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Local news orgs are thriving (finally): The Media Roundup

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Revenue for hundreds of local news orgs went up in 2021, according to new data

This is a good news story to start the day. The median annual revenue for members of LION Publishers went up by 33% between 2020 and 2021. More than 50 local newsrooms with just one or two full-time employees made more than $100,000 in annual revenue last year.

This isn’t simply a case of 2020 being an awful year. LION credits the progress to increased community investment, philanthropic and member support, and more training resources for founders. “What it all adds up to: a landscape in which an independent news business with only one or two full-time employees can reliably earn more than $100,000 in annual revenue,” they write.

It’s not entirely surprising. When I spoke to four local news start-ups for a special episode in January, they were all well on their way to sustainability. The collapse of legacy local news giants seems to have now opened up the way for more diverse outlets to thrive.

What I’ve learned from listening to 150+ publisher podcasts

I spent Christmas doing longlisting for the Publisher Podcast Awards, which involved listening to more than 150 podcasts produced by publishers. Apart from making me an insufferable dinner guest, what can I draw from it? For publishers, whether you’re looking to start your own podcast or have a jam-packed portfolio, there are a number of learnings I can share from my many, many hours of listening.

G/O Media, with Quartz in tow, eyes an expansion years in the making

The digital media company G/O Media, the publisher of a dozen titles including Gizmodo, Jezebel and Deadspin, turned a profit in 2021 for the first time since its creation three years ago, in large part due to digital ad revenues that rose 53% from 2020. The long transformation has been painful at times, with nine of the ten original editors in chief leaving the company over conflicts with the management team.

Google paying more than 300 EU publishers for news, more to come

Google has signed deals to pay more than 300 publishers in Germany, France and four other EU countries for their news and will roll out a tool to make it easier for others to sign up too. I’ve said many times before this is a ridiculous and opaque system. By all means, take what you can negotiate while the money is flowing. But just look at Facebook’s cost-cutting exercise to see where this is all heading.

This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: