Some media stories of note for Tuesday, May 21, 2013:
Taylor Miller Thomas, writing for Poynter,
looks at how news organizations use Tumblr, the platform purchased by Yahoo this week for $1.1 billion. Thomas identifies the techniques of media and Tumblr to connect and interact with audiences, in particular to answer questions.
Jack Shafer, writing for Reuters,
argues that the problems James Rosen of FOX News (accused in a Justice Department affidavit as a "co-conspirator" in breaching government secrecy) have encountered are in part of his own making. Namely, Shafer suggests that Rosen wasn't all that intrepid in covering his tracks and ensuring his source could do the same. It's a contrarian take on what has largely been journalism concerned with the plight of the craft under surveillance.AdWeek examines how
The New York Times is applying its ingenuity to rework the online banner ad. The innovation largely associated with its editorial department is alive in its R & D Lab to generate advertising campaigns that are more interactive and effective. It has potential applications elsewhere with news organizations looking for more avid use of its online advertising.
Some media stories of note for Monday, May 20, 2013:The New Yorker examines
the ethical challenge of what a media organization does with a sponsor who might be aggrieved. Jane Mayer looks at how PBS dealt with David Koch, the conservative billionaire/philanthropist who was featured in a critical documentary it was about to broadcast.
Mark Thompson, the CEO of The New York TImes Company, spoke last week to Columbia Business School graduates and suggested the decision to institute an online paywall was among the shrewdest moves the organization has ever made. His commencement address did not note, as Jeff John Roberts did in paidContent,
that the Times' subscription base may have reached a plateau.
The BBC Trust has given a general seal of approval to the BBC websites, but found that its local news services aren't as strong as they ought to be. The Guardian reports
the Trust identified some weaknesses in quality and the ability of users to personalize content locally.
Some media stories of note for Friday, May 17, 2013:
Margaret Talbot, writing for The New Yorker online,
examines the recent spate of incidents involving the Obama Administration and the press. She argues that they have damaged the credibility of the government and threatened the freedom of the press. An effect, she fears, is the chilling of sources of information who fear their anonymity cannot be protected. The result of that will be fewer stories that explore significant secretive information and a reduction in civil liberties.BBC reports
on a new British study of 35,000 young people that suggests they now prefer to read on a screen than on paper. They engage in social networking and one-third prefer to read fiction on a screen. The National Literary Trust report, based on interviews with those eight to 16 years old, concluded that 52 per cent preferred a screen, while only 32 per cent preferred a print experience.
The controversy this week involving Bloomberg reporters monitoring the online activity of their clients on Bloomberg terminals has raised a series of ethical issues. The Associated Press has a look
at what experts feel is a shifting landscape in which more access to technology and user activity will permit greater access to consumer information once considered private --- and where privacy is not as respected as it once was.
James Breiner, writing for Poynter
, looks at recent developments in journalism education to teach students how to be entrepreneurial. With more opportunities to build businesses, and less likelihood of one-company careers, journalism schools are finding it valuable to impart business start-up and operational skills in their journalists to teach them how to create and manage their own companies.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, May 16, 2013:
It may seem incongruent, but as the White House deals with criticism of the Department of Justice's seizure of phone records for reporters at The Associated Press, it is reviving its efforts to create legislation that would shield reporters' sources and communications from disclosure. The New York Times reports
that the President's Senate liaison called Wednesday to ask a Democratic Senator to reintroduce a version of a 2009 bill that didn't make it through Congress.The New Republic explores
the context of the DOJ/AP phone-seizure issue by looking at the chilling effect official surveillance might have on national security reporting. It interviews journalists who believe their phones were tapped and activities tracked. Sources are less willing to part with sensitive information in this climate, the story concludes.
Ken Doctor, writing on "newsonomics" for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
examines what went wrong with NewsRight, the effort by the AP and others to deal with illegal or unfair use of their content online. NewsRight was wound up this week. Doctor chronicles the questionable and vague strategy, the evolution of the news licensing field with such players as NewsCred and Flipboard, and some of the decisions made along the way. "Thumbs down to content consortia," he writes. "Thumbs up to letting the freer market of entrepreneurs make sense of the content landscape, with publishers getting paid something for what the companies still know how to do: produce highly valued content."
Some media stories of note for Wednesday, May 15, 2013:The Guardian is reporting
that China is attempting to curtail the blogging activities of writers and intellectuals by closing their social media accounts. In recent weeks notable social justice critics have been silenced in social media. There were other recent efforts to curtail mainstream media's use of western-based content.
The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, has defended the seizure of telephone records of The Associated Press. The New York Times reports
he says the article that prompted the seizure arose from a serious leak of information with serious national security implications that put Americans at risk. The Times' public editor, Margaret Sullivan,
weighs in with a critique of the Obama Administration as one of the most secretive and threatening to the press, with implications for readers and democracy. The Times' media writer, David Carr,
looks at how it's not only government snooping on us, but all of us snooping on all of us. The New Yorker is releasing
the technical specs on Strongbox, software that permits reporters to cover their tracks as they reach out to the magazine. It uses a particular network and masks your IP address, information about your computer and browser, and won't plant cookies or third-party content. AllThingsDigital surmises
that the release of the program, created by the late Aaron Swartz, is aimed at letting other organizations create their own versions.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, May 14, 2013:
The Associated Press revealed Monday
that the U.S. Department of Justice had secretly obtained two months of telephone records for its journalists at several of its operations. AP decried the move
as an unprecedented intrusion into the rights of a free press. Details of the probe are not known, but it was believed to be in connection with AP's reporting on a foiled terrorist plot. The New Yorker's John Cassidy looks
at the wider political implications of the issue for the Obama Administration.
The Bloomberg terminal controversy continues to draw commentary. It was revealed that reporters were able to advance stories on the basis of their monitoring of login activity of clients on the Bloomberg data terminals. Gawker notes that
the monitoring was supposed to stop, but didn't. And the Guardian suggests
the matter is not a big deal. That said, the Wall Street Journal reports
Bloomberg and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are cooperating on examining the issue.
Joel Smith, writing for the Pacific Standard,
explores an innovative effort in sociology and journalism in Alhambra, California, to study the news consumption of residents and marry them to a grassroots organization that would use a range of contributors to produce community journalism. He writes that the effort has promise in linking expertise in consumerism to a market's need for content.
Media stories of note for Monday, May 13, 2013:
Bloomberg has found itself in the middle of a controversy in recent days. Its reporters are able to see some, but not vast, information about a client's use of its vaunted terminals. And a complaint was launched that suggested this access was inappropriate and infringed on privacy --- or worse, that reporters might have benefited from the access. The New York Times reported
that Bloomberg journalists were trained in how to use the login activity to advance news coverage. Bloomberg's editor-in-chief today responded.
Matthew Winkler indicated that, while the access was limited, it should not have happened. Policies have been changed so reporters have no more access to information than do clients.
Rick Edmonds, writing for Poynter
, notes new McKinsey and Company research
that indicates people spend 92 per cent of their news consumption time on legacy platforms. The research suggests 41 per cent of the time is spent with television, 35 per cent with newspapers and magazines, and 16 per cent with radio. Laptops and desktops account for four per cent, and tablets and smartphones amount to two per cent of time spent.
Frédéric Filloux, in his weekly Monday Note
, examines the different strategies of The New York Times and Washington Post. The former has created a paywall, the latter is moving toward one. But Filoux notes the Times is increasingly able to develop a digital subscription model and other media firms might be able to do so because the approach is common. "It is increasingly clear that readers are more willing than we once thought to pay for content they value and enjoy," he writes.
Some media stories of note for Friday, May 10, 2013:
Large British newspaper proprietors have made a concession in the negotiation to create a press watchdog. They have conceded they cannot have a veto power over the appointments to the new self-regulating body, a move that aims to assuage concerns that they would steer control of the entity into hands favourable to them. It also makes more likely that other newspaper groups will join the effort to create the regulatory body. Talks are ongoing on the structure of the new watchdog in the wake of the Leveson inquiry, the Guardian reports.
The Centre for International Media Assistance has released a report
that examines the need for ethical standards for media owners. The focus of media ethics has been on journalists, but this handbook examines the conflicts that arise from ownership, particularly the conflict of content against commercial interests. The handbook, written by veteran journalist Eugene Meyer, asserts the need for the application of principles of ownership that are congruent with the journalists in their employ.
Ann Friedman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review,
argues this is the best moment to be in journalism. There is access to a world of sources, consumers have access to the widest range of media, and journalists have access to those who consume their work. Besides, she argues, there is little point in lamenting the days of old: They aren't coming back.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, May 9, 2013:
Poynter has two stories that examine the qualities of the reporting of the saving of three women from captivity in Cleveland earlier this week. Eric Deggans writes
about some of the flaws of the early reporting of Charles Ramsay, whose interview following the rescue of the women made him an Internet sensation. Was it a case of jumping on a good story without adequate verification? Were there factors that made Ramsay a particularly attractive story? Then Kelly McBride writes
about how to fairly cover the impending rape trial in which the three women have already been identified. "Their names are already central to the story, and that cannot be avoided," McBride writes. But there are several ways for media to minimize harm in the coverage by using clear language and reflexivity to avoid further victimization.
Mathew Ingram, writing for paidContent,
explores the idea of the "open interview," in which the full discussion is made available publicly. He notes that many journalists don't provide a transcript or tape unless there is some challenge about the context of a quote or a question about its accuracy. Technology easily permits it now, Ingram writes. Even though there are drawbacks --- not all journalists know how to get to the point when asking a question, and some will appear less than authoritative in their interrogations --- Ingram concludes it's a valuable approach to build audience trust.
Ingram also has a look
at LinkedIn's evolution as a platform as it ventures more and more into news provision. He notes the changes in LinkedIn Today's stream of business news with a series of content channels that open inside your profile. While Ingram doesn't accept that LinkedIn has become a media empire, he does note that it is finding a way to direct relevant content to a business-oriented audience.
Here are some media stories of note for Wednesday, May 8, 2013:
Josh Stenberg, a former newspaper advertising executive, writes an insiderish account for Digiday
on why many newspapers are struggling. He writes of the "blind and bold arrogance" that resists digital change, the oversized ad departments that haven't separated remnant accounts from golden opportunities, the emerging role of messaging and planning that newspapers will be used for by advertisers, the mistake of looking for a single solution, and his assertion that paywalls won't work.
Frustrated about the vulnerability of your online activity? The MIT Technology Review notes
that a U.S. government lab has been operating a "quantum Internet" for about two years that sends secure messages between two points using a hub that converts the content and makes it technically impossible to eavesdrop. "The idea is that messages to the hub rely on the usual level of quantum security," the site's physics blog writes. "However, once at the hub, they are converted to conventional classical bits and then reconverted into quantum bits to be sent on the second leg of their journey. So as long as the hub is secure, then the network should also be secure."
Roy Peter Clark, in a piece for Poynter,
argues that sometimes there can be too much transparency in the journalistic narrative. He asserts that translucence, the balance between transparency and opacity, is a much more optimal result in many cases because it achieves authenticity while preserving the good reading experience. That said, he also knows that for certain straight news or investigative work, where the writing is less important than the reporting, transparency is much more important.