The Big Issue

By Rédouane Ramdani
8 January 2019
In January 2018, Facebook announced that it was going to distance itself from news by de-prioritizing it from the News Feed. Just one month later, media companies started feeling the impact. LittleThings, which was reaching a 50 million audience seemingly overnight thanks to Facebook, was no more. Mic, a millennial news publisher, suffered after the social network canceled a key video programming deal with them and was eventually sold to Bustle for only $5 million. As 2018 comes to a close, it’s becoming clear that unless new business models can be adapted into the U.S. market, media companies that rely on a solo distribution channel/business model will face an uphill battle. More
By Damian Radcliffe
22 December 2018
“For the first time media is the least trusted institution globally,” Edelman, the global PR and marketing firm concluded in its annual worldwide study on trust in institutions like the media, business and government.
These international findings are in line with recent data coming out of the U.S. A 2016 Gallup poll reported that just 32 percent of Americans trusted the mass media, while an Ipsos poll from summer 2018 found that nearly one-third of Americans agreed that the news media is the “enemy of the people.” How did it come to this? More
By Scott S. Bateman
15 December 2018
The death of the newspaper industry is a legend-in-the-making story about managers who oppose change. It’s also a lesson in how to undermine innovation. Business schools and business books often cite the collapse of Eastman Kodak as a leading example of what happens to companies when their managers refuse to innovate. Kodak dominated print photography for decades and fought against the transition to digital until too late. More
By Simon Owens
18 December 2018
The past two decades have not been kind to legacy media outlets, but they’ve been especially brutal for news weeklies — magazines that were specifically designed to summarize each week’s news in an easily digestible format.
Time, which was recently purchased by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff for $190 million, perfectly exemplifies the decline for this genre of magazine. In 1997, Time boasted a print circulation of over 4 million copies; these days its circulation hovers around 2 million. Over that same period, it went from generating $100 million in profits to just $33 million now. It’s projected to generate $36 million in digital revenue this year, which may sound impressive until you consider that Huffington Post was pulling in around the same amount all the way back in 2011 when AOL bought it. More
By Andrew Zaleski
13 December 2018
There was hay here once. Horses, coachmen. Carriages were stored one room over. But that was a long time ago, before this house in lower Manhattan was even on the market, before the construction workers arrived, before the limestone tile for an adjoining hallway was cut, before the hayloft was removed to make room for a spiral staircase and more bookshelves. More
By Ken Doctor
12 December 2018
President Moon Jae-in appointed incumbent KBS President Yang Sung-dong as the new chief of the nation’s largest broadcaster on Monday. KBS' board of directors selected him Yang to continue leading the country’s public broadcaster in October. Following the board's request for presidential approval, the National Assembly’s Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee held a confirmation hearing on him on 19 November. More
By VV Sundar
11 December 2018
Prasar Bharati is finally kicking off a manpower audit encompassing Doordarshan and All India Radio. Sometime back, Doordarshan announced its intent to re-design its antiquated logo. Perhaps nothing came of that exercise. The ‘eye’ logo, as it is popularly known, is easily the most recognised and iconic logo of the decades gone by.
The glacial pace of change at the ‘national’ broadcaster and the fact that it took so long to realise the need for this makeover are both interesting and fascinating. By re-assessing its organisational structures and manpower, for one it is signalling a desire to resuscitate life into a brand that is atrophying. In a way, it also hints at the struggle and efforts to refresh, reinvent and be relevant to the larger audience and stay in tune with the times. More
By Tony Bracks
10 December 2018
The media is an essential part of democracy. In most modern democracies a significant proportion of the people will have never read any policy documents or have never listened to any party speeches. The media is simply their only view of politics. The majority of voters only experience their politicians through brief sound bites in the media or on the internet. People have busy lives and the popularity of politics is quite low in modern democracies. This gives the media quite a large amount of influence. The media in its various forms, from traditional TV and newspapers, through to the more recent social media, get to decide what information and stories to present. More
1 December 2018
Jay Nolan surveys his media empire from a shed-like building outside London, Kentucky. On his desk is a stack of eight newspapers, including the Berea Citizen (“established in 1899”, circulation 4,511), the Mountain Advocate (“since 1904”, circulation 4,500) and the Pineville Sun-Cumberland Courier (“celebrating 109 years”, circulation 1,646). More
By Patrick Kingsley and Benjamin Novak
24 November 2018
Hungary’s leading news website, Origo, had a juicy scoop: A top aide to the far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban, had used state money to pay for sizable but unexplained expenses during secret foreign trips. The story embarrassed Mr. Orban and was a reminder that his country still had an independent press.
But that was in 2014. Today, Origo is one of the prime minister’s most dutiful media boosters, parroting his attacks on migrants and on George Soros, the Hungarian-American philanthropist demonized by the far right on both sides of the Atlantic. More
By Alex Veeneman
14 November 2018
10pm — Thursday, November 1st. The audio of a segment on what you can and cannot wear on Election Day in Minnesota echoes from the television in the front room of my apartment. I’m sitting at my desk in the office a few steps away. My headphones are on, but I’m not feeling myself.
What is on my mind at this late hour as the metropolis that is Minneapolis is all aglow with light outside my window is three-fold— my personal future, my professional future and the future of journalism, along with those who work in it. To say that I am scared is just the tip of the iceberg. More
By Maria Teresa Ronderos
2 November 2018
Many large newsrooms and news agencies have, for some time, relegated sports, weather, stock exchange movements and corporate performance stories to computers. Surprisingly, machines can be more rigorous and comprehensive than some reporters. Unlike many journalists who often single-source stories, software can import data from various sources, recognise trends and patterns and, using Natural Language Processing, put those trends into context, constructing sophisticated sentences with adjectives, metaphors and similes. Robots can now convincingly report on crowd emotions in a tight soccer match. More
By Joshua Benton
1 November 2018
The Failing New York Times released its third-quarter numbers this morning and, well, if the rest of the news industry was doing this well, we could shut down Nieman Lab and grab some worry-free beach time in warmer climes. Its ongoing transition from print to digital revenue has been managed without the staffing disruption just about everyone has seen, and it continues to see significant jumps in paying digital subscribers, seven years after launching the paywall and two years after its initial Trump bump. More
By Karen Rundlet
16 October 2018
If news and information are part of the fabric of democracy, then the fabric of U.S. democracy is in tatters. That’s the conclusion that leaps off the map in the 2018 The Expanding News Deserts report, which shows that 171 U.S. counties do not have a local newspaper, and nearly half all counties — 1,449 — have only one newspaper, usually a weekly. The report by Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, shines the light on a silent phenomenon, the disappearance of 1,800 newspapers since 2004, and drop by half of the number of reporters covering local news. More
By Michael K. Spencer
12 October 2018
The battle for the future of the smart home might also be the end game for the future of advertising. With Facebook all but irrelevant there, the likely scenario is Amazon vs. Google. This is what we are seeing with Alexa devices vs. Google Home (Google Assistant) smart speakers. More
By Karen Hao
7 October 2018
When Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg promised Congress that AI would help solve the problem of fake news, he revealed little in the way of how. New research brings us one step closer to figuring that out. More
By Jessica Clark
5 October 2018
For those wondering how the much-ballyhooed blockchain economy might help to bolster funding for nonfiction media, the launch of Civil is a proof-of-concept moment. This first-of-its-kind network of news organizations just opened the sale of CVL tokens—a digital coin that supporters can buy to either donate to participating newsrooms or play a role in deciding how the network itself should evolve. More