3 to read: Articles are worthless — but not readers | Defending The Skimm | The Intercept screwed the leaker

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

June 13, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. This article is worthless (but its readers are not): Individual stories are worth pennies, at best. But the subscribers the story brings in — that’s something else entirely. Andrew Dunn on Medium argues reporters need to understand they are not content producers — they are building a paying audience. As Dunn puts it: “Chasing page views is a losing battle. Building a stable of committed, enthusiastic subscribers is the only way to sustain a news product in the Internet era.”

2. In defense of The Skimm & a lighter take on the news: The Skimm newsletter gets whacked by critics for its bubbly take on what’s happening in the world, as it writes about the light and heavy. It’s easy to see how its casual writing tone drives some people crazy… but also easy to see why some find it irresistible. (“Some” as in millions, actually.) Kaitlin Ugolik in Columbia Jrn Review rips critics who hold their noses. Look, she says, The Skimm reaches people the MSM would die for. Is that really a bad thing? Shut up, and learn.

3. Did the Intercept blow its NSA leaker’s identity?: A thoughtful look at possible mistakes by the leaker (understandable) and by The Intercept (not understandable, for a veteran organization that prides itself on protecting its sources), which led to the arrest of the improbably named Reality Winner. A step-by-step breakdown of the simple and sophisticated ways it all went wrong. By Jake Swearingen for select/all.

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Matt Carroll is a journalism professor at Northeastern University.

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