Media Insider: Google Tests Subscription Tool, Twitter Hashtag Turns 10, Brands Blacklist Mainstream News Sites

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

Google tests subscription tool for publishers

Google wants to boost subscriptions for news publishers and it’s testing new tools to do it. The New York Times and Financial Times are the first testers, according to Bloomberg Technology. Google is using a “first click free” feature that allows readers to access articles from subscription publications through search. Google is also exploring publishers’ tools around mobile payment services and targeting potential subscribers through its Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP). This is all part of Google’s broader effort to keep consumers and content creators returning to the web — “the lifeblood of its ads business,” reports Bloomberg.

Up for debate: Can a more decentralized web help combat the overwhelming power that platforms have over news and information?

As the hashtag celebrates its 10th birthday, are we #Blessed?

Ten years ago, the pound sign (#) was first used to catergorize topics on Twitter. Now, an average of 125 million hashtags are shared every day around the world on Twitter, reports The New York Times. The hashtag has evolved and is now used on other social platforms — like Instagram. They have proven useful for aggregating meaningful commentary around topics like #blacklivesmatter and #yesallwomen. But, according to digital journalism professor Robert Hernandez, the overuse has also resulted in a “hashtag pollution.”

Keep up with major platform developments: Tow Center for Digital Journalism is releasing an interactive timeline that collects platform developments since 2000.

Brands are now blacklisting mainstream news sites

Media buyers are pulling ads from mainstream news sites because, with recent political tensions, they are perceived as too controversial. Brands have always blacklisted spoofed domains and problematic sites, but now they want to prevent ads from showing up on any news sites. The list includes CNN, New York Times, and Fox News, reports Digiday. The brands want to avoid serving ads in the news category, in case content does not align with their values.

Publishers are also hitting a wall with native ads. The Washington Post is trying to solve the problem with artificial intelligence.

Mic is laying off staff as it prepares for a pivot to video, a millennial news site, announced it would lay off 25 staffers from its news and editorial department in larger pivot to video. The decision was made as part of Mic’s vision to be the leader in visual journalism, reports Business Insider. The digital publisher plans to allocate more resources behind the new market of “tap stories.” Mic’s founder Chris Altchek believes it will become a dominant form of news consumption for its audience, and ultimately help distinguish the site from its competition. Staffers revealed their layoffs on Twitter.

Also filed under staff adjustments: The Village Voice Shutters Print Edition

Need a current event update? You can get it from YouTube’s Breaking News

YouTube now has a “Breaking News” section that contains a collection of videos that share breaking news from around the world. YouTube users will see a collection of horizontally scrollable videos specific to their region, and can opt out by clicking ‘x’ on desktop or the “Not Interested” option on a mobile device. TechCrunch reports that it’s not yet clear whether the section will be a constant addition to the platform.

FYI: Mobile will dominate news media by 2020.

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Tabresha B. Langham is a Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She also is a social media junkie, foodie, music fiend and Auburn University Alumn (War Eagle!). Tune into her insights as a social curator at @PRNmedia, or follow @TabreshaL.

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