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Commonplace Reading - Issue #26

Hello, and thanks for opening. First, a bit of news. This will be the last issue of Commonplace Readi
Commonplace Reading - Issue #26
By Adam Tinworth • Issue #26 • View online
Hello, and thanks for opening.
First, a bit of news. This will be the last issue of Commonplace Reading. However, the newsletter’s not going away. You’ll receive another issue next week - and so on thereafter. But it is changing name —to Engaged Reading Time — and I’ll explain why, after the links. Because it’s more than just a change of name.
In the meantime, here’s your irregular collection of good reading from the interwebs:

Publishing
Here’s a few positive things, in amongst the gloom of recent weeks…
The Oral History of The Nib Magazine
Ten Years Ago, Almost Everyone in Media Got Fired
Fewer nosy neighbors and data overlords: This German publisher is trying to build a hyperlocal social network
The kids are alright. Grandpa’s the problem
Video Break
I’m a sucker for things like this — an old piece of footage, speed corrected and stabilised using digital technology. It makes those early films feel so much more compellingly real.
Late 1890s - A Trip Through Paris, France (speed corrected w/ added sound)
Late 1890s - A Trip Through Paris, France (speed corrected w/ added sound)
The joy of blogging
One of the things I’ve missed about the old days of blogging, is that you run across far less gentle, ruminative content than you once did. Everyone now has to be blogging for a purpose. So, here’s a few more gentle, traditional blog posts that you might enjoy:
Nature Notes
How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging
Visual Stimulation
The Eerie Hometown of the Jackson 5
Finding Lena Forsen, the Patron Saint of JPEGs
By the way…
One Man & His Blog has had a huge visual refresh - and I’ve been blogging up a storm there over the last couple of weeks. Check it out, and let me know what you think.
Lastly…
Next issue: Engaged Reading Time
Big announcement time:
From next issue, this newsletter will be called Engaged Reading Time. And it will come in two editions.
  • The normal, free, “interesting links” newsletter
  • A new, paid newsletter for people interested in audience engagement.
Let me explain the rationale:
I met with a former student a couple of weeks ago, who works in a senior audience engagement role for a national newspaper in the UK. They mentioned, as part of the discussion, that plenty of other newspapers keep trying to hire for audience engagement roles, but they don’t really know what they are looking for. A week later, I was talking to a journalism academic, and I mentioned this. And they said: “Surely, that’s where you come in?”
The penny dropped.
I’ve been keen to do more consulting work, and to find a way of making more money from my enforced “at home” time. (I work four days a week, and two of them have to be near home, because of the school and nursery runs.) I’ve always avoided the social media consulting area, because there are so many good people in that space - like Matt or Sue - preferring to lean into general digital journalism skills.
After the Facepocalypse of last year, the journalism industry is finally realising that just shoving links into Facebook is not the future it thought it ways. And to build sustainable audiences, you need an audience engagement strategy. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years.
Audience Engagement is a broad-brush, multi-disciplinary skill. It takes in social media, SEO, video, community building, podcasts, newsletters, content strategy and analytics. It’s the art of understanding your audience, reaching your audience - and building content offering around that audience.
As an industry, we’re still pretty lousy at it - as the weeks of layoffs show. And I want to help do something about that. In the coming days, I’ll be launching an explicit audience engagement consulting practice. I have a course running already (one place left, as I type this.) And I’m introducing a paid newsletter.
At least once a week, I’ll compile the best links and learning I’ve found on the topic, add some analysis, and wing it out to my paying subscribers. At weekends, this “fun links” newsletter will still circulate.
If you just want the fun links - you need do nothing else. It will still just keep coming. If you’re interested in the other part of the newsletter - the practical guidance for engaged editors and journalists - I’ll details how to sign up later in the week. (But, as a clue, there’s a sign-up link at the bottom of this newsletter…)
I’ll be honest - I’m nervous. I’ve never, in my seven years in self-employment, offered a product like this before. It’s possible no-one will care - or so few people that it fails to be sustainable.
But I also know that I care deeply about it, that journalism needs to develop and share these skills if it is to survive. And I know that I can help.
Until next time,
Adam

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