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 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.
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.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, April 30, 2013:
Rick Edmonds, writing for Poynter,
examines new approaches to measuring circulation in the U.S. newspaper industry. The measurement has helped set advertising rates and determined revenue for the business, but several new rules have altered the results (mostly for the better, he says, in providing day-by-day data) and made it difficult to look at year-over-year patterns. The results today
indicate The New York Times has surpassed USA Today.
Taylor Miller Thomas, also writing for Poynter
, looks at 11 digital tools that can help journalists improve their reporting. She identifies crowdsourcing, freedom of information, census data and other sites that provide opportunities for journalists to develop evidence-based material and engage the audience.
Twitter is not interested
in an Initial Public Offering, says CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter is now valued at about $9 billion. One thing it is doing is creating a Canadian operation and it has dipped into Canadian broadcasting
for its first leader in the country. Kirstine Stewart, formerly the executive vice president of English Services at CBC, has joined them.
Media notes for Friday, April 26, 2013:
South Africa pushed through contentious legislation Thursday that restricts access to information and imposes fines and penalties including jail time for journalists who publish what the government considers secrets. The Guardian notes
there is widespread agreement that the bill's onerous measures have been reduced in the five-year debate since it was proposed, but critics believe there remains discretion for the government to curtail press freedom. Some see it as the first erosion of democracy since apartheid was eliminated in the country nearly two decades ago.
The English-language Egypt Independent closed abruptly Thursday. The New York TImes reports
that the site, one of the most aggressive in chronicling political change in the country, was experiencing financial difficulties that investors said could not be surmounted. But it also notes that its staff believes there was a political motive in the closure because of the site's criticism of the president and the Muslim Brotherhood. That observation is shared in a commentary on Tahrir Squared.
A new law in England and Wales makes it tougher to sue. The New York Times reports
that the bill passed Thursday does not switch the burden of proof from the defendant, but it offers some provisions to strengthen their position. They can, for instance, claim the information was published in good faith and that it was in the public interest. The bill also is aimed at reducing "libel tourism," in which people chose England as a litigation venue even when publicity of the information was minor there.
Media notes for Thursday, April 25, 2013:
Most national British newspapers have rejected a government royal charter plan to regulate the press and have proposed an alternative plan that avoids state-sponsored regulation they say would reduce press freedom. BBC reports
the move, supported so far by nine of 11 national titles, has thrown open the debate once more on how to regulate the press following the Leveson inquiry's efforts to identify a new process in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
The New York TImes, which Bloomberg notes
missed analysts' revenue expectations in its first-quarter results, has revealed a new digital strategy. Forbes.com reports
the plan includes tiered pricing that would permit access to "important and interesting" stories only at a lower rate (a plan now termed NYT Junior, aimed at younger readers), an expansion of its live events, and even an initiative to introduce games.
Not so long ago it was considered beneficial to be included on Twitter lists because it spread your content and associated you with particular expertise. But Nina Diamond, writing for Poynter,
suggests journalists reexamine which Twitter lists they are on and consider removing themselves from ones that do not help their brands, make you uncomfortable or are inappropriate.
Media stories of note for Monday, March 18, 2013:
The annual State of the News Media report
has been released by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. The report is a scorecard on media, primarily in the U.S., in the last year with special examination of elements of media. This year's report identifies several critical problems, principally a smaller workforce in traditional outlets and the rise of special-interest groups in covering significant news. Its other main conclusions:
the public is noticing the cuts, the news industry isn't earning a large share of digital advertising, there is a sharp growth in sponsored content, the growth in digital subscriptions appears to be having an impact on revenue, local TV news is following newspapers into cuts, word-of-mouth is leading to deeper news consumption.
Britain's Parliament will vote Monday on a proposed charter to regulate the media. On the eve of the vote, The Guardian reports t
hat three major news companies indicate they would boycott any regulator with legal clout (a proposal from the opposition Labour party) and establish their own self-regulation. The proposal follows the collapse of all-party talks on the matter following the Leveson inquiry into press conduct. Early Monday, though, the three parties agreed on a plan,
although they are publicly disagreeing on whether there is legal underpinning of a regulator.
Ken Doctor, writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
has an elaborate look at what he believes will be the newsroom economics (newsonomics, as he calls it) in five years. His main expectation is that data will be gathered about the audience to permit advertisers to understand and value the content creators appropriately, but he has an extensive blueprint, much of it patterned on the recent successes of Financial Times in this space.
Justin Ellis, also writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
examines how The New York Times last week experimented with an online comment filter following the announcement of the Pope to filter their identities and moods. The result was a more structured and arguably more relevant online discussion, he concludes.
Some media stories of note for Friday, Feb. 15:
While the Knight Foundation gathering this week was notable for its $20,000 honorarium for speaker and plagiarist Jonah Lehrer, it did discuss more substantive issues
dealing with the future business models for journalism and information. In particular, it examined the role of foundations in assisting the information needs of communities. The Nieman Lab reports this "blended future" might be important as traditional journalism finds itself less able to meet those needs.
Odd-seeming issues often have profound consequences. So it appears with a request this week by Teri Buhl that news organizations take down her Twitter photo. This had followed her request that others not republish her Tweets. Poynter discusses the situation
and indicates this has implications for news organizations.Reuters reports
on concerns by the Committee to Protect Journalists' assertion that cyberattacks on media organizations are more common and complicated than ever as a form of censorship and invasion of personal material. In recent weeks The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have been among the most notable targets.
The New York Times' David Carr chronicles the extensive effort
by NBC's The Today Show to make right on an audio editing mistake that created an error.
The clip left the impression that George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, uttered racist statements. The Today Show fired or disciplined several employees and issued a statement apologizing.
What it didn't do, Carr noted, was tell its audience it had erred. Carr examines the case as an example of American television culture about correcting the record.
"Give NBC credit for dealing with a big error that threatened to sow further mayhem on a very delicate story," he wrote. "It’s just too bad it failed to remember that the fix for bad journalism generally includes more journalism. The kind that goes on the air."
In his latest The Media Equation column,
The New York Times' David Carr notes the problem of the "burped up" thought that is Twitter, particularly when it intersects with professional expectations.Carr cites the recent suspension of CNN's Roland Martin following a Tweet during last week's Super Bowl. Carr writes a thoughtful and self-deprecating look at the challenge of using social media when his employer has high standards.
The instant judgment isn't always congruent with the overall judgment.He concludes that 140 characters makes it difficult to be journalistic, even if it is fun and even if is a requirement.