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Newsrooms tap readers to help with newsgathering costs.

Newsrooms across America are turning to readers to help with newsgathering costs.

BuzzFeed News is the latest newsroom to ask its readers to help with costs, according The Wall Street Journal.

The digital media and marketing company plans to announce a new feature at the bottom of its news pages allowing readers to donate between $5 and $100. It asks readers to "help us report to you" and calls upon them to join a community that will shape the future of BuzzFeed News.

As part of the news arrangement, contributors will get updates on big investigations and new programming from Buzz-Feed News, according to the Journal. If the new model works, it could be a prelude to a membership program with more perks.

BuzzFeed has tested other financing initiatives in recent months, including the automated or "programmatic" ads, production deals with companies including Netflix Inc. and Twitter and licensing of brands like its Tasty food subsidiary

Executives at BuzzFeed news decided to launch the donation feature after observing other news organizations that have appealed to readers for support. The Guardian, a UK-based newspaper, raised $130 million from reader revenues from April 2016 to March 2017. BuzzFeed was also informed by research from the Google News Initiative that showed a portion of the company's readers were likely to support its journalism, according to the Journal.

The decision to launch a donate button on BuzzFeed News comes as the digital media company, founded in 2006, seeks to boost revenue growth.

As tech giants such as Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook and Amazon take a growing share of digital ad money, news outlets are increasingly leaning on reader revenue to fuel growth. For many in the media, this means adding or bolstering subscription paywalls.

Influencer marketing best practices

Influencer marketing has become one of the fastest growing channels for marketers and their PR agencies to engage consumers.

Studies have shown that working with influencers on a multi-channel campaign can drive up to 16 times more engagement than paid or owned media, according to PR Week

Marketers expect more in return as they bring on more influencers. This dynamic is changing the process of contracting with influencer talent.

In light of recent Federal Trade Commission developments, all involved parties should keep the following principles in mind, according to PR Week:

* Pay attention to the form of disclosures.

According to the most recent batch of FTC letters and updated FAQs, certain hashtags, such as #partner, #ambassador, and #thanks [brand] without further context are not sufficient. Hashtags such as #paid, #ad, and #sponsored are likely to be sufficient, as well as organic disclosures that clearly describe the nature of the material connection.

* Ensure disclosures are clear and prominent.

* Implement a social media policy.

* Understand who is signing the agreement.

Increasingly, agreements are not negotiated with individual influencers, but rather with influencer networks on behalf of many influencers. Be aware that networks frequently try to avoid direct responsibility for influencer content. Influencers are the new celebrities, and negotiating these deals may require as much detail as a traditional celebrity talent or production.

* Define the influencer content.

* Specify exclusivity

Where content is being produced solely for one marketer, be sure to establish specific guidelines regarding exclusivity.

* Approvals and ownership.

Ensure that the marketer has the ability to review and approve influencer content (and request revisions).

* Build in legal/regulatory compliance.

Contracts should require influencers to represent and warrant that they will comply with all applicable laws, including the FTC guides, and further that the content they provide will not infringe upon any third party rights, including copyright and rights of publicity.

Football Mic | Nike kicks off NFL season with controversial Kaepernick ad campaign

Nike is pulling an end around to kickoff the NFL football season - and is not backing away from controversy.

Its latest campaign, celebrating the 30th anniversary of its iconic "Just Do It" tagline, includes polarizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the push.

Hot on the heels of some standout ads starring tennis champ Serena Wilhams, Nike is featuring Kaepernick the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who led player protests during the national anthem, in its anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.

Kaepernick announced his role in a tweet that included a striking black-and-white close-up of his face with the words: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

Kaepernick who has gone unsigned since March of last year and alleges he has effectively been banished for his outspoken political views, has signed a new multi-year deal with Nike, just months after Nike renewed its partnership with the NFL.

Following the announcement, the hashtags #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt started trending on Twitter and shares started falling. Some angry consumers even posted photos and videos of themselves burning their Nike shoes and other gear to protest the company using the divisive figure in its ad campaign.

The "Just Do It" campaign will also feature athletes such as Wilhams, NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin, a rookie linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks whose left hand was amputated when he was a child.

In backing Kaepernick, whom the company has sponsored since 2011, Nike is making a high-stakes gamble that its customers support his protest, or at least enough of them do. The company is also betting its brand can withstand criticism from conservative corners, including the White House.

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season. That year, he began kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against African-Americans and other racial injustices. Dozens of other players also began joining Kaepernick and he has grown into a symbol of racial equality in America.

Nike is not afraid to take this political football up the middle, and is making a stand for what it believes. More often than not, brands avoid taking a position out of fear of alienating consumers - and that backlash is beginning to form in certain quarters. This new ad campaign certainly fuels an already exciting start to the football season. It will be interesting to see if Nike's campaign gets sacked or scores a touchdown.

Each week The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising - and those who don't. Stay tuned - and step-up to the mic! And remember... Amplify Your Brand!

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm--based in Nashville, Tenn--is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at, and follow him @spinsurgeon.
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Title Annotation:THE SPIN CYCLE
Comment:Newsrooms tap readers to help with newsgathering costs.(THE SPIN CYCLE)
Author:Smith, Todd
Publication:Mississippi Business Journal
Date:Sep 7, 2018
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