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Local news groups band together for survival: The Media Roundup

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Local news groups band together for survival

In yesterday’s newsletter Esther noted that the era of billionaire-based philanthropy hasn’t actually served newspapers all that well. That might well be why this new coalition of US local news groups believes that philanthropy is only one part of the mix of new revenue sources, rather than the sole leg on which the plan stands.

Rebuild Local News’ plans are ambitious – if reliant on government money, as its president Steve Waldman acknowledges here: “Indeed, government policies of the right sort could help both commercial business models to grow, financing pools to accumulate, and nonprofit local news to expand. We shouldn’t view public policy as being a substitute for the other steps that are essential, but rather as a way of making it more likely that those private efforts will succeed.”

There’s bound to be reticence, and it’s a conversation we had over on this side of the pond in the wake of the Cairncross Review. But even if it’s difficult, the conversation is vital, as the total collapse of local news isn’t doing anyone any good.

Cautious optimism around not using discounts and pricey subs

In line with our prediction that publishers’ priority is moving away from user acquisition at any cost, this piece on WNIP suggests that discounting is being reconsidered at many big publishers – probably in the face of cozzie livs. Keep an eye on this; ARPU is going to be the watchword (watchacronym?) across 2023. Relatedly: Press Gazette has rounded up the most expensive news subscriptions in the UK.

CNET’s AI journalist didn’t just get stuff wrong; it plagiarised, too

lol, lmao. This will be totally unsurprising to those AI doubters, and while the reality of the situation is a little more nuanced, it does appear that plagiAIrism has occurred. As we said on this week’s episode, a lot of the blame can be laid at the feet of the people actually using the tool, but it does illustrate the dangers of going whole hog on AI for creation, not just augmentation.

New waves of media layoffs

First Adweek announced layoffs, and now WaPo has followed suit – and the mood seems to be that many of them are totally unnecessary job cuts. It’s just a steady drip-drip-drip of cuts to the news industry and it never stops being depressing.

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