Hearst-Alexa Partnership, BuzzFeed Commerce Push, Newsweek’s Travel Vertical, Impact of Media Consolidation and Deregulation, TFP’s November Book Picks and Top 2017 Book Selections, TFP’s Infographic Pick, Using Adobe InDesign CC 2018

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news, stories of interest, and tips for media industry pros! This week, we’re sharing posts about Hearst’s launch of a voice-first beauty brand for Amazon Echo, BuzzFeed’s expansion of its commerce content team, a new travel vertical for Newsweek Media, how media consolidation and deregulation could impact fact-based journalism, and more.

  • Hearst voice brandHearst announced “My Beauty Chat,” a new voice-first brand for Amazon Echo offering users a mix of beauty-focused news and tips, on-demand radio and podcasting, and other programming. With a twice-daily format targeting women during the times they are likely involved in their morning and evening beauty regiments, the brand will provide content from across Hearst titles in a chatty, “conversational exchange,” a Folio post says, with the idea of making engagement part of the user’s everyday rountine. The hands-free audio format, however, could be a challenge in terms of discovery, acknowledges Hearst’s Chris Papaleo, noting Amazon is working on engagement solutions and the publisher is considering user alert mechanisms, among other measures.
  • BuzzFeed is another publisher tapping new markets, revealing it has expanded its commerce content staff to 19 full-timers to target the vast number of consumers now using search to find products and services. With the holiday season here, the king of identity-focused listicles is in an all-out push “to build a reputation not just as a publisher that gets you, but one that you’d trust to sell you something too,” Digiday reports. In addition to driving affiliate commissions, it notes, the search-centric commerce posts provide valuable data about what readers want to buy, which in turn informs development in BuzzFeed’s Product Labs.
  • And add Newsweek Media Group to the above list. With the travel market as its focus, the publisher is shifting its recently launched events group into gear with a new tour business that will integrate curated editorial content into its programs. “A journalist will accompany each dedicated trip, and the trips are planned around news events,” explains Newsweek’s James Karklins. “We see this as just another way for us to increase our interactions between our writers and audience.” The initiative will also bring new partnerships with travel companies, he says, and serve as a platform for native advertising.
  • Finally, in a dizzying account of 2017’s “media madness,” Nieman Lab columnist Ken Doctor worries fact-based journalism is going the way of the dinosaur as signs point to further media consolidation and significant deregulation under the current administration. With the recent repeal of regulations barring broadcasters from owning newspapers in the same market and alt-right companies quickly buying up the assets of news organizations, Doctor warns we may be moving into a “much more insidious phase [of so-called fake news], as long-trusted brands could take their marching orders from those who believe ‘fact’ is fungible, in service of their political and business goals.”

On the Technology for Publishing Blog

  • Digital & Social Stats 2017: It was another year of significant growth for digital and social platforms, with 91% of global users going mobile. See this week’s infographic pick for more findings.
  • Just in time for the gift-giving season, our November Book Picks list highlights key reads on emerging technology, how to better connect with customers, management best practices, and more. Also see what your peers are reading about: We bring you our most popular book selections of 2017.
  • ICYMI: Monica Murphy’s InDesign CC 2018 Tip explains how to easily remove forced line breaks in your table of contents. To learn about other InDesign features and updates, check out TFP’s Using Adobe InDesign CC 2018 handbook.

Image: Hearst/Folio

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Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.