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The operator-led media model
Plus, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is giving away subscriptions to high school grads
Last week, we learned about the launch of Turpentine, a new media company that covers tech “from the perspective of industry insiders and experts.”
Turpentine is currently publishing four podcasts, including the recently launched “Media Empires” on the media industry. Over time, the company plans to expand into a variety of niches by recruiting industry operators to launch new podcasts. Their pitch to prospective talent: “You bring us the great idea, and we handle everything else, soup to nuts (production, growth, monetization).”
Turpentine joins a cohort of companies, including Every, WorkWeek, and Acquired, that are quietly reinventing professional media. These companies differ in the specifics, but they share a belief that operators learn best from other operators. In the word’s of Terpentine’s founder Erik Torenberg: “We believe that the world’s most interesting, important, and useful ideas and experiences come from those with skin in the game, sharing their expertise and passion.”
This thesis counterpositions these companies against much of existing B2B media. Where many incumbents focus on news and research written from a more neutral, journalistic perspective, this new cohort tends to excel in analysis and commentary, forms that leverage their operators’ passion and experience.
In my own media diet, I’ve gravitated toward this operator-created content. While I still read and value reporting from traditional trade outlets, I now spend far more time with insider podcasts and newsletters. The best of these feel like a freewheeling conversation with a smart colleague, equal parts enjoyable and insightful.
Of course, I’m biased. At Business Side, we’re building a version of this model ourselves, one that’s narrowly focused on the business of digital media. It’s early days for us, but it’s energizing when others see the world through a similar lens. To that end, I’ll be following Turpentine for inspiration and rooting for their success.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is offering all Minnesota high school graduates a free one-year digital subscription. Some key details:
Graduates can sign up by providing their name, email address, high school, and ZIP code in a Google form.
More than 250 grads have already signed up for a subscription, surpassing the “original modest benchmark” of 200 sign ups.
The experiment is part of the Star Tribune’s News in Education program, which provides free digital subscriptions to all Minnesota school districts.
And here’s the latest news in digital media:
Google is launching News Showcase in the US later this summer. The company will pay more than 150 publishers to feature their content in the product, which is already live in Google News in more than 20 countries. The move comes as governments around the world consider legislation that would require platforms to pay news publishers for distributing their content in products like Google Search and Facebook Newsfeed.
More on publishers:
Morning Consult is “dissolving” their newsroom and laying off about seven journalists.
Gizmodo named CNET’s Dan Ackerman as the site’s new editor in chief.
Vice’s UK staff is considering a strike in response to the outlet’s redundancy offers.
More on platforms:
Meta is in talks with Oprah and the Dalai Lama about being early users on its “sanely run” Twitter competitor.
LinkedIn now lets company pages direct message with other users on the platform.
Reddit launched two new ad formats: 1) contextual keyword targeting, and 2) product ads, which target users in the buying process.
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