Reynolds Weekly: Friday, March 29, 2019

by March 31, 2019

Looking for business stories to cover? We’ve taken recent headlines and put together a list of resources and angles you can use for your local coverage.  (Credit to Pixabay)

In Digital News: Apple

Apple plans to revamp its existing app, Texture — “a Netflix for magazines” — into a digital newsstand.

The News+ app will bundle news and magazine sites for readers. (The New York Times and The Washington Post have declined to join their number. Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times are, however, available.) Its monthly subscription fee will be $9.99, the same as Texture’s, and is currently available to iOS users, according to CNN Business. News+ will also be available in Canada.

Texture formerly allowed its users to have access to more than 200 magazines for a monthly subscription fee. Its last day of service will be on May 28. The site is already offering a free month’s subscription to new News+ users, as well as access to 300 magazines.

Along with News+, Apple’s Monday showcase mentioned debuting a streaming service in the fall, Apple’s TV Channels, similar to a cable TV bundle.

How to start your reporting:

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated at the launch that he hopes News+ will be a valuable resource for “the power of journalism,” and the company isn’t alone in trying to spread digital journalism.

What does this mean for local news? Facebook is attempting to test a new section of its app in six cities, called “Today In,” which will provide news and alerts from local outlets. (After, ironically, many criticisms for Facebook’s role in killing local news.) CNN Business reports that News+ does not (yet) include regional and local papers.

For journalism businesses, Apple may want a 50 percent cut of revenue, though the company has declined to comment.

The Dangers for Women Traveling Solo

The New York Times recently released a piece about the potential dangers of women global-trekking alone. The article highlights gender violence around the world, as well as women’s “increased spending power” and social media’s role in encouraging exploring far-off countries alone, citing Instagram and its popular hashtags such as #LadiesGoneGlobal and #TheTravelWomen.

According to a 2018 Hostelworld study, solo women travelers’ bookings have increased by 45 percent. However, most countries do not track violence against female travelers.

In addition to sexual harassment and assault, there have been prominent international cases of women who have been murdered while traveling abroad. Although many may suspect the majority of these events happen in “developing” countries, Western countries, such as France and Germany, are featured.

How to start your reporting:

Search your local travel agencies or businesses to see if they help women who travel alone, particularly young millennials, as well as products or recommendations. You can also contact women in your area about traveling alone and their methods about keeping safe overseas.

Women have turned to online communities for tips and helpful communities. Some apps have the option for women to flag incidents and report them to the local law enforcement, such as Noonlight, RedZone, and MayDay. There are also similar sites such as The Solo Female Traveler Network.

In particular, women of color must deal with another level of concerns. Black Girls Travel Too, a travel community, shares recommendations on where to stay and visit and also coordinate group travels.

Backlash Against Cashless Stores

Some stores like Amazon Go and Blue Bottle are no longer accepting cash.

Lawmakers in different city and states are proposing bans on (or have already banned) these kinds of businesses. Some advocacy groups argue that cashless stores will make life more difficult for low-income and financially-struggling individuals, as some do not have access to checking accounts, debit cards, or mobile payment apps.

Proponents argue that cashless stores will decrease customer wait times at cash registers and theft from employees who are transporting cash. Some also say that companies, like PayPal Holdings, Inc., have payment services that don’t require a bank account.

How to start your reporting:

Although most retailers and restaurants accept cash, there is a trend of no longer carrying cash, particularly with Millennials and Gen-Zs. Who in your area rarely uses cash to shop? What do they use instead? Are there any local businesses that have gone cashless?

As well as considering on how certain apps and businesses profit, such as Venmo and Google Wallet, there is a subculture of artists, both fan and original creators, who find work and recognition through platforms such as RedBubble, Patreon, and Ko-Fi. A major example would be Ngozi Ukazu, whose popular webcomic about a gay serial pie-baker rocketed to popularity and a publishing deal. She generates income from Patreon, a crowd-funding membership platform, and members can, in exchange for a monthly donation, buy merchandise and get sneak peeks at updates. 

Also consider the homeless population. How do cashless stores, or the prospect of them, affect them?