Sometimes it seems as though the future of online media is a fairly bleak one: an ocean of clickbait and shallow pageview-driven articles, all of them chasing the dwindling juice that social-network algorithms provide, with scattered chunks of longform journalism drifting aimlessly, unable to get the attention they deserve. But is that a realistic picture of where we are? Betaworks CEO John Borthwick says it isn’t — and says he has the data from services like Chartbeat and Instapaper to prove that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
As Borthwick notes in a post on Medium, the most recent debate on this topic flared up a couple of months ago, sparked by a post from Facebook product manager Mike Hudack that lamented the state of online media, and how much of the content that was being produced even by “serious” media outlets was shallow clickbait:
“Personally I hoped that we would find a new home for serious journalism in a format that felt Internet-native and natural to people who grew up interacting with screens instead of just watching them from couches with bags of popcorn and a beer to keep their hands busy. And instead they write...