America’s New Print-Only Newspaper Reinvents The Art Of Reading Slowly

The retro-look County Highway costs $8.50, is published six times a year – and will never be available online

In a digital age of 24-hour rolling news, newspapers worldwide are investing resources in their online editions. But a US publisher has gone back in time by launching a print-only broadsheet in the style of a 19th-century newspaper.

Called County Highway, it is responding to a demand from readers for in-depth stories and writing that needs time to savour. It will not have an internet edition.

Focusing primarily on the US and publishing every two months, it has a format partly inspired by Charles Dickens and other 19th-century authors whose stories were serialised in journals. It will include serialised books from its own new publishing house – an independent company that is taking on the conglomerates that dominate the industry.

“People read differently on the printed page than they do on a screen,” said the newspaper’s editor, David Samuels. “The printed page is an immersive experience without constant distractions or the spectre of other people’s responses on social media. It’s a much more enriching and human experience.”

An editor’s note co-written with Walter Kirn, the newspaper’s editor-at-large, observes: “Some of our articles are funny, and others are written by people who are seriously pissed off or who believe that the world is coming to an end.”

It adds: “We hope to advance the same relationship to America that Bob Dylan had when he wrote his versions of folk songs … We have the same relationship to our subjects that Mark Twain and William Faulkner and Ralph Ellison and Tom Wolfe had when they wrote about America and Americans.

Major News Publishers Block The Bots As ChatGPT Starts Taking Live News

ChatGPT’s threat to news publishers looms larger than ever as it prepares to start reading up-to-date new stories- instead of relying on a database that has not been updated in two years.

The UK’s Independent Publishers Alliance is urging its members to block crawling access for OpenAI and Google as soon as possible while an AI strategist told Press Gazette it is a “tricky time” for publishers – especially if they are expected to opt out of each generative AI company separately. Until now OpenAI’s ChatGPT was only able to use information up to September 2021, the cut-off date for its training database.

But paying ChatGPT Plus and Enterprise users can now get “current and authoritative information” in answers from the chatbot and this will be expanded to all users “soon”. OpenAI also promised to provide “direct links to sources”.

The change will mean users can ask ChatGPT questions relating to current affairs, with answers likely trained on content from news publishers across the world who will lose out on traffic if people find out what they want to know without ever having to go to the original source. It could prove an extension of the rise in “zero click searches” in which search engine results pages give users the answers they want directly without them needing to click through to articles that may have originated the information.

The move comes as publishers continue to grapple with whether to block ChatGPT’s bot, and equivalent crawlers from the likes of Google and Bing, from using their content to train datasets.

OpenAI first told publishers how to opt out of scraping in August while in the past few weeks both Google and Bing have explained to publishers how to similarly opt out of trawling – but, crucially, not get blocked from their search results.

The Remaking Of The Wall Street Journal

Tucker, who took over as top editor in February, was addressing a group that had been, to a large degree, tentatively optimistic about their energetic new boss. But many were also unnerved by the speed of the changes she had already made to traditions some viewed as core to the character and success of The Journal, one of the world’s premier business publications.

At least 15 veteran editors and writers have left the paper in recent months. Long-held stylistic practices, such as the use of courtesy titles in articles, were disposed of overnight. The Journal’s chief enterprise editor, who had veto power over which big investigative pieces were published and which were discarded, was pushed out.

In the meeting with the newsroom on Sept. 21, a recording of which was obtained by The New York Times, Ms. Tucker signaled that more changes were ahead as she oriented the outlet to better serve a digital audience and tried to shake off what she viewed as unnecessary stuffiness.

The goal, she told them, is to add many new online subscribers by delivering readers expertise and “distinctive” journalism. The organization faces ever-declining print circulation, lower social media traffic and strong competitors, she said, but its current mostly male and older subscriber base means there is a “robust” market of possible new readers.“We need to make our journalism more accessible without in any way diluting the standards or integrity of the reporting,” Ms. Tucker said in an interview a day after she addressed the newsroom. “And I think it’s possible to do both.”

A Local News Funder Talks Candidly About National And Local Funding

A few weeks ago, right after the Press Forward initiative was announced, I asked for reader reactions. My friend (and onetime client) Molly de Aguiar, president of the Independence Public Media Foundation, sent an email on the relationship between national and local funders.

I thought a conversation about her viewpoint might make an interesting column of its own. Here’s that conversation, edited for length and clarity. It’s also a bit of an experiment with what might be an occasional new format for Second Rough Draft. As always, your reactions are welcomed.

Q. I think we agree that the only way to really sustainably achieve the vision of reviving local journalism– most recently of Press Forward– is to draw in more local as well as national funding, right? A: I agree with that.

Q: Why? A: We have to increase the overall pie for media funding. $500 million is a nice sounding number, but when you start doing the math, you realize that doesn’t go very far. It’s going to have to become a more collective effort that is embraced and valued by local and national funders (and public funding) — long term work that is going to require a lot of investment from many different players who come together and believe collectively that local news and information is essential.

Q: Isn’t a big part of the problem than national philanthropy in this country is not big enough to simply carry this mission even if it wanted to? A: Right. Also, there are lots of obstacles to unlocking local dollars.

Q: Can you just give people at a very high level your own background and experience in local journalism funding, first in New Jersey, and now in Philadelphia? A: I was the program director of the Informed and Engaged Communities program at the [Geraldine R.] Dodge Foundation in New Jersey, funded with Dodge money, Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund and a few other collaborative grants. We were able to establish some core work that continues to grow and thrive to this day, primarily through the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, along with a lot of community organizing work that Free Press has done throughout New Jersey. That work was really focused on how you build a statewide, connected and collaborative and thriving local news ecosystem that includes lots of different kinds of news and information entities, getting people to be more informed and active in their own communities.