[Editor’s note: A version of this article by Anton Protsiuk appeared in the latest edition of The Fix’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest media news, opportunities, and insights every Monday.]
As shown by the most recent Digital News Report, more and more people are getting their news from social media and messaging apps. That means news publishers need to adapt, providing verified and high-quality information on social media and elsewhere.
Last week, Nieman Lab published a story about The Continent, a pan-African weekly that is distributed on WhatsApp and Signal. This unusual format helps get reliable information across to readers – and circumvent censorship.
As the author noted, “WhatsApp’s encryption meant that The Continent could not be banned in Tanzania, at a time when that country’s mainstream media reporting on Covid-19 was severely muzzled by the government.”
Despite problems with misinformation and hate speech, social platforms remain a powerful tool against censorship. When Tut.by, the top news site in Belarus was blocked by the authorities in May, the outlet retained its voice thanks to its social media accounts, including its Instagram profile and Telegram channel.
Newsletters are another great alternative to reach readers where they are. According to one study, a typical knowledge worker checks their inbox 77 times a day.
For insights and advice on newsletter strategy, check The Fix’s recent list of the ways publishers are using newsletters to grow paying members – as well as the case study of newsletter transformation by Funke Mediengruppe, a German media company that managed to achieve a five-fold increase in the number of subscribers over the past year.