“If you value the Guardian’s coverage of Brexit, please help to fund it” asked Guardian’s Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner after one of the most uncertain weeks in recent British history. As the popular publication works around the clock to provide “fast, well-sourced, calm, accessible and intelligent journalism” following last Thursday’s EU referendum result, it faces a funding crisis of its own. Last week I highlighted the financial challenges currently facing the Guardian as it searches for new and sustainable ways to monetise its members. Now, Viner is asking readers for a contribution directly “either through a monthly or one-off payment - so we can continue interrogating exactly what has happened, and why, and what needs to happen next”.
We understand that producing top-quality journalism is both difficult and expensive. As political and economic uncertainty abound, so too do the challenges facing publishers in an increasingly unpredictable market. Yet at a time of momentous instability, the need for expertise and access to reliable content is more important than ever before. It is our aim, therefore, to enable companies and people to provide the highest quality content possible.
Further underlining the need for expert knowledge during the fallout of the referendum, Digiday’s report, “How the FT drove digital subscription sales by 600 percent over Brexit weekend” argues the case for high quality journalism and access to trusted information. In an attempt to “fulfil its journalistic duty of providing undecided voters access to both sides of the debate”, the FT dropped its paywall for the weekend, offering free content to all and thus increasing its digital sales by 600%. Of significance, “people did not simply pillage its content for free and then leave over the weekend. They bought subscriptions”. As inaccuracy continues to permeate the referendum debate, it is of no surprise that consumers are seeking trusted sources of information from experts and investing in publications which aim to deliver such expertise.
Shifting focus, Nieman Lab discussed the recent development to Facebook’s publishing agenda: Facebook is making its News Feed a little bit more about your friends and a little less about publishers. As Facebook announced “it is changing its News Feed algorithm to give...less weight to what publishers share”. Many feel this “is another step in the continued devaluation of large publisher followings” on the social network.
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