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from Atlantic 57, the creative and consulting division of The Atlantic.

Five quick takes on media and tech trends from the past seven days,
distilled and contextualized to power your work.

Reaching the 'soccer dads'

How do you respond when your content isn’t resonating the way you hoped? KCUR, a local Kansas City public radio station, aimed to answer that question: Despite having a thriving arts community, readers didn’t seem to be interested in the station’s arts-related coverage. To understand how it could better serve its audiences, KCUR’s team analyzed two years’ worth of pageviews for all of the arts stories it had produced. The top 20 and bottom 20 stories revealed some unexpected insights: Readers were less interested in updates about upcoming events and performances, and more interested in in-depth, human-driven stories that revealed something about their city. Using these learnings, KCUR began to refocus its attention on readers. “We ultimately envisioned several types of readers who aren’t directly involved in the arts, which is how we began to think of readers such as a busy father of active girls with many interests — a guy we now call ‘soccer dad,’” write C.J. Janovy and Briana O’Higgins, the station’s digital managing editor and digital director, respectively. Since then, the station has seen a significant boost in traffic to its arts stories. “We reframed our approach to arts stories to appeal to these newly envisioned readers. We still report on upcoming performances, art openings, events, etc., but we are much more intentional about how we tell those stories,” they wrote.


Users on TikTok spend a total of 10 hours a month on the platform, according to a report by Activate. Facebook usage has fallen the most since 2017, with its users spending almost three fewer hours a month on the platform.

Source: Fast Company

Media companies come to the table

As media companies look to diversify their revenue streams, many are investing in areas related to a unifying theme: food. Appealing to almost every demographic, food offers revenue-generating opportunities beyond advertising, ranging from subscriptions to licensing to live events. Some publishers are already seeing success: BuzzFeed’s brand Tasty generated millions through the sale of its cookware at Walmart, and The Infatuation hosted an annual weekend-long food festival selling over 17,000 tickets. Atlantic 57 editorial director Jamila Robinson, a firm believer in the power of food to transcend industries, offered some insight into what companies can gain by doubling down on food trends: “By focusing on food through verticals, content initiatives, podcasts or live events, media organizations can help to build relationships with communities. This is content that can be centered around the people who create it, the bakeries, restaurants and breweries that they build, and the neighborhoods where those businesses are centered. These are the communities that usually make up the aspirational audiences, especially for people of color and younger customers that media organizations need to cultivate as members and subscribers. Food is proving to be a pathway to build those relationships.” Follow Jamila for more hot takes on editorial trends—food and otherwise—here

Tools of the trade to aid with newsgathering

Information moves fast in the modern age. The internet has amplified all voices big and small, and as such, newsrooms have to update the way they survey the world. First Draft has created a guide that aims to help newsrooms do just that. Focusing on search engines and social platforms, the guide provides tools and methods to gather facts and monitor conversations. Some tips for journalists to follow:

  • Use keywords and operators when searching to further refine your search results. With Google, for example, it’s possible to limit your search results to a single site with the “site:” operator or to search for articles with a given keyword in the title with the“intitle:” operator.
  • Use monitoring services to get alerts when news breaks. To stay informed, services can be configured to stay up-to-date on topics. CrowdTangle, for example, can monitor multiple platforms and provide a daily digest of the latest news related to a particular topic.
  • Go where the conversation is. Reddit and Twitter lists are great resources that can allow journalists to follow conversations on incredibly niche topics that are related to their beat. The guide provides ways to comb through topics and find new threads.
For more advice, read the full report at First Draft.

Social media giants take different paths

Twitter announced that the social media platform will ban all political ads globally starting November 22nd. The company’s CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted from his account on Wednesday, stating that “[Twitter] believe[s] political message reach should be earned, not bought.” Twitter’s stance contrasts Facebook’s on this issue; Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a conference on Tuesday, “Although I've considered whether we should not carry these ads in the past, and I'll continue to do so, on balance so far I've thought we should continue.”

  • “This is a good step to improve the manipulative status quo, but we hope @Twitter will continue to develop ways to raise up the voices of the disenfranchised.” - Kristen Clarke, president and executive director at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Twitter)
  • “It might be a nice troll of FB, but @jack's decision to ban political advertising is a huge blow to progressives, and a boon to big-money candidates.” - Ryan Grim, D.C. bureau chief at The Intercept (Twitter)
  • “Can I raise my hand and suggest that both Twitter and FB are wrong and that the best solution is to allow political ads but to stop manifestly false ones?” - Nicholas Thompson, editor in chief at Wired (Twitter)
  • “Good points here. Also there are some things ads can do that are arguably good for democracy, e.g.: - reminders to register - reminders to vote - grassroots donations - signing up for events to help other people vote Very curious to see how Twitter draws the lines.” - Aaron Huertas, head of communications for Voter Participation Center (Twitter)

This week in our office
To welcome fall, we celebrated "Oktoberfest" in our office, complete with soft pretzels and German beer. Thank you to our social committee for making us feel like we were in Munich! Prost! 

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