Media Insider: New Media Group Tackles Disinformation, Media Companies Stage a Comeback, Apple News Expands Local Coverage

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

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Billionaires Back New Media Firm to Combat Disinformation

A new public benefit corporation backed by billionaires Reid Hoffman, George Soros, and others is launching this week to fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation. Good Information Inc. aims to fund and scale businesses that cut through echo chambers with fact-based information. As part of its mission, it plans to invest in local news companies. The group will be led by Tara McGowan, a former Democratic strategist who previously ran a progressive non-profit called ACRONYM.

USA Today unveiled a new service that allows digital subscribers to connect with its expert fact-checking team of reporters. 

Covid Comeback: News Corp, NYT, Gannett, DMGT, Reach and Future Market Caps Surpass Pre-Pandemic Heights

In March of last year, at the height of the global Covid-19 panic, company share prices across the world plummeted. In the U.S. and UK media sectors, news publishers including News Corp, the New York Times, Reach and Gannett were among the worst hit. Just over 18 months on, Britain and America’s largest listed consumer publishers have staged a full comeback on the stock market – and are now worth more than they were at the end of 2019. The Covid-19 crisis is not over, but after a tough period for the advertising market and print sales, the world’s investors have renewed trust in the news business.

Meanwhile, Google just had another record quarter.

Apple News Is Expanding Its Local Coverage to Three More U.S. Cities

Apple News is expanding its local news coverage to Charlotte, Miami, and Washington, D.C. Local coverage will give users access to numerous publications, such as Axios Charlotte, the Charlotte Observer, Eater Miami, the Miami Herald, DCist, Washingtonian, the Washington Post and more. Each local news experience is curated by Apple News editors and features coverage about topics ranging from restaurant openings and real estate trends to big policy decisions. Apple says it plans to expand its local news feature to more cities in the future.

Related: Four publishers share their best tips on growing audiences on social platforms.

Medill Aims to Set Industry Benchmarks for Subscriber Engagement

The steep decline in advertising sales at many newspapers has pushed them to expand and sustain subscription revenue. Northwestern University aims to help news publishers in those efforts with a software tool to benchmark their performance among key digital metrics. The Medill Subscriber Engagement Index measures the behavior of digital-only subscribers. Its indicators include subscribers added and lost, retention rate, average monthly web visits and type of device to view the site. The data was gathered from 44 newspapers throughout the United States. By early next year, 100 newsrooms are expected to use the tool as standardize their subscription data to more comparable.

ICYMI: Vox Media has built a visual way for deaf audiences to experience podcasts.

Publishers Are Seeing Increases in Advertiser Requests Around Climate and Sustainability Coverage

As publishers invest in more climate coverage this year, the question remains whether or not this content category is also drawing interest from advertisers. For BBC, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Group Nine Media and The Economist, the answer is yes. Advertisers are sending out more requests for publishers to pitch campaign or sponsorship opportunities around their solutions-based journalism, showing a growing interest this year in publishers’ coverage of climate and sustainability. For example, the Financial Times has seen a tenfold increase in RFPs year over year from advertisers seeking to align themselves with the FT’s climate, sustainability and ESG content.

Also from Digiday: Dow Jones expands Twitter ad revenue-sharing deals to include more properties.

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing, baking, and cuddling with her dog Toody.

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