest publishers is targeting consumers who, its founders believe, would never pay for a single news subscription. The co-founders of Informed are targeting news consumers who have “not enough time, [are] not reading that many articles, overwhelmed by the sheer amount that’s out there” and want the best, most important stories cherry-picked for them. So as distinct from existing news bundlers, like PressReader, Informed does not offer full access to particular titles.

Co-founder Martin Kaelble told Press Gazette their offering would not take people away from existing news publishers’ subscriptions. This means Informed is not for, as Kaelble put it, “news junkies” or “content nerds” who will prefer to have their own subscriptions and access to a full newspaper. “It sounds a bit romantic, but we want to save quality journalism,” he said.

Informed, which went live in November and costs £51.99 per year or £6.99 per month, sells itself as allowing people to access “world-class journalism from premium publishers, curated by editors and experts”. The Financial Times, New York Times, Economist, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Telegraph, Der Spiegel, The Independent and Foreign Policy have all done deals to allow their content to appear on Informed

American Journalism Project Announces $3.25 Million In Grants To Three Local, Nonprofit News Organizations

The American Journalism Project announced its first three new grants of 2023 to nonprofit news organizations that aim to reach new audiences and cover critical issues concerning communities in North Carolina, Fort Worth, Texas and Nebraska. This brings the American Journalism Project’s portfolio of grantees to 36 organizations and total investments made to more than $40 million. Each of these organizations have ambitious plans to grow original local reporting by investing in their revenue and operations capacities.

American Journalism Project’s new investments in Enlace Latino NC, Fort Worth Report and Nebraska Journalism Trust will give these organizations funding and strategic support to significantly grow their revenue as they expand their organizations into local communities.

“At a moment when people need trusted sources of information, local news is in decline across the country, leaving people without reliable sources of news on the issues that affect their communities,” said Sarabeth Berman, CEO of the American Journalism Project. “Each of these organizations is working to close news and information gaps, in order to bolster their community and in turn help democracy thrive.”

CherryRoad Media Has Announced The Promotion Of Industry Veteran Lee Bachlet To The Role Of Chief Operating Officer

CherryRoad Media has announced the promotion of industry veteran Lee Bachlet to the role of Chief Operating Officer effective the 1st of the year 2023 CherryRoad has over 70 newspapers in 15 states and has quickly become one of the most far-reaching community journalism operations in the country. After acquiring its 1st newspaper in late 2020, the company grew to 7 papers in the summer of 2021. Growth accelerated that fall and continued through 2022.

Bachlet joined CherryRoad at the beginning of 2022, tasked with helping to lead the growth charge. In coordination with owner/CEO Jeremy Gulban, he oversaw acquisition and integration strategies as the company expanded. He also worked on long-term strategy as the company began to take shape.

“It is time for our company to mature, and we have to step back and look at our structure,” Gulban said. “While we will continue to grow, and Lee continues to work on those efforts, we also need to refine our structure so we can successfully transition from rapid acquisition mode to a sustainable model that helps us continue to serve our communities. We felt like Lee, with his breadth of and varied experience in this industry, is the right person to help us take those next steps.”

Bachlet has been in the newspaper industry for most of his life. He started as a youth carrier in his hometown of Cheyenne, WY, almost a half a century ago. He has worked for newspapers across the country, including in Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Nevada, Kansas and Louisiana. While his background is weighted toward the business end of the industry, he has also been both a reporter and editor.

Hearst President: Quality-Focused Journalism Drives Success

As per Hearst Newspapers president Jeff Johnson, the company has grown in challenging times as a result of it focusing on quality journalism essential to communities.

Johnson said, “The mission of serving the readership and holding the powerful accountable and giving a voice to the powerless – those are important statements, and we believe in them sincerely. Sometimes there are tough days in the newspaper business. Right? And you’ve got to work through that, and it helps us quite a bit to have the support of Hearst.”

He further stressed the importance of newspapers investing in content to show readers that they are important. “In the long run, that’s always been our role and if you deviate from that importance in the community, it doesn’t seem like that’s a sustainable model.”

Hearst Newspapers runs 24 daily and 52 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Unionization Rate Hits All-Time Low

The percentage of American workers who are members of a union fell to a new low in 2022 despite the total number of unionized workers increasing.

Driving the news: 10.1% of workers were unionized in 2022, down from 10.3% in 2021 and a high of 20.1% in 1983, the first year the Bureau of Labor

Statistics reported comparable figures.

Why it matters: Unions play a powerful role in the workforce, with advocates saying they advance worker rights while critics say they stymie progress. By the numbers: The workforce added 273,000 unionized jobs in 2022, up 1.9% from 2021.

•› But the number of total jobs increased by 5.3 million, a 3.9% jump, outpacing the growth in union roles. The big picture: Several high-profile unionization efforts have fetched headlines in recent months, including the ongoing campaign to organize Starbucks locations and Amazonwarehouses.

•› 71% of Americans approved of labor unions in 2022, the highest mark recorded by Gallupsince 1965.

•› But companies like Starbucks and Amazon have resisted unionization efforts, arguing that they’d be better off without them. Zoom in: The rate of union membership among public-sector workers is five times greater than the rate of privatesector employees — 33.1% to 6%, according to the BLS.

•› Median weekly compensation for union members was $1,216 in 2022, compared with $1,029 for nonunion workers. The bottom line: Unions have momentum in the public square, but that hasn’t yet translated into a greater share of the workforce.

The Supreme Court Case That Has Unions On Edge

At issue is whether employers can sue unions accused of destroying property as part of a labor dispute in state court, or whether such a lawsuit is preempted by federal labor law. The case Glacier Northwest Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters stems from a 2017 labor dispute in which workers at a Washington concrete company went on strike in protest of contract negotiation delays.

The company filed a lawsuit in state court against the union that represents the truck drivers involved, arguing that it should be compensated for the cost of cement that became unusable after workers walked off the job.

Glacier Northwest argued that the stoppage was intentionally timed to ruin cement, while the Teamsters said they were careful to prevent the mix from hardening by returning cement trucks to the property and keeping them running before striking. “The right to strike is crucial to the collective-bargaining process and allows a union to time a strike to apply substantial economic pressure,” the Teamsters wrote to the Supreme Court.

Washington’s Supreme Court ruled that Glacier Northwest’s civil lawsuit should be dismissed because the legality of the strike falls under the NLRB (which later sided with the union). In court filings, businesses and conservative legal groups argue these types of lawsuits are not preempted by federal law and should be allowed to proceed.

Unions and labor supporters are concerned that doing so would incur substantial legal expenses and put the economic costs associated with strikes onto the workers, thereby lessening the leverage on employers that discourage employees from utilizing the tactic. “Who’s going to go on strike when you know that if your strike is successful, you’ll be sued?,” Cornell University’s Cathy Creighton told Shift.

Publishers Reprioritize Monetization Over Subscriber Growth

Publishers across the board are now deprioritizing subscriber growth initiatives and “volume at all costs” mentalities and are instead focusing their attention firmly on the highly engaged, highly monetizable audience groups that are most likely to sustain their businesses through a difficult period.

Vanity metrics are being replaced by an emphasis on revenue generation and yield maximization as publishers attempt to inject greater discipline into their subscription approaches and align them more closely with their business needs. Subscriber bases might be leveling off or even contracting, but publishers have a new goal in mind: revenue. “Subscription publishers will pay more attention to their price-volume-mix in 2023,” said Fortune’s chief customer officer, Selma Stern, referring to the heavily reduced pricing many publishers have offered in recent years as they’ve optimized to subscriber volume. “Ultimately, paywall revenue will become more important than subscriber numbers,” she added.

The Washington Post’s chief subscriptions officer, Michael Ribero, said he expects a similar recalibration. As the bar for attracting and retaining paying subscribers gets higher, publishers will need to “focus on the customers and products with the highest return on investment,” he said. Publishers with robust data and a close understanding of their existing subscriber bases will be best positioned to “make better choices for a sustainable future” as the year unfolds, he added.

Oregon Paper Closing After More Than Century Of Publishing

The Mail Tribune in Medford’s publisher and CEO Steven Saslow on Wednesday announced the newspaper’s abrupt closure on its website, saying unused paid subscriptions would be refunded. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce that as of Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, the Mail Tribune will cease all operations,” the announcement on the website said.

The paper stopped producing a print edition in September but continued operating in a digital format, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. “This was a difficult business decision,” wrote Saslow, whose Rosebud Media bought the paper from GateHouse Media in 2017. “The shuttering of this institution is a real loss for all constituents in Southern Oregon.”

He wrote that declines in advertising spending and difficulty hiring staff precipitated the closure. Rosebud Media closed a sibling paper, the Ashland Daily Tidings, in 2021. The Medford metropolitan area is home to nearly 224,000 and is the biggest population center in southern Oregon.

The paper was formed as a merger between the Medford Mail and the Medford Tribune in 1909, guided by editor George Putnam. The newspaper dates to the late 1800s through a predecessor and produced the first edition as the Mail Tribune in 1907. In 1934 the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for public service, the first news organization in Oregon to do so.

Vox Media “Formalizes” Ban On Fossil-Fuel Ads

The company also announced a carbon-neutral ad offering.

Fossil who? To ring in the new year on a sustainable note, Vox Media said today that it’ll no longer run ads from fossilfuel companies. It’s a policy the publisher has had in place since early 2021, explained AJ Frucci, Vox Media’s SVP of media revenue, but the company is now “kind of formalizing” it. The update to the company’s advertising policy states that Vox Media no longer accepts ad dollars from fossil-fuel companies, or any companies that mine nonrenewable resources, Vox Media spokesperson Peyton McCarthy said. The policy will also extend to lobbyist groups “whose purpose is to support fossil-fuel companies.” The Guardian introduced a similar ban in 2020. The announcement is part of a larger initiative that Vox Media, which owns publications including New York Magazine, SB Nation, and its namesake site Vox, will make in an attempt to help address the climate crisis. Today, Vox Media also announced it would pay the cost of offsetting the carbon emissions generated by the publisher’s new “carbon-neutral” advertising inventory for its Concert advertising network, created in a partnership with Scope3, a company designed to help the ad-tech industry scale back its carbon emissions. Advertisers buying carbon-neutral inventory will be paying only for audience impressions, with Vox paying the cost of offsetting the emissions used to reach them. Frucci declined to share the pricing of the units . “Our business success depends on this idea…that the buy side begins prioritizing greener advertising in their campaigns and their buying decisions. And that’s the bet that we’re making,” Frucci told Marketing Brew.

Zoom out: Though Frucci declined to say how much ad revenue fossil-fuel advertisers previously contributed to Vox Media’s bottom line, it’s a heated topic in energy and climate media.

• In December, Semafor’s climate editor left the publication, writing that his short time there was “marred, sadly, by an overdependence on Chevron sponsorship.”

• Both Axios and Politico have garnered attention for running ads from fossil-fuel companies alongside coverage of the climate crisis and energy.

• Last year, Bloomberg Media’s global CMO told us that its climate vertical, Bloomberg Green, does not work with oil and gas companies.

Related, unrelated: In recent years, both Google and Pinterest have saidthey’re making moves to curb ads that promote false information about the climate crisis

Musk’s Twitter To Lift Ban On Political Ads ‘In Coming Weeks

Twitter plans to lift its restrictions on political ads, saying it would immediately allow issue-based paid content on the platform while political advertisements will return “in the coming weeks.”

The announcement comes as advertisers have fled the platform in droves after Elon Musk’s takeover last October, which was followed by a spike in hate speech and the reinstatement of several previously-banned right-wing accounts. The move also puts Twitter in alignment with several of the other major social media companies, such as Meta’s Facebook and Google’s YouTube, which both allow paid political content. One notable exception is ByteDance’s TikTok, which still has a ban on political advertising.

Lifting bans on advertisements from politicians and issue-based groups — which have been in place since 2019 — could potentially lead to more revenue for Twitter. Reversal of course: Twitter Safety’s account announced the changes in a tweet Tuesday evening, saying, “We believe that cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics. Today, we’re relaxing our ads policy for cause-based ads in the US.” The company also announced plans to expand political advertising, but didn’t set a specific time frame beyond “weeks.”

It’s the latest in a series of Musk moves that have reversed policies that were put in place under former CEO and cofounder Jack Dorsey. Dorsey banned all political ads in November 2019, saying in an October 2019 Twitter thread that paying for political reach “has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.

Why Bloomberg Would Make An Acquisition

Dylan Byers of Puck writes about why Michael Bloomberg would acquire another media company such as The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal — even though the company said no talks have happened.

Byers writes, “Unless Bezos wakes up one morning and decides to overhaul the Post, Mike Bloomberg may be the sole media entrepreneur with the ambition—and Bloomberg News the sole U.S.-based outlet with the infrastructure and financial capital—to give the Times a run for its money. And an acquisition of the Journal or the Post could conceivably get him the subscriber base and cachet to start that effort in earnest. A Journal acquisition would make Bloomberg the indisputable leader in business and financial news, while a Post acquisition would confer unparalleled political influence, catapult the combined asset into a global news behemoth overnight, and immediately make it competitive with the Times, if not superior. And sure, none of it may happen. But an $80-billion man can dream, and dream aloud.

“The only difference between now and all those other previous reports is that nowadays—with the Post newsroom on edge and The Journal reeling from the defenestration of top editor Matt Murray in favor of Emma Tucker, a Murdoch favorite—it may not just be Bloomberg’s dream. Hundreds of journalists are probably going to sleep fantasizing about his potential ownership, too.”

 

Can Print Editions Survive The Decline Of Advertising At The Boston Globe And Elsewhere?

One of my correspondents urged me to look at the print edition of today’s Boston Globe and count up the ads. I did — and I didn’t even have to use the fingers on two hands. There were two quarter-page ads and two smaller ads in the A section and a full page of auto dealers in the sports section on page C3. And that was it. Monday’s paper was actually a little meatier, and here we are just a few shopping days before Christmas. Tuesday is generally a down day for newspaper advertising, so I expect it will pick up the rest of the week. Still, the ongoing decline is real.

The perennial question is whether the Globe will cut back on print days, as a number of daily papers have across the country. Not necessarily. The Globe charges about $1,400 a year for home delivery of the print edition, and that’s a lot of money. Maybe it’s also enough to keep seven-day print alive. After all, it would be difficult to offer just four, five or six print editions a week without also cutting the price.

At some point, I think it’s likely that most daily papers will have one big weekend print edition with digital-only the rest of the week. But when that will happen is anyone’s guess. As recently as a year ago, about 55% of the Globe’s consumer revenue came from its print edition even though digital subscriptions have long since left print circulation in the dust. Print will last as long as it continues to make sense economically

British Newspaper The Guardian Says It’s Been Hit By Ransomware

British newspaper The Guardian has confirmed its systems have been hit by a “serious IT incident,” which it believes is likely a ransomware attack.

The Guardian, whose media editor was first to report the incident, said that the incident began late on Tuesday and has affected parts of the company’s IT infrastructure. “There has been a serious incident which has affected our IT network and systems in the last 24 hours,” Guardian Media Group chief executive Anna Bateson and editor-in-chief Katharine Viner said in a note to employees: “We believe this to be a ransomware attack but are continuing to consider all possibilities.”

As a result, the publisher said it’s experiencing disruption to “behind the scenes” services, and employees have been told to work remotely for the rest of the week. However, the company says that online publishing is largely unaffected, adding that it was “confident” it could still produce Thursday’s print newspaper.

Further details about the attack remain vague, and it’s unclear how The Guardian’s systems were compromised, whether data was stolen or whether it received a ransom demand. Ransomware actors typically exfiltrate then threaten to publish a victim’s personal data unless a ransom demand is paid.

It’s also unclear who is behind the attack, and the incident doesn’t yet appear to have been claimed by any major ransomware group. When reached by email, a spokesperson for The Guardian — who declined to provide their name

— would not answer TechCrunch’s questions.

News organizations have become regular targets for cyberattacks. In September, hackers breached the internal systems of U.S. business publication Fast Company to send offensive push notifications to Apple News users.

The New York Post also confirmed that it was hacked in October. However, the company later claimed that a rogue employee was to blame for the “unauthorized conduct,” but declined to say what evidence the newspaper had to show that the employee was to blame

Kentucky Press Association Receives $12,500 To Develop Curriculum That Teaches The Role Of Media In Democracy

The SNPA Foundation has awarded $12,500 to the Kentucky Press Association to help fund the development of curriculum for schools that helps restore the belief that a strong media presence is essential to our democracy. The goal is to build a generation that understands the value of local journalism, who will stand as advocates today and in the future for their local newspapers.

“This is not a NIE program,” said David Thompson of the Kentucky Press Association. “It is a program designed to help newspapers make trips to local schools, regardless of where they live, and teach important concepts such as why a free press is protected by the US Constitution, how to distinguish between truth and misinformation, news versus opinion.

“We want this program eventually to be accessible to any newspaper across America and are currently developing curriculum for fifth grade, middle school and the high school level.”

SNPA Foundation Chair PJ Browning commented, “We appreciated the different approach to education and connecting newspapers to communities. We are pleased the Kentucky Press Association is planning on opening the results of this effort to papers all across America.”

The SNPA Foundation considers funding requests for programs and initiatives that support educational opportunities for the advancement of newspaper industry leaders, the creation of sustainable business models, and the technology that supports the advancement of the news eco-system.

The SNPA Foundation is especially interested in seeding projects that may start “locally,” but include the possibility of scaling to a national level; that have a broad impact on the public; or that enrich the racial diversity of professional ranks by drawing more talent into the newspaper industry

Omnibus Spending Bill Reportedly Omits Assistance For Local News

The $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that’s making its way through Congress reportedly contains nothing to ease the local news crisis. An emailed news bulletin from the trade publication Editor & Publisher, citing unnamed sources, reported this morning that both the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) and the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA) have been excluded from the bill.

For those of you who don’t follow these issues obsessively, let me unpack this a bit.

The JCPA would allow an antitrust exemption for news organizations so that they could bargain collectively with Google and Facebook for a share of their advertising revenues. You often hear news executives complain that the giant platforms are republishing their content without paying for it. That is a serious distortion. On the other hand, there’s no doubt that Google and Facebook, which control about half the digital advertising market, benefit significantly from linking to and sharing news.

The LJSA would create three tax credits that would benefit local news organizations. The first would allow consumers to write off the cost of subscriptions. The second would provide a tax benefit to businesses for buying ads. The third would grant tax write-offs to publishers for hiring and retaining journalists. That last provision was included in President Biden’s Bill Back Better bill, which Senate Republicans, joined by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, killed last year.

The demise of the JCPA is not entirely bad news. I thought it might be worth giving it a try to see what the two sides might come up with. Still, there was a lot of merit to the argument made by critics like Chris Krewson, executive director of LION (Local Independent Online News) Publishers, that most of the revenues would be diverted to large legacy newspaper publishers — including those owned by corporate chain owners and hedge funds — rather than to community-based start-ups.

The LJSA, on the other hand, was more intriguing, even though it would also benefit legacy newspapers. For one thing, the tax credits could provide a real lifeline to small local news projects. For another, the third provision, for publishers, would reward the large chain owners only for good behavior — Gannett and Alden Global Capital could not tap into that credit if they keep laying off journalists.

I’m guessing that this is the end of the road for both proposals given that the Republicans will take over the House in the next few weeks. That’s not entirely a bad thing. As Ellen Clegg and I have found in our research at “What Works,” local news organizations across the country, from for-profit legacy newspapers to nonprofit digital start-ups, are finding innovative ways to continue serving their communities.

The economic challenges facing news organizations is real, but in many cases they can be managed with innovative thinking and committed local ownership.

 

How The Wall Street Journal Hopes To Reach Young News Consumers On Tiktok

With its recently introduced TikTok channel, The Wall Street Journal has joined a number of other legacy publishers working to reach Gen Z and young millennial audiences on the platform, where many of these consumers are getting their news.

The Wall Street Journal launched its TikTok channel on Oct. 3, and since then the channel has grown to over 37,000 followers and 600,000 likes. It’s focused on three core content pillars: careers, personal finance and tech. Some videos also cover trending news stories, like the recent changes at Twitter and Taylor Swift’s concert ticket sales.

In a survey published last week, the Reuters Institute and University of Oxford revealed that 25% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 are using TikTok for news. About half of the world’s top newsrooms are now regularly posting on TikTok, according to the report. The Washington Post’s popular TikTok channel has 1.5 million followers. Vox, Vice, BuzzFeed, The Los Angeles Times and Condé Nast have all recently expanded their efforts on the platform, as well.

At The Wall Street Journal, the TikTok channel is managed by the publisher’s visual storytelling team, which falls under its broader social team. The team collaborates regularly with different departments across the newsroom, such as the video and live journalism teams. The New Ventures team, which was created in the spring of 2021 to expand audio and video initiatives across Dow Jones, is also working with the Journal’s TikTok team. “We need to introduce The Wall Street Journal brand to audiences that might not otherwise engage with it,” said Ann McGowan, svp of New Ventures. “If we’re only reporting in text, we miss that opportunity.

American Press Institute’s Beyond Print Program Awards $60,000 In Grants To Four News Organizations To Test Digital Revenue Strategies

The American Press Institute awarded grants to four news organizations participating in the Beyond Print program, a cohort designed to guide publishers away from print-centric revenue models toward a sustainable digital future. The challenge fund granted $15,000 to each participating organization to help them test new ideas to create and expand their digital models.

Since May, the cohort has learned from experts at organizations that have reduced their print frequency about best practices for internal and external communication around changes, including boosting customer service; logistical considerations for moving from carrier delivery to mail delivery; and increasing digital offerings. Cohort members have focused on attracting audiences with new digital products and sustaining current reader revenue streams to allow them more time to increase their digital subscriber base and diversify revenue. These efforts have included moving subsets of 7-day-a-week print subscribers to digital-only, offering digital-plus Sunday print edition packages and more.

Each organization received funding to support the following work:

• La Voz at The Arizona Republic will launch and promote a texting service to provide housing news to Latine audiences in the Phoenix area to help grow its overall digital audience.

• The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will run paid social media campaigns to grow the newsletter audience for Access Atlanta, an entertainment site aimed at attracting audiences who don’t already engage with the AJC brand.

• The Philadelphia Inquirer introduced a six-day-a-week mail delivery service to select ZIP codes. They are now launching a campaign to win back former subscribers in those ZIP codes with this more reliable delivery option.

• The Seattle Times has created The Seattle Times Weekend edition, a hybrid of the Saturday and Sunday newspapers, delivered to print subscribers who have moved to 6-day-a-week mail delivery.

“The work of these organizations will help inform best practices for other newspapers looking to make the urgent and crucial shift to reduce their reliance on print revenues. We look forward to sharing the lessons from these initiatives widely across the industry,” said Emily Ristow, API’s director of local news transformation

Florida Press Association Receives A $30,750 Grant From The SNPA Foundation To Promote Newspaper Sales Careers

The SNPA Foundation has announced a $30,700 grant to fund a Florida Press Association project to inform sales students across America about the evolving and growing career opportunities at newspapers. There are over 200 Universities with sales majors. Newspapers are not on their radar.

The Florida Press Association began this unique project with a small pilot with an “Elevate Your Pitch” sales competition for university students with sales majors. The association’s next steps are to make that presentation to a larger group of students across America, to recruit newspaper executives to speak at the schools, and to create a jobs board to let students know about the many sales opportunities in newspapers.

“We could not have begun this exciting journey without the crucial funding from the SNPA Foundation,” says Jim Fogler, president and CEO of the Florida Press Foundation. “Newspapers have a great story to tell, and we believe if we can get newspapers in front of the sales students at these 200 universities, we have a chance to capture some of the best and brightest young minds to be part of our industry.”

SNPA Foundation Board Chair, PJ Browning said, “This is the kind of innovative work, that can scale nationally and help all newspapers, that the SNPA Foundation wants to fund. We commend Jim Fogler and his team for pushing an excellent project forward to the next level.”

The SNPA Foundation considers funding requests for programs and initiatives that support educational opportunities for the advancement of newspaper industry leaders, the creation of sustainable business models, and the technology that supports the advancement of the news eco-system.

The SNPA Foundation is especially interested in seeding projects that may start “locally,” but include the possibility of scaling to a national level; that have a broad impact on the public; or that enrich the racial diversity of professional ranks by drawing more talent into the newspaper industry

Alliance For Audited Media, BPA Worldwide Agree To Merge

Pending Member Vote, Industry Auditing Organizations Join Forces to Increase Assurance Across Media Channels

The boards of directors of the Alliance for Audited Media and BPA Worldwide have unanimously approved a plan for the two companies to merge. The two not-for-profit media auditing organizations are joining forces to increase trust and assurance across media channels through innovative service development.

The combined not-for-profit company plans to leverage its complementary expertise to provide a comprehensive suite of services to increase transparency and accountability in media, differentiate high-quality media outlets and service providers, and allow buyers to choose quality and maximize return on media investments.

“Demand for increased digital advertising assurance is a driving force in bringing AAM and BPA together,” explained Chris Black, SVP, global lead for Zenith and AAM chairman. “Combining our expertise will be a catalyst for more transparency, better services and increased confidence across the industry.”

“BPA and AAM share a common vision to help buyers buy better and quality sellers sell more,” added David Adelman, founder and CEO of OCD Media and BPA chairman. “Together, we will do this across channels — websites, newsletters, events, print, out-of-home, podcasts and ad tech — and across compliance areas such as advertising, editorial, privacy and sustainability.”

AAM and BPA members will vote on the merger in January 2023. Pending member and regulatory approval, the merger is expected to be completed in spring 2023. AAM’s CEO and managing director, Tom Drouillard, will be CEO. BPA’s CEO, Rich Murphy, will be president. More information is available in the AAM/BPA Merger Resource Hub.

About the Alliance for Audited Media The Alliance for Audited Media powers transparency and collaboration between North America’s leading media professionals. With more than 100 years of experience in print and digital media audits, AAM is an industry recognized leader in cross-media verification with unparalleled expertise across channels including web, mobile, email and print. Today AAM offers an avenue for media buyers and sellers to connect, forge relationships and transact with trust by delivering authentic, credible data. To learn how AAM brings trust and transparency to today’s media industry, visit auditedmedia.com.

About BPA Worldwide BPA Worldwide is in the business of providing assurance. For 80+ years as a not-for-profit assurance service provider, BPA was originally created by advertisers, advertising agencies and the media industry to audit audience claims used in the buying and selling of advertising. Performing nearly 1,000 annual audits of media channels in more than 15 countries, BPA is a trusted resource for compliance and assurance services.

 

NY Times Union Says Over 1,000 Journalists Will Walk Out Next Week

More than 1,000 union employees at the New York Times have pledged to walk out if the news publisher does not agree to a complete and fair contract by Thursday, according to a tweet by the union on Friday.

The NYT NewsGuild has sought wages that “keep up with inflation” as well as to preserve and enhance health insurance and retirement benefits that were promised during hiring, according to a letter signed by 1,036 members. “We will walk out and stop work for 24 hours, on Thursday, Dec. 8, if we do not have a deal for a complete and equitable contract by then,” the letter read.

The members of the union are also asking for remote work flexibility among other demands. A NYT spokesperson said “while we are disappointed that the NewsGuild is threatening to strike, we are prepared to ensure The Times continues to serve our readers without disruption,” adding that the company’s current wage proposal offered “significant increases.”

Earlier in March, a group of nearly 600 tech employees at the New York Times voted to unionize as the company faced claims it unlawfully interfered with labor organizing

Gannett Initiates Another Round Of Layoffs, Cutting Its News Division By 6%

Gannett started another round of layoffs Thursday, just four months after the company terminated hundreds of employees. The layoffs, which will continue into Friday, are part of Gannett’s efforts to cut its news division staff of 3,440 by 6%. That amounts to roughly 200 layoffs.

News division head Henry Faure Walker first warned journalists about impending layoffs on Nov. 17. He wrote in an email to staff that Gannett’s news division costs are too high and that the company needed to enter the new year in a “stronger economic position.” Gannett is the largest newspaper chain in the country with more than 200 dailies.

Faure Walker’s November email mentioned that Gannett was taking “similar actions” in its other divisions. Spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton confirmed Thursday that other divisions are also undergoing reductions, but the majority of individuals impacted during this week’s cuts are part of the news organization. She declined to answer questions about which papers and positions have been affected. “While incredibly difficult, implementing these efficiencies and responding decisively to the ongoing macroeconomic volatility will continue to propel Gannett’s future,” Anton wrote in an emailed statement.

Journalists started to receive notices Thursday morning. Among those affected were reporters at flagship paper USA Today and producers working on Gannett’s digital optimization team.

Gannett intends to eliminate all of its DOT regionals, according to an email the company sent to the Atlantic DOT Guild, the union representing producers on the Atlantic team. Though the teams will not be dissolved until Dec. 9, Gannett has already started laying off DOT employees. Fifty of 125 total employees were notified Thursday that their positions had been eliminated

New Zealand Plans Law To Require Facebook, Google To Pay For News

The New Zealand government said it will introduce a law that will require big online digital companies such as Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) to pay New Zealand media companies for the local news content that appears on their feeds.

Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson said in a statement on Sunday that the legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada and he hoped it would act as an incentive for the digital platforms to reach deals with local news outlets. “New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online,” Jackson said. “It is critical that those benefiting from their news content actually pay for it.”

The new legislation will go to a vote in parliament where the governing Labour Party’s majority is expected to pass it.Australia introduced a law in 2021 that gave the government power to make internet companies negotiate content supply deals with media outlets. A review released by the Australian government last week found it largely worked

America’s Newspapers Receives Support From The SNPA Foundation

The SNPA Foundation has announced that America’s Newspapers is the recipient of a $10,000 grant to help fund a national newspaper audience survey. The survey results will provide a detailed look at the expansive audience that newspapers deliver, and the critical position that newspapers hold in their markets. This information will be available to anyone in the industry, with detailed marketing components from the survey supplied to members of the America’s Newspapers Association at no charge.

Dean Ridings, CEO of the newspaper trade association America’s Newspapers, said, “We are excited and grateful for the support of the SNPA Foundation. Part of the research will cover the public’s view of public notices, which we think will provide excellent support for newspapers’ retaining public notices. America’s Newspapers Board of Directors believes this research is so important that ten board members have contributed to this important project.”

“We are thrilled to help America’s Newspapers,” said PJ Browning, the chair of the SNPA Foundation. The SNPA Foundation looks for unique projects like this, which can be scaled to help newspapers across the country. This worthy project does an excellent job of fitting our mission and the vision of the original founders of the SNPA Foundation.

The SNPA Foundation considers funding requests for programs and initiatives that support educational opportunities for the advancement of newspaper industry leaders, the creation of sustainable business models, and the technology that supports the advancement of the news eco-system.

The SNPA Foundation is especially interested in seeding projects that may start “locally,” but include the possibility of scaling to a national level; that have a broad impact on the public; or that enrich the racial diversity of professional ranks by drawing more talent into the newspaper industry.

 

Our Business Model Is Dead Simple

DAN, a US hyperlocal newspaper, built a sustainable revenue stream by charging its 500 subscribers $10 a month for a low-tech newsletter

For the past couple of decades, local news has been struggling everywhere but the problem is particularly visible in the US where large swathes of the country turned into news deserts. These are often poorer, less-wired areas where communities lack credible sources of information about their local institutions which harms local democracy.

But new local outlets also spring up and do well. Take Downtown Albuquerque News (DAN), a hyperlocal newspaper created in 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US, covering a zone of about 30,000 people.

Instead of resenting the platforms, chasing philanthropic funding or trying to monetise everything else but journalism, DAN makes money with a simple, low-tech newsletter. 100 per cent reader-funded, it does not advertise or sell anything. Its founder and editor Peter Rice said that, even before Google and Facebook, advertising money has been hard and time-consuming to chase. For small, local newsrooms, it means more admin and less time for journalism.

“For ten bucks a month you know what’s going on” DAN publishes hyperlocal stories about “stuff you are wondering about when you walk around your neighbourhood”, like whether new restaurants or construction works.

The company is a family business. Rice works with his wife Lindsay Wood and dad David Lee. The revenue model could not be much simpler. All stories are emailed once a week to some 500 subscribers and nothing is given away for free online. The subscription is either weekly ($10) or annual ($100) and that is about it. “The paywall is as hard as it gets,” says Rice. “The website could go down for a week and it wouldn’t matter.”

Journalists Go On Strike, Citing Unfair Labor Practices By Parent Company

Reporters and other news staff members at Fort Worth Star-Telegram held signs and chanted Monday as they walked along a sidewalk near 7th Street. “What do we want?” “Fair contract!” “When do we want it? Now!” Journalists at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the union members of the Fort Worth NewsGuild hold signs during a picket event Nov. 28, 2022. Union members are striking in response to what it alleges is unfair labor practices by the newspaper’s parent company, McClatchy. The newsroom’s union alleges the newspaper’s parent company, McClatchy, is not bargaining a contract in good faith. McClatchy is now owned by hedge-fund Chatham Asset Management. The union filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint in August. McClatchy also has two other complaints against it – one for repudiation/modification of a contract and another for refusal to furnish information.

Of union card holding members, 21 of 23 went on strike Monday at the Star-Telegram, said Kaley Johnson, vice president of the Fort Worth NewsGuild. There’s 27 eligible union members in the newsroom.

The strike is two years in the making, said Johnson, a justice reporter for the Star-Telegram. She said McClatchy has refused to move on contract negotiations. Among the union’s proposals is a $57,500 wage floor. McClatchy countered with a $45,000 wage floor.

“What we and other McClatchy unionized papers have seen repeatedly is that McClatchy comes to the table and does not move at all,” Johnson said. “So we’ll submit a proposal and they’ll send us back their initial proposal, which sometimes is existing company policy, and then they’ll do that again and again and again.”

The strike will not end until a fair contract has been reached, Johnson said. Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees who strike because of unfair labor practices cannot be fired or replaced while striking.

Gannett Braces For 200 More Layoffs This Week

Cutbacks could effect three South Jersey daily newspapers; six other N.J. papers protected by union

Thursday and Friday will be tough days at Gannett, which will lay off about 200 more employees this week, according to a Poynter report. The latest round of cuts follows 400 layoffs over the summer, with an additional 400 vacant positions that will remain unfilled.

It’s not immediately clear how many layoffs will come from Gannett-owned newspapers in New Jersey, if any. Employees of the six Gannett newspapers that have unionized will not be affected by the move, since they are in the process of negotiating a contract. That puts employees of the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and Daily Journal in jeopardy. Some reporters at other newspapers could accept a buyout package.

The holiday season layoffs have also left Gannett employees in suspense for the last two weeks. “While we have taken several steps already, we must enter the new year in a stronger economic position, and the reality is that our news cost base is currently too high for the revenues it generates,” wrote Henry Faure Walker, Gannett’s interim U.S. News president, in a memo to employees sent on November 16. “Regretfully, this means we will be implementing further reductions.”

Five South Jersey journalists lost their jobs in August, including Deborah Marko, who had spent 37 years as a reporter for the Gannett newspapers

What Our Independent News Experts Learned From Auditing 75 News Businesses

Takeaways from the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding program

Independent news founders are seeing how audience research strategies can pay off, embracing the business side of their newsrooms, and continuing to demonstrate just how well they can serve audiences even with small scrappy teams.

Those are some of the bright spots our 27 Sustainability Audit analysts identified after helping us compile customized reports for 75 LION members so far this year. (We just announced our final 25 audit recipients for the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits & Funding program and look forward to sharing insights we gleaned across all 100 audits early next year).

“One of the most exciting things about being a sustainability analyst is when you see how much thinking in the local news space has evolved,” said analyst Maria Archangelo, chief revenue officer of Open Campus, and a long-time leader of high-performing revenue, fundraising, sales, and membership teams for news organizations.

That evolution, Archangelo said, has led to news businesses creating better products, finding sustainable and scalable ways to understand what audiences want and developing creative strategies to generate revenue.

 

Hearst And Michael Clinton Launch Digital Content Platform For 50+ Audience

Michael Clinton and Hearst are going after a segment that may have been underrepresented to date: The “Re-Imagineers:” people age 50+.

Clinton and Hearst have introduced ROAR, a B2B digital content platform, consumer membership community and intelligence insights provider. Clinton founded the new entity with Hearst as partner and investor. “Today’s 50-plusyear-olds represent 35% of the population,” Clinton states. “As longevity increases, this group is completely redefining their futures, rejecting old patterns of work and lifestyle.” Clinton adds that this includes “working longer, becoming entrepreneurs, developing new fitness and wellness regimens and more.”

These Re-Imagineers are driving the “New Longevity economy,” Clinton adds. It controls 70% of all the wealth in the U.S. and 60% of consumer spending power. Publishers and marketers desperately striving to reach Gen Z may find new opportunity in the 50+ cohort with tools from ROAR.

ROAR is an outgrowth of Clinton’s book, “ROAR into the second half of life.” Clinton was named senior media advisor to the CEO of Hearst in 2019.

In 21 years at the company, Clinton had served as president of marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines, starting in 2010, and was a member of the board of directors of Hearst Corporation.

America’s Newspapers And Google News Initiative Launch North America Subscriptions Lab

Eight America’s Newspapers members have been selected to participate in the 2022 Google News Initiative North America Subscriptions Lab. These newspapers include The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon), Denton Record-Chronicle, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, The Denver Gazette, Shaw Media, Dayton Daily News, The Sumter Item and Yakima Herald-Republic. Additionally, The Hill Times, Les coops de l’information, SaltWire Network and The Daily Memphian were selected to participate.

Delivered in collaboration with FT Strategies, the seven-month program is an ambitious and intensive experience addressing every step of the digital subscriptions process and aims to give participating news organizations the tools to achieve rapid improvement in key subscriptions metrics. Participants will receive customized consulting and handson support as they develop their subscriptions strategies, learn from industry experts and collaborate with other cohort members.

“We’re excited to welcome the new cohort of publishers to create meaningful impact to their subscriptions revenue,” said Sibel Lowin, Global Partnerships Solutions Lead at Google. “The Google News Initiative works to strengthen the news industry globally in the digital age, and that includes news organizations developing sustainable business models. We look forward to sharing the lessons we learn along the way with the greater news ecosystem.”

Dean Ridings, CEO of America’s Newspapers, added, “The GNI Subscriptions Lab is going to provide strategic guidance to our members who are participating in this program. We are glad to be able to partner with GNI to make this program available and are looking forward to measurable improvements as a result. The team at GNI have dedicated significant resources to create a program that will have lasting value.”

Detroit Free Press Journalists Reach Labor Deal Amid Uncertainty

Detroit Free Press journalists recently ratified a new, two-year collective bargaining agreement as parent company Gannett navigates a dire economic outlook.

Why it matters: Unionized workers for the Free Press have been working on a month-to-month labor deal since its last contract expired in 2019.

• While the deal offers local journalists a thin layer of security, the prospect of future job cuts is still looming — Gannett announced more layoffs last week.

Driving the news: Union members unanimously approved the contract Nov. 17.

• The union pushed for raises, but the deal instead includes bonuses of $1,250 in each year of the contract.

Other terms of the agreement include:

• Five unpaid furlough days before the end of the year.

• Wiping pending grievances filed before the deal’s ratification.

What they’re saying: “It’s a good thing for the Free Press. It’s a good thing for Detroit,” Free Press editor and vice president Peter Bhatia tells Axios. “I’m glad we got it done.”

• Bhatia also disputed some of Axios’ previous reporting on the negotiations and the absence of wage increases over the past four years. While raises had not been given across the board, certain individual workers received merit raises.

The bottom line: The deal is a welcome development for Free Press journalists in the short term, but Gannett’s grim forecast casts a cloud of uncertainty over the newsroom heading into 2023.