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A Denver publisher's appeal to passions
Plus, ways the NYT, Gannett, and Hearst are using AI
I recently listened to an interview with Adam Mares, co-founder of the local media startup DNVR. The site launched in 2014 as a Denver Nuggets fan blog and today anchors the ALLCITY Network, a local media company with a portfolio of podcasts, videos, and websites covering sports in Denver, Phoenix, and Chicago.
During the interview, Mares and host Ben Thompson touched on several specific reasons for DNVR’s success, including the recent strength of Denver sports teams and the rise of sports gambling advertising.
But throughout, Mares kept returning to another explanation: DNVR’s brand. Not just its visual aesthetic, but the “gut feeling” DNVR elicits from its audience.
He describes it like this:
We are speaking with passion; we’re all people that have a deep connection to the city, and that comes through in our coverage, whether it’s intentional or not. So all these people that listen to our show every day and connect and identify with us, they’re also hearing this passion we have for our state and for our city and that’s why I think it becomes hyper-local.
While many local outlets appeal to their reader’s ideals, DNVR connects with their audience over a shared passion for their hometown teams and the city itself.
According to Mares, this brand has enabled DNVR to build a diversified, profitable business. The company makes 75% of its revenue from sponsorships but also sells merchandise and owns a local bar, where it hosts popular watch parties.
It’s a reminder that in our increasingly virtual world, place is still powerful. Local publishers no longer control the distribution of news in their city, but they can build trusted relationships (and durable businesses) by speaking authentically to their communities’ passions and interests.
At last month’s INMA World Congress, leaders shared how their news organizations are leveraging AI:
The New York Times uses a mix of editorial curation and AI to power its “In Case You Missed It” homepage module.
Gannett built story templates powered by National Weather service data to help introduce readers to its climate journalism.
Hearst developed a bot that suggests headlines, SEO keywords, and summaries for editors and journalists in its local newsrooms.
The Globe and Mail is using AI to identify themes from its top headlines.
And here’s the latest news in digital media:
Apple News+ is adding a daily crossword puzzle. The new feature will be available for paid subscribers as part of the upcoming iOS 17 update. Currently, Apple News+ subscribers get access to premium content from several hundred publishers, along with audio versions of articles.
41% of Americans trust their local news to “get things right.” This stat comes from a new Medill survey, which also found that: 1) Only 30% of Americans believe local media are holding “public officials accountable,” 2) 36% believe “local journalists are in touch with the needs of [their] community,” and 3) TV and social media are the top daily and weekly sources for local news.
CNET updated its AI policy. According to the new policy, the outlet will continue exploring how AI can help organize large amounts of data & information and assist with certain editorial tasks, like creating outlines or analyzing drafts. For now, CNET will not use AI to write full stories or generate images and videos.
More on publishers:
Bustle Digital Group laid off 5% of staff, its fourth round of cuts in the past year.
The NYT union ratified a deal that includes a $65K salary floor and raises for all members.
The Messenger is working with SEO consultants to boost its presence in Google.
Study Hall, a newsletter-based community for freelance journalists, was acquired by the freelance platform OutVoice.
More on platforms:
Instagram is testing a feature where users can DM with an AI chatbot.
Reddit is laying off about 90 employees and slowing hiring.
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