Three big media stories, explained in three sentences

  1. Buzzfeed has bought the rump of Huffpost. The high volume, mainstream news and entertainment segment is fiercely competitive and low margin. Very few players will survive and consolidation is inevitable. This says nothing about the viability of pure play digital media startups.
  2. Twitter has rolled out Fleets worldwide. This is the exact same "stories" product that Snapchat innovated, and Facebook has cloned into Insta and the main app. Everyone will complain and tell us how pointless it is, and in a year people will be using it productively.
  3. Google will no longer make AMP a pre-requisite for news carousel placement from next May. The only part of this story that is actually news is the date — we've known this is coming for six months (I wrote about it for members back in July). Bex has a good take on the consequences — and I'll have my piece ready next week.

There you go. Now let's get on with some fun stuff.

Matt Yglesias sub-substacks Vox

So, last week I did a month's worth of traffic in a couple of hours, thanks to my piece on Vox co-founder Matt Yglesias joining the Substackarati.

He's now written a long piece explaining why he left, which manages not to be a direct attack on his former colleagues, while certainly having that flavour about it. It's a worthwhile read — but I guarantee it will make some of you angry, and possibly for quite disparate reasons.

What’s wrong with the media
The young/urban/educated bubble in an era of growing polarization

Today in "Oh, FFS"

Publishing 101: don't let your advertising sales people undermine your editorial credibility. 🤦🏼‍♂️

For $25K, you can publish climate denial in The Washington Post
Should newspapers profit from spreading factual inaccuracies about deadly threats?

Facebook: a huge PR effort around a dark, sucking moral vacuum

Facebook doesn't care. Facebook cares about looking like it cares, though.

Facebook Knows That Adding Labels To Trump’s False Claims Does Little To Stop Their Spread
Internal data shows that labels on President Trump’s posts decrease reshares by about 8%. They still account for some of the most engaging posts on the platform.

Meme, explained

If you saw this tweet from me:

This will explain what was going on:

New meme mocks people who get upset over national anthem protests
A new joke format mocking people who get upset when others don’t stand during the national anthem is sweeping Twitter.

Tweet of the Week

Hope

Let's end the (working) week on a positive note. The Atlantic's coverage of the pandemic has been exceptional, and this piece captures why we should face the long, dark and isolated winter ahead with hope.

Back at the beginning of the summer, we had no idea if we'd get a viable vaccine. Now, it's looking increasingly likely we'll get multiple, extremely effective ones. For the first time, I feel like we can start talking about the end of the pandemic and what happens afterwards.

There are difficult times ahead — but we can finally see how they might end.

The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight
A year of scientific uncertainty is over. Two vaccines look like they will work, and more should follow.