Economy Signal: The Next Farm Crisis May Be Happening Now, Right in Front of Us

I try not worry about the economy too much, but articles like this one (about college debt), and now this one about the potential impending farm crisis make it hard not to worry.

While the big farms have been able to absorb losses and weather ups and downs—at least until recently—the many farmers who have not gotten big or gotten out have struggled day-to-day for decades. Seventy percent of farmers make less than a quarter of their income from farming and only 46 percent have positive net income from their operations.

via Is the Second Farm Crisis Upon Us? | Civil Eats

Signal: Podcast Marketplace is starting to mature

Panoply just decided to get out of the content business. This seems like a clear signal (albeit from one company) that the space is starting to mature. For a while, they were all over the place, strategically. Creating content, distributing, creating a paid app, etc. But, as the market grows and goes from “interesting” to “real”, they are focusing their strategy to zero in on monetizing via ads and adtech. It’s their way to win in a market that could be analyzed via what Ben Thompson would call “aggregation theory

Media Innovation: The Texas Tribune

Because – for a while – i was essentially the publisher of a couple very, very large websites in the food/food culture space, i started watching how the news publishers were (or weren’t) innovating. My thought then was that they would be early adopters of tech, methods and approaches that could be useful to us in the food space. Since then, it’s become more than a hobby and i’ve turned into a guy that reads MediaGazer, CJR, and Neiman Media Lab just about everyday. I follow the space as closely as i follow the CPG space.

I’m particularly interested in community driven and community funded journalism like what we’ve got in Minnesota (Minnpost), or new membership models like The Athletic.  And, i’m really curious about the more premium, tightly vertical pubs that cater to very, very specific audience (like The Information) or are driven by an excellent analyst or curator (e.g. Kottke.org, Stratechery,  or even Lance Armstrong‘s Wedu) .

So, it was really cool to read this take on the Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan, community-focused journalism site that was started in 2009 and has grown quite well. So well in fact, that they just updated their strategic plan for 2025.

AS SMITH AND RAMSHAW saw the 10th anniversary of the publication approaching—the site turns nine on November 3 of this year—they realized it was time to think about the next decade. “I don’t think that there was any one thing where it was like, ‘Oh, shit, we gotta do something,’ Smith says. “I don’t think we’ve ever, at any time we’ve been in business, felt panicked or felt like somehow we woke up and we were like, ‘What did we do last night?’”

Instead, the anniversary was what Smith calls a clarifying moment, a chance to make a bold statement both internally and externally.

You can read the strategic plan here, and it’s worth a read if you are a fan of a) interesting media models and b) strategic plans.

via A decade in, the Texas Tribune pursues the rest of its audience – Columbia Journalism Review

For The Music Biz, Community *is* the biz now

Long take on how the music industry is increasingly about the fans vs. the artists and their products. A good development overall. Wish the author would have explored how artists are thriving now on the back of the idea best encapsulated by Kevin Kelley’s 1000 True Fans.

Social media opens up nearly endless ways to engage with an artist: following their tweets or Instagram stories, or watching them goof around on Twitch.  Community can’t meaningfully grow without new content, and that content can be teased and promoted in ways that play directly to fan dynamics….. With a surplus of music available, the “community” itself, or rather the sense of oneself as participant, is increasingly the point.

via Show Tunes — Real Life