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MEL Magazine’s Cofounder On How The Brand-Supported Media Model Weathers A Pandemic – Forbes



Under coronavirus quarantines and lockdowns, people are consuming more media than ever, from streaming video to online news to ebooks. But that’s not good news for most news sites, thanks to a heavy reliance on advertising.

Ads are leaking away faster than pageviews are growing, for two big reasons: First, advertisers hate bad news, so they’ll avoid anything pandemic-related, and second, many of the businesses are themselves struggling, and their advertising budgets are the first thing on the chopping block.

For some media publishers, the best solution is to ask their readership to subscribe directly. “The digital paid content debate is over—if people want it, they’ll purchase,” says Joe Hyrkin, CEO at digital discovery and publishing platform Issuu. “We first saw the shift with music, where consumers essentially agreed to pay for content through platforms like Apple and Spotify. In terms of movies and shows, most major media companies have launched their own programming and platforms (e.g., Disney+) over the last six months, while cord-cutting has reached an all-time high.”

But subscriptions aren’t for everyone: Brands need a lot of name recognition to reach the scale needed to operate as a subscription-powered business. In news media, that’s the New York Times, which added half a million new subscribers in just the last quarter. But every new subscriber they add is, potentially, a subscription lost to another competing publisher.

Some services sell directly to the consumer, like the audiobook industry, which has the added benefit of an all-digital product. “Unlike traditional publishers who have been delaying new book releases because their model is still heavily reliant on physical retail, independent publishing is 100% ecomm and as a result it’s in an accelerated growth state,” Scott Dickey, CEO at Podium Audio, tells me. “Interestingly, sci-fi and fantasy genres are trending particularly well as it appears consumers are consuming more escapist content than pre-COVID periods.”

But none of that helps news organizations and magazines, which face tanking ad revenue and few paths towards a subscription model. Is any media model functional amid the 2020 pandemic?

The brand-supported model is one answer: A company operates its own magazine on the side, using it as a loss leader to engage its audience.

MEL Magazine, an online publication backed by Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club, offers an example of what this looks like in practice. It makes sense that this model would thrive as pageviews soar even while advertisers bail, since it never relied on advertisers to start with.

I ran a few questions past MEL Magazine’s cofounder and editor-in-chief Josh Schollmeyer to learn more about how MEL is doing these days.

Have you seen changes in your readership or in how people are consuming media?

There are definitely a lot more eyeballs out there. We just completed our best traffic month ever, and posted two of our best days ever in April as well. Overall, our traffic is up about 30 percent since sheltering-in-place began more or less nationwide. 

It seems — depending on the time of the day — people are looking for two types of content: 1) Something highly relatable about the pandemic (for example, how do I wear a face mask without fogging up my glasses?) or almost voyeuristic about the ways in which other people are spending lockdown (for example, the people throwing raves for one to pass the time); or 2) something as far from the epidemic as humanly possible (for example, a longer read on the forgotten Tiger King of Harlem, or anything that’s off-topic but also kinda fun and lighthearted). 

The morning is when interest in health/corona coverage seems highest; then by early afternoon, everyone is sorta burned out on it and wants something different; and as the day draws to a close, it’s all about what we call “sin and sloth,” a mix of entertainment/binge-watching suggestions, sex and drugs/booze posts.  

How has the current situation changed how you cover culture?

Not that much really. For starters, we’ve covered COVID and quarantine like we would anything else — by channeling our own fears, anxieties and intellectual curiosities. So most everything is drawn from our own lives and from our own questions about what we’re living through. Frankly, it’s helped quell a lot of our worry, because sorting through our own neuroses has given us a measure of control we wouldn’t otherwise have. (It’s also validating to see with the traffic being what it is, how many people are thinking about the same things, making us feel less alone, too). I’ve always joked that the site is me working through some sh*t, and I don’t know if it’s ever been more true than now. 

We’ve also tried to keep our coverage aligned with our core topic areas — dating, mental and physical health, digital and pop culture, money and work, etc. We have sharpened our focus a bit more on the class issues that this crisis has put front and center, especially with regard to “essential” workers at big box chains and who’s really getting bailed out by the government. But that’s also always been a big part of the brand ethos, as well as a major pillar of our much larger look at modern masculinity since so much of what’s affecting men today is economic (particularly as it pertains to the blue-collar guy).  

If anything, we’ve taken a newsier approach than normal — if only in the volume and type of posts we’re now doing — but we’re probably still more focused on the zeitgeist and bigger picture than we are necessarily chasing the newscycle. 

With so many media businesses struggling during this time, how is MEL thinking about its long-term business and goals?

Step by step. We’ve had a lot of interesting opportunities for monetization as we really have been paving the roadmap for brand-incubated journalism for a few years now, and a number of brands have approached us about how they might do something similar. We’ve developed a reputation as an innovator that’s definitely made a significant impact on men’s lifestyle content, and that’s generated the kind of IP that’s attracted interest from studios and networks here in L.A.

Of course, right now, I’m thankful that we have the kind of funding model that lets us focus on continuing to pile up traffic wins — and build a completely organic, highly compelling audience — as well as high-quality work that keeps letting us stand out. That should also help us weather this storm, because eventually, some degree of normalcy will return, or something different altogether will arise, and we want to be at the front of the line and firing on all cylinders when that happens.   

How has being a brand-backed media business impacted your business during this time? 

That’s honestly been the beauty of our model. It’s insulated us from the pressures that many other traditional media companies are experiencing — not just now, but over the last few years — and given us the room and time to really think innovatively about what our model could be in the future and how it can be sustainable enough to even get through a global pandemic.

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GLAAD Media Awards presenters support transgender athletes



LOS ANGELES — “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Boys in the Band” were winners at the GLAAD Media Awards, which included soccer’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger calling for transgender students to be accepted as “part of the team” in sports.

Harris and Krieger, spouses who play for the Orlando Pride and were on the 2019 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team, presented an award in Thursday’s virtual ceremony to the film “Happiest Season,” about a lesbian romance.

The couple drew attention to transgender athletes amid widespread efforts to restrict their participation, including a recently signed Mississippi bill that bans them from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. It becomes law July 1.

“Trans students want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong,” Krieger said.

Added Harris: “We shouldn’t discriminate against kids and ban them from playing because they’re transgender.”

“Star Trek: Discovery,” “I May Destroy You” and “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” were among the other projects honoured in the pre-taped ceremony hosted by Niecy Nash. It’s available on Hulu through June.

The GLAAD awards, in their 32nd year, recognize what the media advocacy organization calls “fair, accurate, and inclusive” depictions of LGBTQ people and issues. Presenters and winners in this year’s event highlighted priorities including the importance of solidarity and self-respect.

“Friends, I’m so proud to stand with the LGBTQ community tonight, just as the LGBTQ community stands with Black and diverse communities,” said Sterling K. Brown, who presented the outstanding documentary award to “Disclosure.”

The “This Is Us” star, citing the Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter movements, said that “we’re going to keep spreading that message of unity and justice until every one of us is safe to live the lives we love.”

JoJo Siwa, the teenage YouTube personality and performer, presented the award for outstanding children’s programming to “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo.” She said in January that she’s part of the LGBTQ community.

“I have the best, most amazing, wonderful girlfriend in the entire world who makes me so, so, so happy and that’s all that matters,” Siwa said. ”It’s really cool that kids all around the world who look up to me can now see that loving who you want to love is totally awesome” and should be celebrated.

Other awards went to Sam Smith, who was honoured as outstanding music artist for the album “Love Goes”; Chika, named breakthrough music artist for “Industry Games,” and “We’re Here” won outstanding reality program.

Cast members from “Glee,” including Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and Jane Lynch, paid tribute to Naya Rivera and her character in the series, gay cheerleader Santana Lopez. Rivera, 33, died in an accidental drowning in July 2020.



Lynn Elber, The Associated Press

Source:- Coast Reporter

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Social Media Etiquette Review



Despite your best efforts, you may cause someone pain with that Tweet or Facebook post. Here’s a refresher on social media best practices, along with advice for some pandemic-only dilemmas.

In an ideal world, your followers would think every photo, video or thought you post on social media is like a little gift to them. In reality, it’s hard to predict how posts on Instagram, Facebook and other social media will land, especially during the pandemic. After so much loss and isolation over the past year, people are on edge. That vaccine selfie may feel joyous and hopeful to you, but it could be a digital slap in the face to someone who hasn’t received a vaccine shot or who has suffered a grave loss.

“Someone could be experiencing loss in such a way that there’s no way someone else won’t post something that compounds their grief,” said Catherine Newman, who has written the Modern Manners etiquette column for Real Simple magazine for 10 years. “That’s how grief is.”

Still, it’s hard not to overthink things — and to worry that despite your best efforts, you may cause someone pain. Some social media experts say you should review your sharing practices periodically, so here’s a refresher on social media etiquette, along with advice for some pandemic-only situations.

First, identify your motivations. Are you sharing that picture of the exquisite cake you baked because you want praise, or do you want people to feel bad that what they made themselves wasn’t as good? If it is to receive affirmation, that’s OK. But if you find yourself trying to get all your needs met by social media likes, it might be time to think about what else is missing in your life.

Second, focus on your friends. If you tried to consider every possible person who might be hurt by a post — your seemingly unobjectionable photo of tulips could very well remind a follower of someone they have lost — you might never post anything on social media. But absolutely think about your inner circle carefully.

Ms. Newman, for one, hasn’t posted about her own post-vaccination visits with family because so many in her immediate friend group have lost a parent in the past year. If you’re in a similar situation and you still want to post your vaccine selfie or the first time you’ve hugged your father in a year, consider acknowledging your own good fortune.

“I still appreciate it when people say, ‘We’re so lucky and there’s been so much loss and I’m sorry if you’re experiencing loss,’” said Ms. Newman, whose best friend died of cancer five years ago.

Before you hit “share,” read your words in multiple tones of voice, as different people can interpret the text differently, suggested Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and the founder of the Protocol School of Texas, a San Antonio company specializing in corporate etiquette training. If there’s any doubt, add a cue, such as an emoticon, about your tone.

If you want to post something negative, keep in mind that what you say or share often says more about you. Disagree (respectfully), but avoid sweeping generalizations about entire groups of people — or about one business based on your interaction with a single employee.

Additionally, remember that any message you share, even with close family members, will be amplified to your entire online community. (The tension may also be amplified around vaccines, health measures and the stress of a not-normal year.) If you are replying to your sister online about something, that doesn’t mean you can speak to her as harshly as you might privately. Ms. Gottsman advises taking a heated family debate offline.

“Don’t start a family feud on social media,” Ms. Gottsman said. “It can affect the next family holiday.”

If you are soliciting donations for a particular cause or charity, or asking for money to pay someone’s rent or medical bills with a GoFundMe campaign, recognize that the financial situations of many people have changed this past year and there may be many other appeals compared to times past. Skip shaming phrases, like “How can you not help this person?” Instead, Ms. Gottsman said, use ones like “If your heart moves you, I’m sharing this.”

Think less vigilance is needed, because your text group is small or your settings have been changed to private? Think again. When Heidi Cruz, the wife of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, shared her family’s plans to flee a devastating winter storm in Texas for a vacation in Mexico, she texted only a small group of neighbors and friends. Screenshots of the messages ended up with journalists. Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and founder of the School of Protocol in Carlsbad, Calif., points out that it wasn’t just one person who shared the chat with The New York Times; there were others who confirmed it.

“Even if you think it’s just your inner circle, there’s always somebody there who isn’t 100 percent on your team,” she said. “That’s the person who takes the screenshot before you delete whatever it is.”

Posting about food and fitness may be even more tempting than usual, given that a lot of people have changed what they eat and how much they exercise during the pandemic. But confine your commentary to how these lifestyle changes make you feel, not how they make you look. Among other things, not all people have had the luxury of more time to exercise during the pandemic — or if they did, they might not have had the energy to do so.

Dr. Lindsay Kite is a founder of Beauty Redefined, a nonprofit that promotes body image resilience, and an author of “More Than a Body.” She noted that your “before” photo — talking about how fat you look — may be someone else’s “after.”

If you really want affirmation and accountability for your fitness goals, avoid the sports-bra selfie and posts about body measurements. Instead, Dr. Kite suggested posting a picture of yourself in a blood pressure cuff, or a less body-focused snapshot of you jogging to your favorite coffee shop.

“Loving your body and improving your health doesn’t always lead to a more ideal-looking body,” she said.

There may be situations in which a post doesn’t land as you had intended. Maybe you shared a photo of a masked-up pandemic wedding, but followers pointed out that attending still involved travel. Or you posted a video of your family’s Easter egg hunt, because all the adults participating had been lucky enough to be vaccinated.

Ask yourself how many people reacted negatively. If only one follower is unhappy, it may just be that one person is raw.

“We have a genre in my family we call ‘hurting your own feelings,’” Ms. Newman said. “Where you’re looking for something to hang some pain on and you find it.”

You don’t have to own the person’s grief, but you do have to take responsibility for yourself and apologize. You can keep it simple, Ms. Newman said: I see your pain. I’m so sorry.

If you post something that is hurtful to a wider audience — you inadvertently said something offensive or you didn’t consider all the issues — it should absolutely be deleted if it’s causing people pain.

If it’s not, consider keeping the post up, Ms. Newman said, because deleting it erases the post from public view but does not address the hurt it caused. On Facebook, she suggested an “edited to add” with your heartfelt apology. This should not include the words “but” or “if,” as in, “I apologize if you were offended.” These words don’t acknowledge the hurt person’s truth and their situation, or your role in hurting them.

“If you accidentally step on someone’s foot, you don’t say, ‘I’m sorry if I stepped on your foot,’” Ms. Swann said. “You did it. It’s not a question.”

Your apology should also include a thoughtful plan about how you’ll do things differently in the future, which can be calibrated based on how grievous the offense. For lesser instances, Ms. Gottsman said, a sentence like “I’ll think twice before I post,” may be enough.

These are words all of us could live by.

Source:- The New York Times

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Media Advisory: Virtual Infrastructure Announcement in Brampton – Yahoo Canada Finance




Reneo Pharmaceuticals Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering

SAN DIEGO, April 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reneo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for patients with rare, genetic, mitochondrial diseases, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 6,250,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $15.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $93.8 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. All of the shares are being offered by Reneo. The shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Market on April 9, 2021 under the symbol “RPHM.” In addition, Reneo has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 937,500 shares of common stock at the public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering is expected to close on April 13, 2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Jefferies, SVB Leerink and Piper Sandler are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and became effective on April 8, 2021. The offering is being made only by means of a prospectus. Copies of the final prospectus relating to the offering may be obtained, when available, from: Jefferies LLC, Attention: Equity Syndicate Prospectus Department, 520 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10022, by telephone at (877) 821-7388 or by e-mail at; SVB Leerink LLC, Attention: Syndicate Department, One Federal Street, 37th Floor, Boston, MA, 02110, by telephone at (800) 808-7525, ext. 6105 or by e-mail at; or Piper Sandler & Co., Attention: Prospectus Department, 800 Nicollet Mall, J12S03, Minneapolis, MN 55402, by telephone at (800) 747-3924 or by e-mail at This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of, these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. About Reneo PharmaceuticalsReneo is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for patients with rare genetic mitochondrial diseases, which are often associated with the inability of mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Reneo is developing REN001 to modulate genes critical to metabolism and generation of ATP, which is the primary source of energy for cellular processes. REN001 has been shown to increase transcription of genes involved in mitochondrial function and increase fatty acid oxidation, and may increase production of new mitochondria. Contacts: Joyce AllaireManaging DirectorLifeSci Advisors, Vinny JindalChief Financial OfficerReneo Pharmaceuticals,

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