What Can Prison Teach You About Audience Development

Digital publishing news for January 28, 2014

Recruitment Advisor has posted a fun article about the audience development campaign that’s underway for the newspaper at the San Quentin correctional facility. Mary Hiers writes, “The publication of San Quentin News shows that compelling copy can be created anywhere, including within very specific and limited organizations. The 20-page monthly publication is roughly equal to a full page of news for every business day of the month, indicating that even hyperlocal publications can produce sufficient content for audience development and revenue development as well. And remember: the inmates responsible for the publication are not even able to do online research.”

Compelling content is the foundation for any audience development plan. The prison has developed a 12-year plan in conjunction with the Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to build its audience to 120,000 readers. Heirs adds, “The plan is one that any publication can appreciate: building the newspaper’s brand, getting people to pay for subscriptions, having a social media strategy, and recruiting volunteer grant writers.” Obstacles can force you to think creatively. If they can do it, so can you!

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The Super Bowl App is a Digital Magazine

Talking New Media reports that this year’s official Super Bowl program is now an interactive magazine. D.B. Hebbard writes, “For a mere $1.99 you can have this year’s program in an interactive magazine app – plus download digital versions of older programs, as well. Super Bowl XLVIII – NFL Official Program, from NFL Enterprises, is now available in the App Store. The app actually dates back to January 2011 when it first appeared. I don’t remember much about that first version of the app, though it may have been created by ScrollMotion.” The program features videos, photos, and other interactive elements to get people into the big game, even if you can’t be in the stadium.

Publishing Platform Medium Raises 25 Million

Recode is reporting that Twitter co-founder Ev Williams’ startup Medium has raised $25 million dollars. Mike Isaac and Kara Swisher report, “This also marks the first time that Medium — a blogging product that sits somewhere in between Williams’s previous companies Twitter and Blogger — has taken capital from outside venture firms since its founding. Williams, in an interview earlier this week, cited a few reasons: As Medium scales, taking money from multiple investors is a signal of long-term thinking and diversification to the company’s employees; and the more parties that have a stake in Medium outside of Williams, the more they have a stake in the company’s success.”

First Look Media Previews “Family” of Digital Magazines

Poynter is reporting that First Look Media, the new media company headed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, plans to launch soon. Andrew Beaujon writes, “Omidyar says that in addition to a flagship site covering news, entertainment, sports and politics, the venture plans to launch “a family of digital magazines.” Each “will be dedicated to a specific topic,” he says. “Each will have its own look and feel, its own editorial voice, and each will be led by a visionary experienced journalist.”

Animation Names New Editor-in-Chief

Animation Magazine has named Thomas J. McLean as its new editor. “McLean has more than two decades of experience as a professional journalist, having most recently covered visual effects and animation in feature films for AwardsLine, the awards-season publication of Deadline.com, and Variety.”


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