Media stories of note for Monday, May 6, 2013:
Charlie Warzel, writing for BuzzFeed,
notes the paradox of online comments. They're vilified in many quarters yet have never been more popular. He explores the constant dilemma for online sites in providing space for and moderating comments. No matter that some sites have minimized or even stricken them, they are here to stay, he concludes.
Jaron Lanier, in a commentary piece for the New York Post,
says people should be compensated by the likes of Twitter and Facebook for providing content. Lanier, a Microsoft employee and author of a new book, believes social media is killing the middle class because rewards of the technology are only deposited with a few. He says it's time to take the future back.
Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of The New York Times, looks back on the
Jayson Blair fabrication episodes at the paper that came to light 10 years ago. She examines the effort to repair the shaken credibility and the steps taken to avoid a recurrence. She concludes the Times has put in place several measures to verify, and the Internet context provides ongoing scrutiny from the audience. But she and editors in the piece note that nothing can guarantee there won't be another event.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, March 26, 2013:
An international study commissioned by the BBC examines the use of television and tablets in consuming news. It suggests a TV-first habit remains in the consumption of breaking news but that tablets and the Internet are increasingly the resource to dig deeper. Rather than take away from television, tablets are integrating into an environment of smartphones and laptops, says the study reported in TechCrunch.
Indeed, nearly have of the tablet owners say they are watching more television.
The BBC has created a database of "expert women" to increase the proportion of women seen and heard on its news programming. Poynter notes
the database is part of an initiative that recently saw BBC train experts in presenting their views at its BBC Academy. A YouTube channel was launched featuring some of these presentations.
Ken Doctor, the news executive who writes for Nieman Journalism Lab
, explores the recent State of the News Media report's assertion that most news companies may have missed the opportunity to capitalize on the emerging mobile and local digital advertising market. The strength of the so-called GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Apple) in securing the front row may have precluded their significant presence.
Some media stories of note for Friday, March 8, 2013:
The overhaul of Facebook's news feed began to emerge Thursday
and the seeming aim is to generate a personal newspaper of sorts, with a hierarchical display based on what users focus on most. Wired.com notes there are opportunities for media if users focus on published content, and The New Yorker notes
it aims to show us all we want to see and none of what we don't. but Facebook has left it flexible enough that users may simply focus on what their friends are saying.
The Washington Post, which ended its ombudsman role last week, has appointed its first readers' representative
in the newsroom to field public complaints and write periodically about how they are addressed. Doug Feaver is a veteran Post newsroom journalist and will be assisted by Alison Coglianese, who worked for the ombudsman's office previously. Feaver will blog for washingtonpost.com and contribute newspaper columns as needed.
Craig Silverman, writing for Poynter, says "bring on the robots." He identifies ways in which machines will be able to improve accuracy and standards in newsrooms, whether through fact-checking, extracting data to produce timelines, identifying typographical errors, detecting plagiarism and fabrication, or even gathering information through drones.
Three media stories of note for Wednesday, March 6, 2013:
Facebook is about to launch content-specific news feeds in an effort to enhance the relevance of its experience. TechCrunch reports
that the company will announce the moves Thursday. It will include an enhanced music feed. TechCrunch says it's all aimed at getting more time spent on Facebook.
Facebook's move is significant in that Twitter appears to be the platform of choice for journalism. A new study by Polis,
the public opinion research arm of the London School of Economics, indicates that Twitter is dominant as a newsgathering tool among social media. Facebook is more about discussion, but Twitter is more about breaking news like a wire service.
The question then becomes how sustainable journalism is in social media. TechCrunch reports
that Ev Williams, one of the founders of Twitter, believes he is on the right track with Medium, a curation site that invites collaboration. It aims to develop journalism that can be properly underwritten.
Media stories for Tuesday:
The Washington Post is attempting real-time fact-checking
with the launch of TruthTeller
, underwritten by the Knight Foundation as a journalism tool to extract content from political video and apply an algorithmic test to the veracity of the script. Essentially, it links what was said with what was earlier fact-checked. The Post acknowledges there is work to be done on the application and is encouraging users to help fine-tune it.
Martin Belam, writing for GigaOm,
challenges the notion that adopting the Facebook plug-in (or abandoning it) is the determinant of a civil, worthwhile online comment environment. Some news organizations have recently pulled away from the Facebook authentication of identity. Belam writes: "There’s no doubt that software design and features do influence community behaviors, but not as much as decent community management and personal engagement from journalists does."Lewis DVorkin writes for Forbes.com on the emerging personal brands of journalists and how that is changing the role of financial reporting. He particularly notes the value of participation in social media and the importance of audience engagement.
Stories of note Wednesday:
Facebook has entered the search engine field in a large way with the unfurling this week of its Graph Search function, aimed at being its most adventurous pillar yet. Vadim Lavrusik, the journalist recruited by Facebook to help develop its services, has a primer
on how reporters will be able to employ the new function in their work.
The Columbian Journalism Review covers a meeting
on hyperlocal initiatives and finds that, for the time being at least, success is defined in acquiring an audience and cornering a particular function. The financial rewards are not emerging, yet, although some have experienced advertiser and subscriber support in encouraging ways.
StarAfrica.com has a feature
on the impressive impact of technology on journalism in Africa, particularly in the flourishing mobile market. The growth of crowdsourced and citizen-provided content has been significant, as has the rise in standards.
A new study of how U.S. business journalists use the Internet has some interesting implications for those who evaluate its impact on standards. It's clear that the journalistic use is primarily information-gathering.
The study for the Arketi Group
asked business journalists (it isn't clear in the study how many) how they use the Internet. Not surprisingly, 98 per cent said they use it to read news, while 91 per cent use it for sources and ideas. Industry experts, interested parties and corporate websites are the most frequently used sources.
Slightly more than two-thirds (69%) use the Internet for social networking. Journalists are more likely to have Linkedin accounts (92%) than Facebook (85%) or Twitter (84%) accounts.
As for their own creating, a little more than half (53%) blog. Other top uses include consuming webinars, YouTube and Wikis, producing and listening to podcasts and social bookmarking.
Facebook has produced a study
on practices that enhance page engagement. Its implications are significant as journalists and organizations attempt to expand and entrench audience relationships in that space.
The study found that posts with some personal analysis draw larger views than those without. It also found photo thumbnails drove traffic.
As for the length of this analysis, the study found a curious result: one-liners can draw highly varying responses of up to 15 times the average amount of engagement, but three- and four-line analyses also draw consistently higher engagement.
Posts Thursday through Sunday drew higher engagement, likely due to the greater reading time (and presumably engagement time) on weekends.
The recent use of social media to propel political activism does not come dilemma-free. Sites with cultures of neutrality and accommodation are finding themselves in quandaries about their approaches.The New York Times explores how they are wrestling with this content and trying to preserve the integrity of the cultures that first made them attractive.
It looks at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, in particular.The pressure is coming from all sides: from those who feel misrepresentation is viral and those who feel more anonymity is necessary to protect those speaking out.Ultimately there are bound to be legal questions about the publishing responsibility.
As Malcolm Gladwell
sees it, the revolution will not be Tweeted.
The social commentator and bestselling author has been skeptical of the claims about social media. He recognizes the technological ability to reach people through Twitter, Facebook and social networks, but he takes issue with its larger claims of prowess.
He stops short in his piece for The New Yorker
of accepting social media as activism. He points out that many recent examples of political activism cited by proponents of social media were not actual social media events --- the Iranian calls for democracy were western-based, while the Moldovan expressions of opposition to Communism were without the benefit of Twitter.
Gladwell believes these phenomena bear little resemblance to what is required of real activism. It is participation while lessening the motivation that participation requires, he argues.
"In other words, Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice," he writes.
Gladwell believes social networks are a "weak-tie" form of communication, in which your Facebook Friends are not really friends and your Twitter followers are not truly following, not comparable to the strong-tie allegiances that require persistence and selflessness.
"The instruments of social media are well suited to making the existing social order more efficient," he concludes. "They are not a natural enemy of the status quo."