Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Are we crazy to invest in Mexico News Daily? A perspective from our CEO

They say you need a little bit of insanity to do great things.

You may have followed recent news about accelerating layoffs in both the print and TV news business. Just in the past few weeks, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and National Geographic all announced significant layoffs. Making it more troubling, both the L.A. Times and Washington Post are owned by billionaires (who arguably did not have to do it for financial reasons). Facebook (now Meta) has also announced that it would be pulling back on its news coverage, and other social media platforms are doing the same.

Mary Louise Kelly, who hosts National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” recently wrote:  “If you care about journalism — local news, national news, international news — every warning light should be blinking red.”

Those are not exactly words and developments that help us sleep well at night as we continue to invest significantly in Mexico News Daily.

But we knew about these industry trends when we purchased the company, and also that this would not be easy. What makes us think that we will be successful when so many others are failing?

To begin with, we feel that the “failure” of many news organizations is to a large extent their own fault for three important reasons:

Many media outlets got away from impartially covering the news and began to inject their own opinions into their news coverage

We have all seen this happening. Many media outlets now feel like a mouthpiece of either the right or the left. Most people find that to be tiring, frustrating, and often insulting to their intelligence. News seems to have been replaced with opinions. We at Mexico News Daily take very seriously the importance of impartiality, and the importance of analysis to help you connect the dots on the issues. We will bring you the facts of the news as best as we can, via an array of sources. We will have respected writers from Mexico and other countries share their analysis and opinions on important issues. And then we will leave it up to you, the reader, to form your own conclusions on the issues.

Many digital news organizations became too focused on “chasing clicks”

A profit-generating business is naturally always looking for ways to maximize revenue.  Unfortunately for the digital media industry, that has far too often meant a hyper focus on “chasing clicks.”

Clicks that bring more eyeballs, eyeballs that bring more ad revenue, etc. The problem is that this strategy logically leads to news coverage becoming ever-increasingly sensationalized and shallow. Violence, car accidents, weather events, death, death, and more death…as the industry saying goes “if it bleeds, it leads.”

We at Mexico News Daily are trying very hard to not fall into this trap. The temptation to “go there” happens every day, but we will do everything we can to continue to bring you balanced, relevant, and important news that impacts Mexico — not just the stories that will give you a quick dopamine hit. We are striving to educate and inform the reader, not just provide sensationalist stories.

Ads, ads, and more ads

Many news publications have become too reliant on ads that have diminished the user experience. Along with the strategy of sensationalist stories, many news publications have filled their sites with “pop-up” and “crawler ads” that must be navigated through in order to be able to read the article. Although this generates ad revenue, we think it makes for a terrible reader experience. We at MND have cut back significantly on the amount and type of ads, despite the loss in revenue, to make for a better reader experience.

Which brings us back to the original question of “are we crazy?”

My wife Tamanna and I strongly believe Mexico’s importance in the world is becoming increasingly more apparent. We believe that it is a historically important time for Mexico and its relationship with the United States and the world. We believe that Mexico has an economic opportunity to seize that could dramatically reduce poverty and improve living standards nationwide. And we believe that there is a need for an English-language news outlet like Mexico News Daily to provide balanced and unbiased news and information about the country.

These beliefs lead us to think that operating MND is important work that will help our readers learn about and better understand Mexico.

If you want a front row seat to the changes Mexico is undergoing, Mexico News Daily is the platform.

We are very much aware that it will not be an easy task. This vision and business model requires our paid subscriber model to be successful.

Despite a doubling of our total unique viewers to over 1 million per month over the past year, we still have a very low percentage of our readers becoming paid subscribers.

As a result, MND continues to lose money each month.

Although we might be a little bit crazy, we truly believe that we can bring trust and optimism back to the world of journalism — at least for Mexico — at a time when so much trust has been lost. We sincerely believe that by doing that, we will be successful. But we need your support!

We are honored to bring you news, information, analysis, and opinions about this great country. We are working hard to get better each and every day. If you are a paid subscriber, we thank you!

And if you are not yet a paid subscriber, why not become one today? Click here to subscribe.

Travis Bembenek is the CEO of Mexico News Daily and has been living, working or playing in Mexico for over 27 years.

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