Matt’s Monday digital digest — Issue #76

Imported from Revue, sign up here.

Hey hey, good morning,

I know it says Issue #1 up there. I will fix that. You are not in a time warp. Do not panic.

You might have also noticed some other things have changed. I’m trialling Revue as a new sending solution over MailChimp, and this is for a few reasons.

If you’re interested, number one is that I read and go through a load of stuff every week and finding the right content and pasting it into the relevant boxes is not what MailChimp was made for. But Revue integrates with my regular services to make this super easy. So I should be getting some earlier nights on Sundays from now on.

Given that I’ve never talked about what tools I do use I thought I should probably give a shoutout to a couple of them here. Flick to the next heading if you’re totally uninterested.


Three great tools here:

  • is the best (and one of the few remaining) bookmarking and searching services online. It’s ugly as hell, but it does work really reliably, have a bunch of integrations and an API, and most importantly an attractive $25/year archiving service that cleverly scrapes all of the content you save to it so you can full-text search it from Pinboard.

Media links

“Biggest drop in Facebook organic reach we have ever seen”

Facebook have been trialling a new feed in six nations, and one Slovakian journalist has noticed how this is affecting their traffic. CrowdTangle is showing the 60 largest Slovak Facebook pages have 1/3 of the reach they had previously, and 4x fewer interactions. It’s no wonder when this new feed, the Explore feed, is separated from your news feed, which is now friends (and ads) only.

It was predicted that in the future you would have to pay for a place on Facebook’s feed. Looks like that future might be arriving sooner than we thought.

Young subscribers flock to old media

Some good subs numbers here for some of the older giants in this piece from Politico. The New Yorker has seen a 106% increase in signups from millennials, and The Atlantic is seeing a 130% growth.

The oddest thing though, from Dwayne Sheppard of Conde Nast:

“Millennials are choosing print overwhelmingly, or digital and print,” he said. “It’s a physical manifestation of the relationship. You’re on the subway or you’re in the airport and you’re carrying your New Yorker, that’s another signal of what you care about and what you choose to read.”

Vegas timeline videosixteenbynine1050
Vegas timeline videosixteenbynine1050

10 Minutes. 12 Gunfire Bursts. 30 Videos. Mapping the Las Vegas

This is an incredible piece of storytelling you should stop to watch, though it is quite graphic at times. The NYT has put together 30 pieces of citizen-recorded and police-released video during the 10 minutes of violence in Las Vegas earlier this month. By analysing the sounds of gunfire and visual clues, each piece of video maps out another part of the tragedy in time and space, and takes you through all ten minutes of the event.

It’s a spectacle in what is now possible with UGC.

Social media crackdowns at the Times and Journal will backfire

A good piece of criticism from Matt Ingram that tears apart the NYT and WSJ’s new social media guidelines previews in last week’s newsletter.

If someone tells you that they have no opinion, even on serious issues, that they are totally objective and that they also never make a mistake, you would probably think they are either a liar or a sociopath. And yet that is what social-media policies like the ones at the Times and the Journal are asking people to believe.

13 things I learned from six years at the Guardian

This is full of absolutely excellent points that all newsroom leaders should take note of.

Some key ones:

I’ve been lucky to be involved in the development of Ophan, the Guardian’s in-house live stats tool, and the most common misconception about it is that it’s just a data display. It’s never been that: it’s a cultural change tool. It’s not just about putting numbers into the hands of editorial people — it’s explicitly about getting them to change the way they make decisions, and to make them better.


In a fast-moving environment where everything is constantly changing (eg: the internet, the news, and/or social media) you have no way of knowing what someone else might need to know in order to do their job well. The only way to deal with this is to be a conduit for information, and not bottle anything up or hide it unless it’s genuinely confidential. I can’t possibly know what information I come across might turn out to be helpful in a few months’ time, and I definitely don’t have the knowledge to do that for anyone else.

Tech links

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How big is Twitter Moments?

Some good thoughts and analysis on Twitter Moments here from VC Balaji S. Srinivasan. He estimates Twitter Moments to be a larger news organisation in terms of viewership online than the Washington Post or CNN. More importantly, Twitter are doing this with their own editorial staff, not outsourcing it to the publishers like FB.

So what can Twitter do with all those eyeballs? And does it even matter? Moments suck, right?

Alphabet’s CapitalG Leads $1 Billion Round in Lyft

Lyft have a $1bn injection led by Google’s late-stage capital arm. Maybe Google are setting up a home for Waymo?

Facebook and Apple can’t agree on terms, so Facebook’s subscription tool will only launch on Android phones

Thanks Apple. Facebook (and I’ll be purposefully naive here) tries to help publishers make some money through putting 100% of the sale through to them, and Apple won’t have it. Apple of course want their 30%. Facebook pulls out.

Thanks Apple.

Meanwhile Google are going to try to help news orgs get new subs by handing those it thinks are easy prey over, and taking a small cut.

Netflix hides their viewing numbers, but Nielsen uses audio recognition software for a clue

This is excellent insight on a New York Times piece that reveals that Nielsen are planning to unveil Netflix viewing figures based on their sample data from Nielsen households, where their set-top boxes have been recording audio and sampling it against cloud-data to recognise certain kinds of programming.

The reminder is that we all have a Nielsen box in our homes now: it’s just not from Nielsen, it’s from Amazon, and would we mind it doing some audio recognition for a couple of bucks a month off Prime?

That’s enough for this week. Thanks for reading. Please do ping me on Twitter or email with your thoughts.

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