Ping! A promising new model for local journalism in the UK

Public broadcasters need to lean into data to improve success for their podcasts

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Americans at home, or like me, abroad. I hope that you have a wonderful day of food, family and gratitude. It is my favourite holiday because I believe in the importance in pausing and giving thanks. I am off much of this week to spend time with my family so enjoy this single installment of the newsletter this week.

Amidst a lot of gloom in local journalism circles in the US and UK, I always appreciate a dose of positive news and examples. Ping! is a fascinating idea that allows indie local journalists to be compensated for their work. It’s effectively an indie news wire for local content, and I think it’s a fascinating model.

And the MyLocal Lincolnshire model is fascinating in its own way. It is a mobile-first model that works to overcome the issues of “(p)oor user experience, reliance on social and search, and fickle programmatic ad revenue”. It is promising to hear about a mobile-first local platform. I wish there were a few more details about monetisation, but it’s hopeful. I’ll take that.

This caught my eye because when I worked in public media in the US there was so much demand for podcasts from the staff, even though they often failed to find an audience. I am unconvinced that quality alone will find an audience without a clear sense of who the podcast is for and without a solid audience development strategy. In reading this, the one thing that I wholeheartedly agree with is the need for better use of market research and data if there is any hope for these podcasts to be successful.

This is very un-Guardian, I say as a former Guardian employee: They are innovating commercially. But more of this needs to happen. As a recovering journalist, I appreciate editorial innovation, but to create new models for media sustainability, we need commercial innovation as well.

Jeff always delivers a good rant, and this is classic BuzzMachine. It is useful in that he allows us an audience of the powerful at a World Economic Forum event as they discuss one of the most disruptive technologies since the advent of the internet - artificial intelligence. This comment jumped out at me: “One participant at WEF quoted Altman in a recent interview, saying that the company’s mission is to figure out how to make AGI, then figure out how to make it safe, and then figure out its benefits. This, the participant said, is the wrong order. What we need is not to make AI safe but to make safe AI.”

Ultimately though, I think that technologists and policy makers should remember that people are wary of AI. They don’t want to turn over media and journalism to AI, and I would suspect after the economic displacement in advanced economies during the first two decades of this century, people are understandably wary of the possibility of new sources of upheaval in their lives.

I’m not sure that this is a new model as much as the continuation of a model where wealthy new owners come to rescue or revive media brands that have fallen on hard times. Isn’t this just the consumer version of moneyed owners of major newspapers in the US such as the owner of the Boston Globe?

This is something that I realised long ago that my work as a journalist was disappearing. I am old enough to have done research using micro-fiche of old newspapers, not to mention when I did research of old bound copies of The Times (of London) at the University of Illinois library. There was a sense that digital media would be more durable than these frail physical media. If only! Even at the BBC where I worked, many of the videos and audio that I did are no longer available because they are in a format - RealMedia - that is no longer supported. And many of the stories at employers like Gannett are now behind paywalls that I cannot access. Oddly, the physical copies of the stories I wrote in my first job in the mid-90s are now more accessible than the digital media that I created after that.

Is TikTok providing a useful metric or just one that tries to

He failed to get the funding that he needed for the takeover of this valuable business brand.

The latest in eX—Twitter’s Implosion

Musk is trying to fight his way out of his latest self-inflicted injuries to the social media that he accidentally bought. He is fighting accusations of anti-Semitism with legal threats of his own. It’s not helping right the ship.

And the woman that he appointed as CEO after he stepped aside is now being encouraged to step down. What a mess.