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3 types of newsletters every publisher should experiment with | What’s New in Publishing

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3 types of newsletters every publisher should experiment with | What’s New in Publishing

69% of publishers identify newsletters as an area where they will be putting more resources in 2023. According to WAN-IFRA, 50% of publishers already offer between 1-5 newsletters, with the other 50% offering significant amounts more. 

Many reasons have been attributed to the success of newsletters in recent years such as harvesting user data and adding value to subscriber bundles. We dive into 3 different newsletter formats you need to know about for your 2023 newsletter strategy.

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Type 1: Briefings boosting engagement

Briefing newsletters push subscriber engagement. These tend to be dailies and are a window to the day’s news, exposing readers to the main stories of the day. Briefings tend to come in 2 forms: ePaper announcements and Daily Briefings.

ePaper announcements are triggers to get subscribers to engage with the day’s ePaper. They act as a partner in life for subscribers and guide them through the must-read stories. The Daily Mail’s ePaper newsletter arrives each morning at 7am and is an important trigger for their Mail+ app. Many other publishers use this ePaper push strategy like Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Wall Street Journal.

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Daily briefings push subscribers to engage with other stories on news websites. They drive clicks and encourage article sharing, exposing readers to stories which may have missed the days edition or broken throughout the day. Danish publisher Børsen have an 11am update to inform their subscribers about the latest financial news ahead of lunch. They also publish Børsen Pro International, a newsletter published in English designed to boost their brand beyond Denmark featuring the latest international news.  

Curation of briefings can be done in 2 ways: editorially or through personalisation. Editorial curation provides a generic story selection for all newsletter subscribers. Whilst this gives full control to the newsroom, it can limit the exposure of the full range of stories to readers. News recommender personalisation tools, like JAMES, curate content on a 1 to 1 basis, giving each reader a tailored set of stories. JAMES uses a hybrid algorithm so that subscribers are exposed to a mixture of trending stories to get their need-to-know news, but also stories tailored to their previous reading behaviour. Readers are therefore exposed to 80-90% of the day’s content, showcasing more of the newsroom’s work.  

Automation is a tool which can be leveraged by both personalised and editorially curated briefing newsletters. Automation saves newsrooms time focusing on the development of their digest newsletters and allowing them to focus upon their content. In Finland, JAMES automation is central for Mediatalo Keskisuomalainen’s newsletter strategy. As a regional publisher, some of their newsrooms feature as few as 2 members of staff meaning that automation is crucial for their newsletter strategy.

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Type 2: Deep dives building relationships

Deep dive newsletters provide detailed content and opinion. They traditionally came in formats like “Letter from the Editor”, however with the late 2010’s growth of platforms like Substack many journalists decided to develop their own long-read newsletters. These newsletters have a personal tone and focus on niche topics or news areas. This helps them build reader relationships and inform readers.

Deep dive newsletters tend to be less frequent than digests as they are editorially written and curated (for now) which is more time consuming. It also means that they require more effort to read from subscribers. Inside these newsletters, expect hot takes and opinion aplenty. These newsletters tend to feature an element of free to subscribe with subscriber-only benefits like extra editions or exclusive content and access.

1676625914 137 3 types of newsletters every publisher should experiment with

The Oregonian’s “Letter from Editor” newsletter adds a human face to their reporting through its personal tone. The newsletter often addresses comments from readers and dives into answers so that readers feel heard. “Letter from Editor” also features contact details to promote transparency and openness with their readers.

In the UK, sports gossip newsletter and personal favourite The Upshot is published 3 times a week. Their Friday newsletter is free and dives into sports stories the mainstream media dare not touch. With an Upshot Gold subscription, subscribers get exclusive access to a Sunday edition “Old Gold” reflecting on a retro sports story, and a Wednesday edition diving into exclusive gold stories.

1676625914 988 3 types of newsletters every publisher should experiment with

Type 3: Summarisers giving quick hits of the top stories

Summarisers, much like briefings, give a snapshot of the day or week’s top stories. What differentiates the two however is the depth offered. Summarisers provide a briefing on the day’s top stories so that newsletter subscribers don’t have to click through to the full story. They aim to save the subscriber time. With the summary needing to be provided, these newsletters tend to be editorially curated. Summarisers are often daily or weekly newsletters, and some publishers leverage them as a chance to update readers of new stories which may have broken or developed throughout the day.

The Athletic have a “Daily Football Briefing” newsletter giving subscribers summaries of the top stories of the day. Each summary then features a link below to the full article to read more on the app.

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1676625914 396 3 types of newsletters every publisher should experiment with

Perhaps the most powerful example of a summariser newsletter comes from smart-brevity focused Axios. Their Media Trends newsletter from Sara Fischer gives the lowdown from the biggest media stories in the day. Each story is broken down into small smart chunks to provide subscribers with the need-to-know details from each story. Readers are then free to go and conduct their own research to get more in-depth information on each story.

1676625915 988 3 types of newsletters every publisher should experiment with

Social media appearing as a new platform for newsletters

Despite Twitter shutting down Revue and Facebook ending Bulletin, social media platforms are still relying on the potential of newsletters and provide an alternative to email. LinkedIn newsletters have proved a hub for innovation and experimentation. Any type of newsletter can be set up on LinkedIn and they are sent directly to the notifications and email inbox of newsletter subscribers. It is also easy to invite connections to subscribe, much like inviting them to follow a LinkedIn page. Publishers like ForbesThe Financial Times and L’Opinion have already leveraged LinkedIn newsletters. We recently launched our Twipe Weekly News Digest as a LinkedIn newsletter to give our subscribers access to our top 5 stories of the week, with you every Monday morning.

WhatsApp newsletters have also come to the fore. Publishers have previously experimented with WhatsApp but newsletters are a new way to do this. WhatsApp newsletters utilise the broadcast feature and are a more informal way of starting a newsletter. Signing up requires just 2 clicks and no email address. Their frequency is up to the creator, being able to post as frequently or rarely as they want. The fact that these are on an app means that they are already mobile optimised and can easily feature non-text elements like videos and files. The newsletters are easily shareable via links and can be linked directly to a WhatsApp group. Communities can also be built with the most engaged members of newsletters able to be added into private group chats.

Cathy Hackl has a successful Metaverse & Web3 newsletter running whilst Matt Navarra’s Geekout newsletter now also has a home on WhatsApp with over 3600 participants.

Matthew Lynes
Media Innovation Analyst @ Twipe

Get Twipe’s weekly insights on digital publishing, artificial intelligence, and paid content in your mailbox. Sign up here.

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Christian family goes in hiding after being cleared of blasphemy

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Christian family goes in hiding after being cleared of blasphemy

LAHORE, Pakistan — A court in Pakistan granted bail to a Christian falsely charged with blasphemy, but he and his family have separated and gone into hiding amid threats to their lives, sources said.

Haroon Shahzad (right) with attorney Aneeqa Maria. | The Voice Society/Morning Star News

Haroon Shahzad, 45, was released from Sargodha District Jail on Nov. 15, said his attorney, Aneeqa Maria. Shahzad was charged with blasphemy on June 30 after posting Bible verses on Facebook that infuriated Muslims, causing dozens of Christian families in Chak 49 Shumaali, near Sargodha in Punjab Province, to flee their homes.

Lahore High Court Judge Ali Baqir Najfi granted bail on Nov. 6, but the decision and his release on Nov. 15 were not made public until now due to security fears for his life, Maria said.

Shahzad told Morning Star News by telephone from an undisclosed location that the false accusation has changed his family’s lives forever.

“My family has been on the run from the time I was implicated in this false charge and arrested by the police under mob pressure,” Shahzad told Morning Star News. “My eldest daughter had just started her second year in college, but it’s been more than four months now that she hasn’t been able to return to her institution. My other children are also unable to resume their education as my family is compelled to change their location after 15-20 days as a security precaution.”

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Though he was not tortured during incarceration, he said, the pain of being away from his family and thinking about their well-being and safety gave him countless sleepless nights.

“All of this is due to the fact that the complainant, Imran Ladhar, has widely shared my photo on social media and declared me liable for death for alleged blasphemy,” he said in a choked voice. “As soon as Ladhar heard about my bail, he and his accomplices started gathering people in the village and incited them against me and my family. He’s trying his best to ensure that we are never able to go back to the village.”

Shahzad has met with his family only once since his release on bail, and they are unable to return to their village in the foreseeable future, he said.

“We are not together,” he told Morning Star News. “They are living at a relative’s house while I’m taking refuge elsewhere. I don’t know when this agonizing situation will come to an end.”

The Christian said the complainant, said to be a member of Islamist extremist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and also allegedly connected with banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, filed the charge because of a grudge. Shahzad said he and his family had obtained valuable government land and allotted it for construction of a church building, and Ladhar and others had filed multiple cases against the allotment and lost all of them after a four-year legal battle.

“Another probable reason for Ladhar’s jealousy could be that we were financially better off than most Christian families of the village,” he said. “I was running a successful paint business in Sargodha city, but that too has shut down due to this case.”

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Regarding the social media post, Shahzad said he had no intention of hurting Muslim sentiments by sharing the biblical verse on his Facebook page.

“I posted the verse a week before Eid Al Adha [Feast of the Sacrifice] but I had no idea that it would be used to target me and my family,” he said. “In fact, when I came to know that Ladhar was provoking the villagers against me, I deleted the post and decided to meet the village elders to explain my position.”

The village elders were already influenced by Ladhar and refused to listen to him, Shahzad said.

“I was left with no option but to flee the village when I heard that Ladhar was amassing a mob to attack me,” he said.

Shahzad pleaded with government authorities for justice, saying he should not be punished for sharing a verse from the Bible that in no way constituted blasphemy.

Similar to other cases

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Shahzad’s attorney, Maria, told Morning Star News that events in Shahzad’s case were similar to other blasphemy cases filed against Christians.

“Defective investigation, mala fide on the part of the police and complainant, violent protests against the accused persons and threats to them and their families, forcing their displacement from their ancestral areas, have become hallmarks of all blasphemy allegations in Pakistan,” said Maria, head of The Voice Society, a Christian paralegal organization.

She said that the case filed against Shahzad was gross violation of Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which states that police cannot register a case under the Section 295-A blasphemy statute against a private citizen without the approval of the provincial government or federal agencies.

Maria added that Shahzad and his family have continued to suffer even though there was no evidence of blasphemy.

“The social stigma attached with a blasphemy accusation will likely have a long-lasting impact on their lives, whereas his accuser, Imran Ladhar, would not have to face any consequence of his false accusation,” she said.

The judge who granted bail noted that Shahzad was charged with blasphemy under Section 295-A, which is a non-cognizable offense, and Section 298, which is bailable. The judge also noted that police had not submitted the forensic report of Shahzad’s cell phone and said evidence was required to prove that the social media was blasphemous, according to Maria.

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Bail was set at 100,000 Pakistani rupees (US $350) and two personal sureties, and the judge ordered police to further investigate, she said.

Shahzad, a paint contractor, on June 29 posted on his Facebook page 1 Cor. 10:18-21 regarding food sacrificed to idols, as Muslims were beginning the four-day festival of Eid al-Adha, which involves slaughtering an animal and sharing the meat.

A Muslim villager took a screenshot of the post, sent it to local social media groups and accused Shahzad of likening Muslims to pagans and disrespecting the Abrahamic tradition of animal sacrifice.

Though Shahzad made no comment in the post, inflammatory or otherwise, the situation became tense after Friday prayers when announcements were made from mosque loudspeakers telling people to gather for a protest, family sources previously told Morning Star News.

Fearing violence as mobs grew in the village, most Christian families fled their homes, leaving everything behind.

In a bid to restore order, the police registered a case against Shahzad under Sections 295-A and 298. Section 295-A relates to “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” and is punishable with imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine, or both. Section 298 prescribes up to one year in prison and a fine, or both, for hurting religious sentiments.

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Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, up from eighth the previous year.

Morning Star News is the only independent news service focusing exclusively on the persecution of Christians. The nonprofit’s mission is to provide complete, reliable, even-handed news in order to empower those in the free world to help persecuted Christians, and to encourage persecuted Christians by informing them that they are not alone in their suffering.

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Individual + Team Stats: Hornets vs. Timberwolves

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CHARLOTTE HORNETS MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES You can follow us for future coverage by liking us on Facebook & following us on X: Facebook – All Hornets X – …

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What went wrong with ‘the Metaverse’? An insider’s postmortem

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What went wrong with 'the Metaverse'? An insider's postmortem


It’s now two years since Facebook changed its name to Meta, ushering in a brief but blazing enthusiasm over “the Metaverse”, a concept from science fiction that suddenly seemed to be the next inevitable leap in technology. For most people in tech, however, the term has since lost its luster, seemingly supplanted by any product with “artificial intelligence” attached to its description. 

But the true story of the Metaverse’s rise and fall in public awareness is much more complicated and interesting than simply being the short life cycle of a buzzword — it also reflects a collective failure of both imagination and understanding.  

Consider:

The forgotten novel

Ironically, many tech reporters discounted or even ignored the profound influence of Snow Crash on actual working technologists. The founders of Roblox and Epic (creator of Fortnite) among many other developers were directly inspired by the novel. Despite that, Neal Stephenson’s classic cyberpunk tale has often been depicted as if it were an obscure dystopian tome which merely coined the term. As opposed to what it actually did: describe the concept with a biblical specificity that thousands of developers have referenced in their virtual world projects — many of which have already become extremely popular.

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Snow Crash.

You can see this lack of clarity in many of the mass tech headlines attempting to describe the Metaverse in the wake of Facebook’s name change: 

In a widely shared “obituary” to the Metaverse, Business Insider’s Ed Zitron even compounded the confusion still further by inexplicably misattributing the concept to TRON, the original Disney movie from the 80s.

Had the media referenced Snow Crash far more accurately when the buzz began, they’d come away with a much better understanding of why so many technologists are excited by the Metaverse concept — and realize its early incarnation is already gaining strong user traction.  

Because in the book, the Metaverse is a vast, immersive virtual world that’s simultaneously accessible by millions of people through highly customizable avatars and powerful experience creation tools that are integrated with the offline world through its virtual economy and external technology. In other words, it’s more or less like Roblox and Fortnite — platforms with many tens of millions of active users. 

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But then again, the tech media can’t be fully blamed for following Mark Zuckerberg’s lead.

Rather than create a vision for its Metaverse iterating on already successful platforms — Roblox’s 2020 IPO filing even describes itself as the metaverse — Meta’s executive leadership cobbled together a mishmash of disparate products. Most of which, such as remotely working in VR headsets, remain far from proven. According to an internal Blind survey, a majority of Zuckerberg’s own employees say he has not adequately explained what he means by the Metaverse even to them.

Grievous of all, Zuckerberg and his CTO Andrew Bosworth promoted a conception of the Metaverse in which the Quest headset was central. To do so, they had to overlook compelling evidence — raised by senior Microsoft researcher danah boyd at the time of the company acquiring Oculus in 2014 — that females have a high propensity to get nauseous using VR.

Meta Quest 3 comes out on October 10 for $500.
Meta Quest 3.

Contacted in late 2022 while writing Making a Metaverse That Matters, danah told me no one at Oculus or Meta followed up with her about the research questions she raised. Over the years, I have asked several senior Meta staffers (past and present) about this and have yet to receive an adequate reply. Unsurprisingly, Meta’s Quest 2 VR headset has an estimated install base of only about 20 million units, significantly smaller than the customer count of leading video game consoles. A product that tends to make half the population puke is not exactly destined for the mass market — let alone a reliable base for building the Metaverse. 

Ironically, Neal Stephenson himself has frequently insisted that virtual reality is absolutely not a prerequisite for the Metaverse, since flat screens display immersive virtual worlds just fine. But here again, the tech media instead ratified Meta’s flawed VR-centric vision by constantly illustrating articles about the Metaverse with photos of people happily donning headsets to access it — inadvertently setting up a straw man destined to soon go ablaze.

Duct-taped to yet another buzzword

Further sealing the Metaverse hype wave’s fate, it crested around the same time that Web3 and crypto were still enjoying their own euphoria period. This inevitably spawned the “cryptoverse” with platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox. When the crypto crash came, it was easy to assume the Metaverse was also part of that fall.

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But the cryptoverse platforms failed in the same way that other crypto schemes have gone awry: By offering a virtual world as a speculative opportunity, it primarily attracted crypto speculators, not virtual world enthusiasts. By October of 2022, Decentraland was only tracking 7,000 daily active users, game industry analyst Lars Doucet informed me

“Everybody who is still playing is basically just playing poker,” as Lars put it. “This seems to be a kind of recurring trend in dead-end crypto projects. Kind of an eerie rhyme with left-behind American cities where drugs come in and anyone who is left is strung out at a slot machine parlor or liquor store.”

All this occurred as the rise of generative AI birthed another, shinier buzzword — one that people not well-versed in immersive virtual worlds could better understand.

But as “the Metaverse” receded as a hype totem, a hilarious thing happened: Actual metaverse platforms continued growing. Roblox now counts over 300 million monthly active users, making its population nearly the size of the entire United States; Fortnite had its best usage day in 6 years. Meta continues plodding along but seems to finally be learning from its mistakes — for instance, launching a mobile version of its metaverse platform Horizon Worlds.  

Roblox leads the rise of user-generated content.
Roblox.

Into this mix, a new wave of metaverse platforms is preparing to launch, refreshingly led by seasoned, successful game developers: Raph Koster with Playable Worlds, Jenova Chen with his early, successful forays into metaverse experiences, and Everywhere, a metaverse platform lead developed by a veteran of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

At some point, everyone in tech who co-signed the “death” of the Metaverse may notice this sustained growth. By then however, the term may no longer require much usage, just as the term “information superhighway” fell away as broadband Internet went mainstream.  

Wagner James Au is author of Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to A Virtual World Worth Fighting For 

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