3 to read: Yes, defend Assange | Hollywood scorns NYT | Subscriptions can save local news

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

May 16, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. Defend a free press: Hold your nose & stand up for Julian Assange: Let’s face it, Wikileak’s Julian Assange is not a likeable guy: He’s an accused rapist who helped Donald Trump get elected by working with Russian agents. So the US has said prosecuting Assange is a priority. Anything wrong with that prosecution? Well, yes there is, argues the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan. Going after Assange could be Trump’s sly way of attacking a free and independent media. After all, Assange does what the NYT and WaPo do all the time — publish secret government information. A great, counterintuitive read.

2. Hell hath no fury like the NYT scorned (by Hollywood): The Times and WaPo in recent years have renewed their decades-long news battles, which is one reason why this story is so fun. What’s happened is that Hollywood plans to make a story about the breaking of the “Pentagon Papers,” which in the 1970s exposed the secret history of the Vietnam war. The papers were first published by the NYT. So the movie of course is all about … The Post. It’s even called “The Post,” and will star A-listers Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. Old timers at the NYT are not amused… at all. A wonderfully fun read, by Thomas Vinciguerra for CJR.

3. Subscriptions are the savior of the local news: Local newsrooms need to build their revenue models around paying subscribers, not advertising, writes Ben Thompson in Stratechery. Most newsrooms have built their revenue models on advertising, but that’s obsolete thinking. What readers really want is quality information they care about. So supply that — and charge for it.

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Matt Carroll is a journalism professor at Northeastern University.

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