by Eric Potter Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute October 31, 2018 When Tamara Power-Drutis worked at Crosscut Public Media, a nonprofit news site in Seattle, she was involved with the site’s email newsletter. She was absolutely sure they were doing it wrong. She just didn’t know in what way. “It went out twice a day, but we didn’t [...]
On the 52nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, 31 states with histories of racial discrimination no longer have federal oversight of their voting process. If judging only by the 99 new laws proposed in 2017 to restrict registration and voting access, one might assume that voter fraud is a widespread issue. Yet according to a study in May by the Brennan Center for Justice, of the 23.5 million votes cast in the 2016 general election, only an estimated 30 incidents across 42 jurisdictions were referred to by election officials as suspected noncitizen voting. In a one-year period, America has had more proposed laws prohibiting voting than cases of actual voter fraud incidents. So what makes a statistically nonexistent issue warrant the current level of scrutiny or legislative action?
Some newspaper subscribers head to their mailboxes every morning to grab the paper. Others open their inboxes and scroll through email newsletters to find stories to read. In the age of the internet, email newsletters are yet another direct way for newsrooms to connect with their audiences. They create a more intimate relationship with subscribers, drive traffic to the main website and boost revenue. Although beneficial, it can be a challenge for newsrooms to set aside time and resources to craft an effective newsletter. That’s where the free tool Opt In can help.
Last week’s horrifying murder of Nabra Hassanen placed a spotlight on the increase in Anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States since the 2016 presidential election. While hard data on these crimes is difficult to piece together given the individual and institutional barriers to reporting, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) 2017 Civil Rights Report cites 2,213 bias incidents in the last year, including 260 anti-Muslim hate crimes. This marks a 44% rise from 2015, and a staggering 584% increase from 2014, when the group counted just 38 hate crimes.
So you heard that email newsletters are the hot new trend for news organizations looking to reach highly engaged audiences and now you’re thinking of starting one in your newsroom. But where should you start? A new tool out Monday from the Seattle-based Crosscut Public Media and Reynolds Journalism Institute hopes to help answer newsroom’s newsletter questions.
Crosscut is researching the most effective way to convert unique news readers into engaged email subscribers in partnership with the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Tamara Power-Drutis, former executive director at Crosscut and RJI fellow, served as the project leader. Later this year, Crosscut will release what Power-Drutis describes as a free “newsletter playbook tool” to serve as a guide for news organizations.
With no silver bullet or obvious funding solution for the future of journalism, our eyes are glued to the horizon for the next great idea. But what if some of those ideas aren’t on the horizon, but right in front of us? As Freek Staps wrote in his roadmap for media entrepreneurship, “Not every idea has to be a blockbuster. Small successes can also lead to new revenue streams (and a larger scaled transformation in the newsroom).” One of those nonblockbuster opportunities is likely sitting in your inbox right now: newsletters. If done well, newsletters can inform subscribers while also generating revenue. However, it’s important to know from the outset what the main purpose is. For curators interested in monetizing their newsletter, here are four possible methods to consider.