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It has been a lonely time throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but also one where news audiences have been glued to their screens for the latest covid-19 figures and guidelines.

Like many other news outlets in the US, regional news website Arizona Republic realised this was an opportunity and responsibility to build a bridge with their readers. How? By using Subtext, a platform that allows journalists to send text message updates to readers who subscribe to the service.

In the spirit of public service journalism, this has been a way to keep readers up to the minute with the latest developments, and also to bring a sense of humanity when reporters were furloughed by the Gannett-owned company.

In this week's podcast, we hear from Arizona Republic's director of audience innovation, Kim Bui, about the risks and rewards of being on the Subtext platform - and some general advice for building a relationship with readers on private platforms, be that WhatsApp or Telegram, for example.

Joining Bui is David Cohn, co-founder of Subtext, who tells us more about the growth the platform has seen across the board with the publishers it works with. Average churn rate of the subscription service over the last six months is three per cent, indicating that once readers find value in the service, they tend to stick around.

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