The Boston Globe’s Facebook page is approaching half a million likes. But for a regional outlet that’s staked its future on paying subscribers, glancing interest from Facebook users doesn’t then turn into a pipeline for loyal readers and subscribers.
Last March, Ev Williams described his publishing platform, Medium, as a superior alternative to the rest of the web. “It’s a simplistic view to say go where the people are,” Williams said. “You need to go where the right people are.”
One of the biggest shocks of 2016 was the failure of opinion polls to predict the Brexit referendum results and the victory of Donald Trump at the U.S. elections.
In the past six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction: The first note was posted a full two weeks later to the top of the original article; the other was buried the following day at the bottom.
It’s a dangerous time to be a journalist in a courtroom. Aggressive lawsuits against Gawker and Mother Jones, and more recently Techdirt, risk a chilling effect on news organizations and embolden powerful people with the financial wherewithal to level lawsuits against stories they find fault with — regardless of whether the stories actually make any false claims.
They say millennials don’t read newspapers, but one just bought a small-town weekly.