The recent deceptive headlines about clear bags being instituted at Katy ISD are the latest teachable moment in demonstrating how digital media organizations have sold out truth for dollars. They generate revenue with clickbait headlines and careless disregard for the confusion they cause in the community.
Let’s make it clear — clear bags will not be required for Katy ISD students to enter their schools next week. Don’t go running off to Target looking for a bag you can’t find. The clear bag requirement is ONLY for events at Legacy Stadium, Rhodes Stadium, and the Merrell Center, as Covering Katy previously reported.
Earlier this week we were treated to this headline:
“BREAKING: Katy ISD announces new clear bag regulation …”
That headline could be why one Katy ISD principal had to use Twitter to clarify that the clear bag requirement was not for school campuses.
We’ve also recently seen local media stories that incorrectly shut down the Rice Festival and erroneously put LaCenterra on lockdown.
Free news websites rely almost exclusively on clicks to determine their revenue. Their advertising rates are set by how many page views they generate. Facebook engagement can be helpful in making sales to advertisers too, so social media can also be a den of deception.
Covering Katy has a base of subscribers, and that is a game-changer. We know our pageviews will always be high, but now we also have a predictable amount of recurring revenue each month from our loyal subscribers. Tricking subscribers with deceptive headline is a very bad idea if we want to retain our loyal audience who is willing to pay for our content. Clicks have become secondary. They are important but not the dominant factor in everything we do.
Long ago, Covering Katy reached market domination in terms of page views. We knew some pageviews would be sacrificed by switching to a metered subscriber format, but we had enough to remain the hands-down market leader in readership. No local news website has a bigger audience than Covering Katy.
Thanks to our subscribers, we’ve removed ourselves from the pageview game. Our strategy is no longer about generating clicks. We need only be accurate and relevant, and we’ll generate enough page views to make our site useful to advertisers.
We can’t guarantee that we won’t make a mistake, but we can tell you that when it happens, it won’t be a premeditated attempt to trick you into clicking on our content.
So, thank you to those who have subscribed. Our subscriber base continues to grow, but we still need more people to support us as we continue to build something special in Katy, a news website that’s truly independent.