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.
Here are some media stories of note for Friday, February 22, 2013:
Given that Google's large search engine is in turn an engine for news site traffic, an understanding of its algorithm to rate content is essential to a site's success. Computerworld has examined
Google's latest patent application that reveals the elements of what it gauges in ranking site content. There are no particular surprises, as it might be expected: the site's productivity, article length, deemed importance, speed, staff size, circulation, originality, style, diversity and breadth of coverage all factor in the ranking, among other things.
Magazine editor Ann Friedman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review
, argues it's time to stop pronouncing the death of print. Many print outlets continue to thrive, she notes. Rather, it's time to simply recognize the end of the primacy of print.
Tom Rosenstiel, the veteran news executive and head of the American Press Institute, writes regularly for Poynter Online. His latest involves
what he describes as the twin delusions of the White House and the press corps. The latter has complained that the Obama Administration has managed to avoid major newspaper interviews and focused instead on local and digital sessions. Rosenstiel, who interviews extensively for the column, concludes it is wrong for the White House to think it can bypass major media and wrong for the press corps to believe it is somehow the lone gatekeeper.
Some media stores of note Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013:
If paywalls are an important part of the revenue stream for news organizations, then they need to make them walls and not fences. They are easily breached at the moment, defeating much of their purpose. The New York Times has moved to close a few leaks
in its online paywall, New York magazine reports. Among other things it has adjusted URLs to make evading the wall more difficult.
ZenithOptimedia has released a new study
on new media adoption and found Western Europe leads the way in adoption of smartphones, Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) and tablets. It says the region will continue to be a strong adopter in the next few years, with four of the top five markets.
The American Journalism Review examined
the approaches of four U.S. newspapers in devising new functions and connections in their communities. The general conclusion of the piece is that papers have to stop occupying defensive territory and move into a proactive approach.
The Washington Post's Paul Farhi examines
the White House communications strategy for President Barack Obama and concludes he's just not into newspapers. Obama gave most of his interviews to television outlets.
Media stories for Monday:PaidContent discusses
the new online commenting curation feature from Huffington Post that provides a web page for discussions called Conversations. The approach should provide more coherence to online comments, it reports, and a possibly strong revenue stream.
U.S. President Barack Obama gave an interview
to the newly revamped New Republic
and set out some concerns about the confrontational media environment in America that he asserts is part of the challenge of effective policy pursuit. He was particularly critical of false equivalencies that he says pose as objectivity in Beltway coverage.
Michael Arrington, TechCrunch's founding father, wrote twice this weekend
on the ethical challenges journalists face at CNET following parent company CBS' efforts to restrain coverage or recognition of CBS' competitors. He suggested principled resignations were in order, then backed off slightly to agree that some journalists would find it economically difficult to part ways immediately.
Media stories of note Thursday:
Mallary Jean Tenore of the Poynter Institute takes a critical look
at the social media hoax on Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o (he engaged in extensive online chats with a fictitious woman he said, and many media reported, to have died of leukemia). Steve Buttry at Digital First Media notes
the story's debunking was there for the taking.
Former U.S. vice president, soon-to-be-former Current TV owner, Al Gore is expressing concern
about the decision by The New York Times to close its environmental reporting unit. Gore worries it will make it more difficult to report on climate change.
A new survey by the George Washington School of Political Management and ORI Media indicates two-thirds of Americans trust social media as much as they do mainstream media as a source of political news. Among young people that number was 71 per cent, Politico reports,
while only slightly more than one-third of older people trusted social media political content.
U.S. President Barack Obama indicates
that part of his initiative to address gun violence in America will involve a study of media imagery to determine its relationship to crime, the Associated Press reports. While it is not a prominent element in his policy proposal, it nevertheless suggests the Administration wants the public to better understand any connection between video games, media and violence.
Ken Doctor, a leading American media consultant and analyst, tells the World Editors Forum
that a priority for publishers should be the convergence of technologists with journalists. In that way newsrooms stand a better chance of creating unique content, he argues.
Craig Silverman, writing for the Poynter Institute,
examines the refinement of policy by the Washington Post on corrections. It calls for more elaboration of what is being corrected, stern approaches on unpublishing online material, and a more proportionate placement of corrections based on the seriousness of the mistake.PR Daily reports
on a study by the blog twelve thirty eight on jargon identified by journalists that congests the public relations vocabulary. The compilation is amusing and reminiscent.
One of the world's largest newsgathering organizations has called for the release of the visual evidence of the death of Osama bin Laden. The Associated Press has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for such material and its senior editorial official has asserted journalists must be given the chance to judge for themselves whether to publish the content.
Michael Oreskes, the senior managing editor of The AP, tells The Atlantic Wire
that President Obama has pledged to run a much more transparent administration. While he notes this would be a difficult decision for the president, he says it is the job of journalists to seek this material. This material is important for the historical record, he argues.
Obama appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes Sunday and said the release of such material could incite violence and incur harm. Obama said he has seen the photo and "it is him."
Since the death of bin Laden, several organizations have sought the release of the visual evidence to support the assertion he is dead and to understand more about the confrontation that led to his death.
But there is an enormous debate on the necessity to release the evidence. Some argue
that it does not add any important information to the issue and only runs risk. What do you think?
From the Global Human Capital Journal comes a study all media should evaluate: How Barack Obama's campaign team leveraged Web 2.0 to build support for his candidacy.
It's a thorough examination of the tools his team employed, how it outflanked better-financed and better-known competitors, and ultimately what lessons there are.
Among those lessons:
1. Standard-bearers need to respect the ability of stakeholders to organize and make a lot of noise. Trust them.
2. Web 2.0 happened faster with Obama than even his campaign expected, so its effects ought to spread faster in 2009 than businesses expect. Disruption is imminent.
3. Consider yourself part of an ecosystem and design plans involving social media.
4. Get to transparency and openness with stakeholders.
5. Think small and roll up many such achievements into big numbers.