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NY Times Digital Subcription Growth Slows

NYtimes buildingThe New York Times’ paywall is now three years old. For most of that time, digital subscriptions grew at a healthy pace. However, according to Recode, there are signs that things are slowing down.

In June, the Times reported that it had added 32,000 digital subscriptions during the second quarter, bringing its total to about 831,000. That’s a solid number.

Unless, of course, those new subscribers were lured by new apps like NYT Now, and the Times has already hit its subscriber ceiling:

There could be some cannibalization from the new app, of course, but even if all 32,000 were for the main digital subscription (which costs $15 to $35 depending on how many devices you want to use), that would still fall short of the previous two quarters when the Times averaged 36,000 new subscribers.

If the Times has truly tapped every customer who will pay for its content, there could be rough waters ahead. As with any print product, the execs at the paper will need to figure out new revenue streams to avoid getting shipwrecked.

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HuffPost Wants You to Pay its Ferguson Reporter

huffpostThe editors of The Huffington Post have lost their goddamn minds. The site is launching something called The Ferguson Fellowship, which carries the lofty goal of covering Ferguson after every other media outlet leaves. That’s great and all. Aside from the fact that HuffPost wants readers to pay for it.

Ryan Grim, HuffPost’s Washington bureau chief, explained in a post that the media will leave Ferguson, but “the local police will still be there, along with the structural inequality and racial disparities that sparked the crisis.”

That’s true! But then Grim gets to the good stuff. “With reader support, we’ll hire a local citizen journalist who’s been covering the turmoil and train her to become a professional journalist.”

There it is. HuffPost is owned by AOL, a multimillion dollar company, but the site wants you to pay for a reporter to cover Ferguson. How bold and noble of them.

Despite the Ferguson Fellowship being a complete asshole move, it’s already 24 percent funded. Well played, HuffPost. Well played.

Huffington Post Expands to India

huffington-post1Here’s something that you only read about almost every day: The Huffington Post is expanding once again. HuffPost has partnered with The Times of India Group, the country’s biggest media company, to launch Huffington Post India. The site — which will feature content in English — is expected to launch later this year.

“As the world’s largest democracy, and with a middle class of more than 250 million people, India is a critical destination for any global media company,” said HuffPost’s CEO, Jimmy Maymann, in a statement. “And with Indian household consumption predicted to continue to grow nearly 20% per year, this partnership gives us an ideal entry into what is expected to become the world’s fifth-largest consumer market within the next ten years.”

Huffington Post and India Group will work together to form an editorial team that will be based in New Delhi.

BuzzFeed Attempts to Explain Why 4,000 Posts Were Deleted

BuzzFeedLogoJonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s CEO, has a non-explanation explanation for why his site secretly deleted more than 4,000 posts. In an interview with Slate, Peretti admitted that “We probably could have communicated better, or handled it better,” but the reason they didn’t is because BuzzFeed used to be a tech company, and now it’s a media company.

Peretti said that BuzzFeed became a media company when it hired Ben Smith, and that the posts were deleted because they were “technically broken, not sourced to our current standards, not worth improving or saving because the content isn’t very good.”

Another way of saying this is “We deleted the posts once we realized someone would notice the rampant plagiarism that we used to become a popular site.” If you’re a media company, you don’t just get to delete articles whenever you want.

Why did it take until 2014 to get rid of these “broken” articles, when Smith was hired in 2011? Also, BuzzFeed just got $50 million from an investor who said “We think of BuzzFeed as more of a technology company.” Peretti might want to inform them that they’re a media company now. Or is his description of BuzzFeed dependent on who’s asking?

Thought Catalog is Thoughtful

We thought we’d highlight this Thought Catalog tweet in case you needed a reminder that the site is terrible.

Gawker Responds to Rape Gif Problem with New Commenting System

gawkerlogoGawker Media has implemented a new commenting system that it hopes will curtail the problem of users leaving rape gifs in comment sections. The new system only displays comments from approved Gawker users. In order to see every comment, you will now have to click “see all.”

Jezebel staffers had penned an open letter to Gawker management, complaining that the rape gif problem was being ignored.

“We receive multiple distressed emails from readers every time this happens, and have been forwarding them to the architects of Kinja and to higher ups on Gawker’s editorial side for months,” read the letter. “Nothing has changed.”

Jezebel’s editor, Jessica Coen, explained the new system in a post:

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BuzzFeed Deleted More Than 4,000 Posts

BuzzFeedLogoThe editors of BuzzFeed have some (more) explaining to do. According to Gawker, more than 4,000 posts were deleted from the site in late April, which is — at the very least — odd. Especially for a site that keeps telling everyone how great it is.

As of now, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, has refused to comment on the situation. He has however, tweeted a link to the BuzzFeed post “29 gloriously hilarious ways to use the poop emoji” multiple times this morning. Good to know Smith has his priorities in order.

Given that this comes after the site had to fire its viral politics editor Benny Johnson for 40 instances of plagiarism, one has to wonder: Were all those posts deleted because they also featured plagiarism?

In the past, BuzzFeed has said that posts are deleted from the site when they don’t meet the site’s editorial standards. Is that what happened here? Who knows! No one from BuzzFeed will explain themselves.

If you ask us, as time goes by, “BuzzFeed’s editorial standards” sounds more and more like an oxymoron.

Jezebel Calls Out Gawker for Rape Gif Problem

JezebelLogo_FeaturedThe staffers of Jezebel have called out parent company Gawker Media for failing to address a problem in which an anonymous user posts “gifs of violent pornography” in the site’s comments section.

In a post on Jezebel, the site’s writers claimed that they made Gawker management aware of the issue, but the “higher ups” refused to do anything to stop it:

We receive multiple distressed emails from readers every time this happens, and have been forwarding them to the architects of Kinja and to higher ups on Gawker’s editorial side for months. Nothing has changed. During the last staff meeting, when the subject was broached, we were told that there were no plans to enable the blocking of IP addresses, no plans to record IP addresses of burner accounts. Moderation tools are supposedly in development, but change is not coming fast enough.

In response, Gawker Media’s editorial director, Joel Johnson, admitted he and others had let Jezebel staffers down:

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BuzzFeed Has Big Plans

BuzzFeed just closed a $50 million investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, so you know what that means — big plans! This is because you can’t get that much money from an investor and reply, “Right, well, thanks for this, but we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

In an announcement, the site said it has its sights set on Hollywood. BuzzFeed Video is now BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. The video arm already produces Vines and short films, but will now seek to create full-length movies in conjunction with other major studios. Expect What Type of Sea Algae Are You?, starring Matt Damon, to premiere in 2018.

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NY Times Launches Enhanced Archive Search

Subscribers to The New York Times can now search 129 years worth of the Grey Lady. The paper has launched TimesMachine, an interactive archive search tool that allows readers to dig through 11,298,320 articles that were published between September 18, 1851 and December 31, 1980.

In connection with TimesMachine, the Times has launched the NYTArchives Twitter account, which posts interesting articles from throughout the paper’s history.

While using TimesMachine to view coverage of big events — such as the “awful event” that was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln — is great, what’s really fun is searching for specific terms.

For example, a quick search for “O’Shea” brought up an article from 1906 that was headlined “Irishmen and Genius.” Even way back then, the Times featured stunningly accurate journalism.

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