We could all use a redesign

On the Atlantic, and bringing a 162-year-old magazine into the digital age

The Atlantic’s December issue is out, and readers will notice a different look. Described as “the most dramatic new look for our magazine in its 162-year history,” the magazine has a redesign not only to its print product but also its app.

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor in chief interviewed the magazine’s creative director, Peter Mendelsund, on the new design.

The most notable re-design is the nameplate, which makes the signature Atlantic “A” representative of the whole.

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A big factor for all this? Digital.

“When Oliver Munday, my senior art director, and I began rethinking the wordmark, we tried a number of angles, mainly finding ways to repurpose and redraw old marks from The Atlantic’s past. But the notion occurred to us that we would eventually need a mark that wouldn’t be so horizontal; in other words, a mark that wasn’t a word, such that it could fit in all of those confined spaces where, physical magazine aside, The Atlantic lives. Like on your phone, and on your social-media feeds, etc. It seemed obvious to us that what we needed was an emblem—a logo.”

“At some point, we noticed that we had already been clicking on that very logo, every time we went to The Atlantic online, or on the app, or on Twitter—that is, a giant A. There it was, staring us in the face. And the more we explored The Atlantic’s long history, the more we saw that A, Zelig-like, showing up. Which is to say that, although the A seems radical, it is in fact historically grounded. Like The Atlantic itself.”

Even for publications with a strong print product, journalism doesn’t just exist on paper anymore. It exists on all sorts of platforms and in a lot of different ways. Standardizing that look across all of these is not only good design but it builds brand loyalty and honestly, it’s just good journalism.


// adriana lacy writes the intersection. you can follow her on twitter at @adriana_lacy //

The Social Status is now The Intersection

Change is a comin'

An intersection is where two lines meet or cross.

In many ways, journalism has always been about intersections. Lines of reporters cross with copy editors who cross with desk editors who cross with the world. Readers cross with publications to make their feelings known while product and technology cross with them all in hopes of creating a sustainable and worthy product paying for.

Journalism is changing.

Technology has made journalism is a two-way street. So long are the days where journalists are the gatekeepers of information. Readers have more power than ever before. With so much noise to break through on the internet, it’s up to publications to deliver a product worthy of readers’ time.

That’s why the intersections are so important. And that’s why I’m switching my newsletter to focus less on social and more on the overall current climate of journalism.

In order for journalism to be successful, technology, product, and journalism must intersect.

So, I’m here to talk about that. You’ll hear a lot about tech companies, user experience and innovation in newsrooms around the world. There will be interviews with folks who are working in these intersections daily.

This won’t be a weekly newsletter anymore, but it probably won’t be a daily either. Expect around 3-5 short musings each week.

I also want to hear from you. Please send me your thoughts, comments and more about the intersections of journalism and I’ll be sure to feature them in the newsletter.

Stay up-to-date

You won’t have to worry about missing anything. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox.

I’m in other places, too.

Be sure to follow me on TwitterInstagram, like me on Facebook and email me.

$40 Million fine? Facebook will take it.

On video and other things.

An intro. Good Monday morning. I hope that you all had a restful weekend and are ready to tackle the workweek. This week’s newsletter will be all about video.

Talk to me. As always, I’m available by email at socialstatus@adrianalacy.com, on Twitter at @adriana_lacy or by simply replying to this email.

Well, let’s get to it. Remember pivot to video? Publishers began slashing written content in favor of social video. Facebook was a major player in the game, opting to prioritize video on its own platform. The tech giant bragged about its daily video viewership.

Then, there was a problem.

Facebook disclosed that it actually incorrectly calculated video views on its website for two years. Advertisers sued the company, citing that the inflated views greatly impacted publishers and accused Facebook of knowing about the miscalculations well before the company admitted it.

Under a proposed settlement, the company will acknowledge the error but won’t admit to any other allegation and will be hit with a $40 million fine.

It seems like a lot, right? Nope.

Facebook’s annual net income for 2018 was $22 billion. Do the math. That’s a fine that will cost the company 0.18% of its income. That’s chump change for a company as big as Facebook.

Wall Street Journal: “This is a recurring theme that we keep seeing: Facebook gets called out on something, but marketers continue to use the platform,” said Ms. Boulos. “It does not seem that we’re close to any straw breaking the camel’s back in terms of something hindering or pushing marketers away from the platforms.”

Who to watch: Elizabeth Warren. She’s been feuding with Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg over advertising on the platform and shows no signs of backing down.

CNN: “The Warren fight over ads highlights the collapsing distinction between traditional broadcast media and 21st-century digital platforms, experts say, raising fresh questions about how decades-old regulations concerning political speech should apply to massive online platforms that can influence millions of voters.”

Some media reads. Pay attention to video. It’ll be a big player in the 2020 elections and it’s the way to reach young audiences. A Pew Research Center study found that 85% of teens use Youtube and 32% of teens say they use the platform the most, only second to Snapchat (35%).

YouTube is letting politicians reserve advertising space for 2020 election [The Verge]

“[T]he tool, called Instant Reserve, is a new reservation tool in Google Ads. The company is testing with advertisers across multiple industries. The goal is to allow marketers to plan and book campaigns with a fixed budget and forecasted reach in advance of the campaign launching.”

Macabre Video of Fake Trump Shooting Media and Critics Is Shown at His Resort [New York Times]

“The video depicts a scene inside the “Church of Fake News,” where parishioners rise as Mr. Trump — dressed in a black pinstripe suit and tie — walks down the aisle. Many parishioners’ faces have been replaced with the logos of news media organizations, including PBS, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and NBC.”

What Does PewDiePie Really Believe? [New York Times]

One crucial thing to understand about YouTube is that there are really two of them. The first YouTube is the YouTube that everyone knows — the vast reference library filled with sports highlights, music videos and old Comedy Central roasts. But there’s a second YouTube inside that one. It is a self-contained universe with its own values and customs, its own incentive structures and market dynamics and its own fully developed celebrity culture that includes gamers, beauty vloggers, musicians, D.I.Y.ers, political commentators, artists and pranksters.”

A song for the week

You’re welcome.

A tweet for the week

If you don’t know, now you know.

A story for the week

As I prepare for my first ever 5K this weekend, I’m thinking a lot about Eliud Kipchoge and his sub-2-hour marathon. Like The Atlantic writes, it’s the “Greatest, Fakest World Record.

“The whole thing was as close as you can get to a mobile marathon spa treatment—if going to a spa were paired with the worst discomfort of your life.”

But’s still pretty darn cool.

— Have a great week.


Here's a playbook for digital news subscriptions

Lessons from Chicago.

The Bean at Millennium Park in Chicago

An intro. Good Monday morning! A few days ago I got back from Chicago, where I attended the Elevate! conference, which focused on what local media can do to “elevate” digital strategies to higher altitudes, with the best possible customer experiences and strongest possible results. The conference was put on by the Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium.

When I wasn’t learning and networking at the conference, I got to do some sightseeing around Chicago, including a trip to The Bean and of course, deep-dish pizza.

Talk to me. Drop me a line at @adriana_lacy, shoot me an email or simply reply to this email.

Well, let’s get to it. I learned lots of things at the Elevate! conference, but what really stood out to me was the work that the Google News Initiative is doing. Along with FTI Consulting and the Local Media Association, the Google News Initiative developed the Digital Subscriptions Playbook, which focuses on five key questions that the organizations believe are critical to a successful digital transformation and subscriptions.

Some highlights

The report cites digital subscriptions as the most important priority for media organizations. While print advertising continues to decrease, digital advertising is becoming flat while digital news subscriptions offer a significant growth opportunity.

So, how do publishers get to a point where digital subscriptions are a major source of revenue and offset other forms of advertising? The report focused on three key enablers: people, process and technology.

The bottom line: “Executing a comprehensive business model transformation is a significant challenge that is often exacerbated by competing priorities in a resource-constrained environment. However, getting started, and doing so quickly, is critical to successfully complete the transition.”

Read the full report

Some media reads. Here are a few reads I thought were interesting this week:

How publishers get their reporters to drive subscriptions — Digiday

“Pageviews are so easy to game,” said Ray Rivera, managing editor of The Seattle Times. “What we’ve found with stories that prompt people to subscribe is they’re exactly the kinds of stories that, as journalists, we want to be doing anyway. They’re important watch-dog stories, in-depth narratives, politics stories; they’re stories that are right within our mission.”

CrowdTangle Trends Report:  How U.S. Local News is Performing on Facebook — Facebook Journalism Project

The findings in this report show that U.S. local news pages have seen significant increases in interactions per post, despite consistent post output. This indicates that local news pages are seeing higher returns on their Facebook investments year over year.

Google, Facebook Cozy Up to Publishers as Regulators Circle — Wall Street Journal

“The platforms are finally recognizing the massive role they play in our ecosystem and that pretending that they are neutral distribution channels just doesn’t wash with regulators or with the public either,” said Lydia Polgreen, editor in chief of HuffPost.

A song for the week

Did you know this song has almost reached one billion views on YouTube? It’s not uncommon for new songs to pass that threshold, but to date, only three songs from the entire 20th century have reached that mark. Read more about the success of the 34-year-old song from Rob Tannenbaum in the L.A. Times.

A tweet for the week

You hate to see it.

A story for the week

For These Black Women in Texas, Rodeo Is a Way of Life — The New York Times

Bryant walks her horse, Cody, on her farm near Point Blank, Tex. 📸: Walter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times

“Cowboy and cowgirl culture is really popular right now,” Bryant said, after black riders having gone unnoticed for so long. “We’re all getting more recognition now.”

👋 That’s all for this week. See you next week.

P.S. — To all educators and students: I did a presentation this past weekend at Pepperdine University on how college students can leverage college media both professionally and personally. Feel free to use any or all of it.

Check out the presentation

Introducing journalism-internships.com

And here's how you can play a role.

An intro. Good Monday morning! Tonight I’m headed to Chicago for the Elevate! Local Media conference. Excited to learn more about sustainable local media models and audience best practices.

Next week’s newsletter will be a roundup of what I learned from the conference and any other interesting insights.

Headed there as well or based in Chicago? Let’s chat.

Talk to me. As always, I’m available by simply responding to this email, on Twitter at @adriana_lacy or by email at socialstatus@adrianalacy.com.

Well, let’s get to it. About two weeks ago, I launched journalism-internships.com in hopes of connecting students to paid internships in the media industry. The idea started after I did a Twitter callout asking for internship recommendations to share with the students I teach at USC. From there, so many people reached out to me asking to share the internship opportunities, so I decided to just make a database to publicly share all of the opportunities.

If you’re a student or know students interested in journalism, marketing, public relationships or somewhere in between, be sure to take advantage of the site. There are also entry-level jobs and fellowships for those just starting out in their career.

I’m also looking for media professionals to volunteer as mentors for students who use the database. Mentors would participate in virtual office hours through Calendly and decide what works for them in terms of availability.

Each mentor is responsible for their own Calendly link and figuring out their own availability. Most mentors only offer up one or two half-hour coaching slots a week.

I’m looking for mentors from all sorts of areas, from freelancers to data reporters to engineers to product managers to audience editors and more. If you're interested in signing up, please fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you.

Apply to be a mentor

Some Media Reads. Let’s talk about Google! Google announced that it will prioritize what the company defines as “original reporting” in search results. The full release is below as well as a link to a Twitter thread I wrote with some thoughts about the changes.

Elevating original reporting in Search — Google

“While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we've made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting. Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer.”

The Atlantic (re)joins the metered paywall club, with digital subscriptions starting at $49.99/year — Nieman Lab

“As the paywall rolls out, the question now is how many readers will be ready to pay for yet another digital news subscription”

‘Journalism Thinking’ doesn’t need a business model. It needs a call to arms — Christopher Wink

“The question then isn’t “what is the business model for local journalism” but rather “how do we expand and defend journalism thinking?”’

A song for the week

We’re a week away from the end of summer. Here’s a summer hit that will ease you into the fall season.

A tweet for the week

Long live the press.

A story (er, illustrations?) for the week

Publishing a Book, by the Numbers — The New Yorker

Illustration: Michelle Rial 

That’s all for this week. Thanks, and have a great week.

— Adriana

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