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Sun May 28 22:24:45 SAST 2017

Fake news turns real numbers for papers

Reuters | 2017-02-17 07:02:00.0
Newspapers. File photo
Image by: iStock Images

The Trump administration's combative view of traditional news media as "fake news" is turning out to be the best hope in 2017 for newspapers struggling to attract more digital readers and advertisers.

The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and Gannett are building on the online readership they gained during the 2016 presidential election by marketing unbiased reporting as a sales strategy.

The New York Times, which President Donald Trump has referred to as "failing" on Twitter , added a record 276,000 digital news subscribers in the last quarter and saw digital ad revenue up 10% to 15% in the current quarter.

The company said it expected to add 200,000 digital subscriptions in the first quarter.

To win over advertisers and readers' trust, The Wall Street Journal ran ads online and in print during the US presidential election. One featured a pinball machine with the tagline, "No Tilt. Campaign coverage that's on the level."

It also ran ads to highlight its content as "created, curated and checked in a real newsroom".

The New York Times, which is focused on increasing its subscriber revenue, in January launched its "Truth" campaign consisting of online ads urging readers to sign up because "Truth. It needs your support."

The newspaper sees an opportunity in making sure readers understand that it is fair and accurate and plans to launch another marketing campaign in coming weeks, CEO Mark Thompson said.

The Financial Times is running its "Facts. Truths" campaign promoting its coverage of the Trump administration.

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