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Spending less time on news is bad for publishers but good for society

It’s nearly expected these days for upstart news publications to declare, in some form, that news is “broken.” That was the pitch Axios made in 2015, as CEO Jim VandeHei memorably lamented the “crap trap” of lightweight, inconsequential “content” produced as sacrifices to the algorithmic gods. A version of this has been deployed more recently, including by Justin Smith to describe the impetus of starting a new global news operation. Similarly, Grid identified  an audience that “wants a deeper, clearer understanding of the world around them, regardless of their political orientation.”

Consider other signs that news is out of favor:

  • Facebook is running from news, officially dropping “news” from the Newsfeed in favor of just feed.
  • The New York Times, arguably the most successful news company in the world, is seeing more growth from non-news subscription products than its news product. No surprise that it bought Wordle to shore up its gaming ambitions.
  • News consumption has declined significantly, according to an Axios analysis from last year.
  • The percentage of respondents who say they’re extremely or very interested in news fell by 17% among U.S.respondents who identify as conservatives, according to the Reuters Institute.

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