Can text message-based news work? Indiana’s The New Paper thinks so

What's New in Publishing 22 Sep 2020 07:55

Text-based notifications have a decidedly mixed reputation amongst publishers. Associated with sensationalist headlines and annoying interruptions, they can alienate the very audiences they are meant to engage with if either the content or frequency aren’t pitched exactly right.

Fast forward to 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the zeitgeist with publishers looking to react swiftly to changing circumstances, and audiences demanding news notifications as they happen.

Publishers wade into text-based notifications

The Arizona Republic started sending out free text notifications in March, sending up to four texts on the pandemic daily. The title varies its approach, and the notifications range from updates on news conferences by the state Governor to dialoguing with readers about hobbies they pursued in lockdown. Over 2,500 people have signed up for the service which is powered by Subtext, a platform that allows journalists to send text message updates to readers.

BuzzFeed News was another publisher that launched a text-based notification service earlier this year, with journalist Mat Honan texting readers the latest Covid-19 numbers and news. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Honan comments, “I’ve viewed this from the get-go like a form of service journalism, and an interesting way to both give and receive information”. Audience replies have included photos from a long-haul trucker traversing the country and a message from someone facing an eating disorder whilst locked down.

Speaking to WNIP, Michael Aft, CEO, comments, “Starting the day with a common set of facts is more important than ever in today’s world. But the unfortunate truth is that it’s hard work to stay informed.”

Continue reading original article...


Michael AftBuzzFeed NewsMat HonanHonanBen Koski
You may also like