How to create content for Gen Z, news sceptics and time-starved people everywhere
PLUS Making sure that there is an audience need for your new product
TGIF! The first piece resonated with me because it started off with a discussion about how her news diet had changed after the pandemic. Right before the pandemic, I had finally pivoted officially to product management for a media company and away from direct editorial management, but I still was a news junkie. Almost all of my non-entertainment content consumption was news. The pandemic and my master's studies in innovation management radically shifted my media diet so that I rarely listen to news podcasts anymore and I'm much more selective about the news I read. I found that I can figure out the focus of the news cycle in about five minutes.
Kate Lindsay starts off by describing how her news diet had changed and then goes on to talk about Lucy Blakison, the creative force behind, Shit You Should Care About. A newsletter that reminds me of The Skimm, but with a bit more attitude. "Shit You Should Care About is a New Zealand-based, Gen Z-focused mini media empire. It serves millions of followers across Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Substack, plus two podcasts." You'll have to subscribe to listen to the podcast, but the free-to-read summary has some great insights and some conversation starters including a challenge to traditional news organisations should stop "trying to reach Gen Z".
This is an excellent and succinct interview of a media leader - Dimitri Antonissen, deputy editor-in-chief for Het Laatste Nieuws/HLN.be in Antwerp, Belgium- that has some excellent insights. For people working in media innovation management, this one leapt out for me about a project that didn't meet their expectations.
We launched the ambitious project without really determining whether there was a need for it in our audience. Turned out they were not waiting to actively personalise their newsfeed.
Over the past several years, search has supplanted social as the main focus of audience development for many publishers, and with that renewed focus on search, publishers are becoming more sophisticated in how they manage SEO. This is a solid, practical guide on using 'topic clusters' to build up your search authority related to the subjects that you cover most frequently.
Just a taster so that this piece fits into your weekend reading: "Magazines are the original creator economy. They are also a miserable business; yet, almost everyone I meet has a powerful nostalgia for them."
Emily Bell of The Guardian discusses how generative AI will radically ease the production of disinformation. It reminds me of an important lesson from my first editor, Mike Corn of the Hays (Kansas) Daily News. He said that you have to have a dirtier mind than your readers. In technology, this means that you have to think not just about how technology will be used for good but also about how it will be used by bad-faith actors.
Friday afternoon editorialising warning: This is why we're dealing with so much dystopian crap right now and why the world is tilting toward griftocracy. Putin, Trump, Kim Jong-Un - they might all exist somewhere on an autocratic spectrum, but they sit on an extreme end of the griftocratic spectrum: Government for self-enrichment. In Russia, it's beating tanks into super-yachts. If only they just skipped the bit about actually making tanks. Bad faith as a tool of state policy. Ok, that's the end of the political rant and back to writing about media, but I needed to get that one off my chest.
This is good and should be a good guide for other outlets. The use of AI needs to become part of your editorial guidelines and shared with the public.
VR: Meta still pushing it and it looks like it's going to be a niche
Zuck has poured billions into his strategy to create the metaverse, but VR, thus far, has been one of those technologies that come back every few years but still struggle to become mainstream. It is mainly because even now the technology doesn't live up to what people envision it will be in some idealised flying car future.
However, that doesn't mean that Zuck isn't still trying, even if the economy and competition from TikTok have dented his war chest to fund the strategy.
And we have another data point about VR being popular but to a much smaller audience than Zuck might want.