We live in a digital age. This isn’t breaking news: 82 percent of U.S. adults are reading their media on their phones at least some of the time. Both older and younger generations are turning to their mobile devices for information.
Online news has become a resource for organizations that originated as print or broadcast. They are able to stay up-to-date and breaking with these newer platforms. Even more so, however, media outlets are becoming digital-native, originating online.
Companies like the HuffPost, Slate, Vox, and Mashable have had this idea for a while. There’s also a seemingly growing trend of newspapers closing and then relaunching as a digital-only platform worldwide. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer did this in in 2009. The Independent in the UK joined suit in 2016.
As we enter a new decade, even more digital news organizations are continuing to emerge.
The 19th Aims to Capture Women’s Attention
In January, The 19th launched as a digital-only women and politics publication spearheaded by Emily Ramshaw, the former editor in chief of the Texas Tribune, and Amanda Zamora, who was the chief audience officer for the Tribune and previously worked at ProPublica. Content, which will not include opinion or an editorial section, is free-to-consume and free-to-republish.
The non-profit is based in Austin, Texas, and pursuing a different type of business model. Until the organization is fully built-up this summer, its articles will be published on The Washington Post’s website.
“This isn’t the day’s news but pink,” said Ramshaw. “This is unique overage about the roles of gender in politics and policy. We are not doing turn-of-the screw reporting, but rather what that turn of the screw means for different parts of the women’s electorate.” She added that she wants to build a platform to train and advance women in the newsroom.
The 19th is looking to create evidence-based reporting to expose gender inequalities and injustices through stories on the issues that affect women’s lives. The organization notes that more than half of the American electorate is female and yet they remain marginalized.
The ESPN of Technology?
It’s not the only new digital-only publication that has started up in early 2020 with some impressive leaders. Protocol, a digital-only tech publication came to life in February, fronted by Politico’s owner and Media Executive, Robert Allbritton, with Tammy Wincup, who previously was the senior advisor at TPG’s The Rise Fund, as president.
There will be offices in San Francisco, New York, London, and DC, the latter of which will be in the same building as Politico. Protocol will start out roughly like how Politico did about a decade ago: several dozen journalists and business employees and a little over $10 million backing from investments. It will be free at first, and subscriptions may come later.
Allbritton said they “really want to look at technology as a base of power,” calling Protocol the ESPN for technology.
Tim Grieve, the site’s executive editor, added that there will be a unique focus on people, power and the politics of tech.
“Think of the iPhone launch a few weeks ago,” Grieve told Vanity Fair in late 2019. “Lots and lots of people did stories about the three cameras, and the dog selfies, and all of that consumer focus. The stories I would have been interested in would have been: How did the feature set of that product come to be? What internal competitions inside of Apple led to that product? Whose team won and lost? What effect, if any, did tariffs and trade concerns have on the choices they made on what to include and what not to include? What does that say about what type of company Apple is trying to position itself as?”
How This Impacts Your Media Strategy
There are many reasons why these new digital outlets are so critical for your company or organization to keep tabs on. For one, these outlets provide a new avenue for exposure and awareness, which is always appreciated. Secondly, they may also open new ways to reach your target audience, especially for younger demographics that almost exclusively consume news online.
Furthermore, it’s a reminder to ensure your media strategy encompasses all potential outlets and that it can evolve as outlets do. What worked in 2019, may not work in 2020 – and what works this year, may be obsolete by next year.
We are witnessing a shift in media that values flexibility and the ability to shift directions immediately. Your media strategy must be able to do so as well.