The Mario Blog
2018: More digital everything, more of the Trump factor

There are two things that we may predict for 2018 without fear of getting it wrong: digital will rule and Trump will continue to dominate the news cycles. Think Tweets in the middle of the night!


This is the weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and will be updated as needed. The next blog post is Monday, Dec. 4.


If there is one article you want to read this weekend, it is The Atlantic’s How to Survive the Media Apocalypse, by Derek Thompson, a senior editor who writes about economics, labor markets, and the media.

I will let you decide if there is too much gloom in the Thompson piece (“….2017 has been a uniquely miserable year in the media business”), but I agree with most of it, and call attention to a couple of important pronouncements that all of us should be aware of as we plan our work goals for 2018:

1. In 2016, 90 percent of websites reported that unique visitors on mobile devices had eclipsed desktop; and 90 percent of the growth in digital advertising came from just two companies, Google and Facebook.

      2. Facebook and Google’s dominance stems from one of the great arbitrages in media history. Publishers still bear the cost of reporting, analyzing, and, well, publishing the news. Facebook and Google cinch the bloated web into the straitjacket of vertical content known as results pages and feeds. In the process, they collect unparalleled information about the interests and aspirations of their users and profit from their roles as digital gatekeepers. While some have compared Facebook and Google to cable companies distributing television shows, one difference is critical: TV distributors pay networks an “affiliate fee” for their entertainment, while Facebook and Google owe no such gratuity for the vast majority of its content. In 2017, Google and Facebook are projected to account for about 61 percent combined of the U.S. digital ad market. No other company comes even close.

That last reference to about 61 percent combined of the US digital ad market going to Google and Facebook  is significant, as it is one of the most discussed subjects by publishers as they seek ways to attract digital ads to their own products.

The first item, about 90 percent of websites reporting that unique visitors on mobile devices had eclipsed desktop, not a surprise at all. And perhaps it is that fact that will prompt more editors to start thinking seriously and systematically about better storytelling strategies made expressly for mobile devices.

The Trump Factor

The Atlantic’s piece describes President Trump as The Ghost of Christmas Future.  

Funny but not funny. The not so funny part is that, as Thompson writes, there is so much of the news cycle devoted to President Trump and his antics and all those Tweets, that ad buyers have had it and do not wish to have their products near any Trump stories.  The funny and ironic part is that Trump coverage is also addictive to many news junkies.  In fact, fascination with the President and the reality show that he conducts on a daily basis is such that subscription revenue has grown fast at The New Yorker and The Washington Post.

The president is the media equivalent of a toxic herbicide, whose very presence makes the ecosystem uninhabitable for advertisers. It’s created one of the paradoxes of the 2017 news cycle: Readership has increased within one of the least profitable categories of news.

At The New York Times, revenue from digital-only subscriptions jumped 44 percent—or $75 million—in the first nine months of 2017, compared with the same period from last year. That’s three times larger than the $20 million of lost advertising revenue over the same period.


Of related interest


Facebook releases News Feed Publisher Guidelines for news media


A consistent piece of feedback we’ve heard from publishers … is that they would like more insight into how News Feed works, in order to understand best practices for reaching their audiences. In response to this feedback, we are releasing News Feed Publisher Guidelines, which include ‘do’s and don’ts’ to help publishers succeed on our platform,” Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed, wrote in a Facebook Newsroom post

Print and its limitations


The New York Times does not go “banner” and all caps with its headlines often, but it did in today’s edition. Print goes to bed too early which is why the victorious Tax Bill passing did not make it. One of those moments when we realize the handicaps of printed editions. Of course, the Times is telling the tax bill victory story on its digital editions, but it will take 24 hours before that headline makes it into print. I still like the design of this page, so modular and well organized.



Mario’s Speaking Engagements



April 18-19, 2018-Newscamp ,Augsburg,  Germany.





May 26, 2018Associacion Riograndense de Imprensa, Univesidad de Santa Cruz (Unisc), Brazil



June 3-6, 2018The Seminar, San Antonio, Texas.




Our digital transformation workshops

If you would like to find out more about our workshops for digital transformation, email me:

I will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information. Our workshops are offered in both English and Spanish.



TheMarioBlog post #2741


Blog Post01.22.2018—1am
Are we using better photos today?
Blog Post01.19.2018—1am
The challenge of that fold
Blog Post01.18.2018—1am
The Washington Post: another profitable year
Blog Post01.17.2018—1am
Did I really read that much?
Blog Post01.15.2018—4am
The Guardian changes more than just the format
Blog Post—1am
Are vulgar words now part of a journalist’s styleguide?
Blog Post01.12.2018—4pm
The new New York Times campaign
Blog Post01.11.2018—1am
The good news about paying for content
Blog Post01.08.2018—3pm
Prof. Miguel Urabayen (1926-2018): Tribute to a grand maestro
Blog Post—2pm
Fire & Fury: Here’s a cover that tells more of the story
Blog Post—1am
End of print edition for Montreal’s La Presse
Blog Post01.07.2018—11am
Happy New Year…..I am back, sort of
Blog Post12.19.2017—10am
My prediction for 2018: we will write, edit & design for mobile
Blog Post12.13.2017—1am
Best wishes for the holiday season!
Blog Post12.12.2017—1am
Every year should be year of the audience
Blog Post12.11.2017—1am
The Post Most: curated content as easy as 1-2-3
Blog Post12.08.2017—1am
The power of a comic
Blog Post12.07.2017—1am
Those European ePapers Continue Growing
Blog Post12.06.2017—1am
Journalism students and print (not a romance)
Blog Post12.05.2017—1am
The nuances of using ragged right type
Blog Post12.04.2017—1am
Monocle’s habit-forming daily briefing
Blog Post12.01.2017—1am
2018: More digital everything, more of the Trump factor
Blog Post11.30.2017—1am
That time of the year to think what next
Blog Post11.29.2017—1am
Apple goes romantic
Blog Post11.28.2017—1am
E-mail newsletters can be a real seductive hook
Blog Post11.27.2017—8am
An e-newsletter with visual appeal
Blog Post11.21.2017—1am
So 2017 was really NOT the year of video……
Blog Post11.20.2017—1am
The New York Times: the Spanish weekly
Blog Post11.17.2017—5am
Paywalls, storytelling highlight Latin American conference
Blog Post11.15.2017—5am
In Argentina: the hot topic is “paywalls”
Blog Post11.14.2017—1am
The NY Times’ Jobs Classified: Really?
Blog Post11.13.2017—1am
At The New York Times: a kids section on Sunday
Blog Post11.10.2017—12am
“I read it on Facebook.”
Blog Post11.09.2017—12am
The flow of a breaking new story in the mobile era
Blog Post11.08.2017—12am
When content hits the spot
Blog Post11.07.2017—12am
When hierarchy makes a statement
Blog Post11.06.2017—12am
When the advertising wraps around
Blog Post11.03.2017—1am
New Hebrew fonts from Typotheque
Blog Post11.02.2017—1am
Favorite branding logos? No surprises
Blog Post11.01.2017—7am
A New York terrorist attack on the front pages
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.