• Media Picks #11 – Digital storytelling, web versus apps, making economics fun

    Media Hack Media Picks Media Picks #11 – Digital storytelling, web versus apps, making economics fun
    Media Picks #11 – Digital storytelling, web versus apps, making economics fun

    Media Picks

    Media Picks #11 – Digital storytelling, web versus apps, making economics fun

    Posted By Alastair Otter

    Media Picks #11 – 27 February 2015
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    New York Times to double the number of stories open for comment on its site
    Bucking the trend toward closing down online comments, the New York Times is not only not planning on going that route but it actually has plans to expand online comments by opening up more articles for reader opinion. Interesting fact: NYT typically opens 23 articles for comments every day and has 13 moderators looking after those.

    Stunning digital storytelling
    After spending a weekend judging digital entries in the 2015 Society of News Design competition, Mindy McAdams chooses some of her personal favourites. She also offers great insight into what makes, or breaks, a good digital story.

    Guardian headhunters reach out to New York in search for new editor
    An external recruitment firm retained by The Guardian’s ownership, The Scott Trust, has cast a wide net on both sides of the Atlantic with its own search for suitable editor candidates, which is separate from the newsroom ballot.

    +  The four internal candidates for the Guardian editorship have released their vision statements

    Bringing readers into the conversation
    “Where was God in Aurora?” When CNN’s religion editor Dan Gilgoff asked this question on Twitter in the aftermath of the shootings, the responses were numerous. He then turned the responses into an article which itself garnered more than 10,000 comments. Quickly the original tweet had taken on a life of its own. “An engaged journalist’s role in the 21st century is not only to inform but to bring readers directly into the conversation.”

    Web vs App:  apps are undergoing a revival but for how long?
    For new publisher it has long been a challenging question: app or web? Focus too much on apps and you risk being ignored by the social web. Focus too much on the web and you end up being a lonely webview inside someone’s Facebook News Feed. Focus too much on apps and you risk getting lost on the fifth homescreen of someone’s phone. Focus too much on the web and you lose out on tools like push notifications that can drive attention.

    So what is Buzzfeed doing with apps?
    “You might have heard we are working on a news app,” writes Chris Johanesen, Buzzfeed’s VP of Product, on the company blog. “You might have heard that we’ve recently acquired not one, but two app companies.  … And today, you might have heard we launched our first new app in years and that it’s called … wait for it… Cute or Not.” What exactly is Buzzfeed up to?

    An ethical checklist for robot journalism
    News organizations are experimenting increasingly with robot journalism, using computer programs to transform data into news stories or news stories into multimedia presentations. What are the ethics of robot journalism? When editors consider using automated news writing, what issues of accuracy, quality and transparency arise?

    An excellent reason for allowing anonymous sources (via Mother Jones)

    Behind the scenes: Making economics reporting fun
    If you’re unfamiliar with NPR’s excellent Planet Money podcast then you might well wonder if it is possible to make economic reporting entertainment. Stacey Vanek Smith is a reporter with Planet Money and in this interview she provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the what it takes to produce a compelling piece of journalism.

    Why serious journalism can coexist with audience-pleasing content
    “For too long, it’s been easy to mock legacy media organizations that dare dabble in relatively new, digital platforms or formats that are perceived to be low-brow,” says Ann Friedman. “When outlets with long-established reputations do take a stab at entertaining an audience rather than just informing it, critics have been quick to couch the move as a play for advertising and lowest-common-denominator clicks.”

    How journalists are using Slack and Hangouts (instead of email) to stay connected​
    Conferences are great, but they’re often really expensive and require having additional staff members to backfill positions. That’s often hard to manage in smaller newsrooms. Some journalists are turning to hangouts to fill gaps and some are even using Slack to discuss new media developments.

    BuzzFeed newsletter begins expansion into breaking news platform
    “We want to put readers in a position where they know about big stories before anyone else, and are always the ones in-the-know,” says Dan Oshinsky, Director of Newsletters at BuzzFeed, “The newsletters are a standalone project for now, but the News App team is building out a whole series of emails, apps, and notifications. This is just the first big launch in what will be a series of launches for that team.”

    Try this at home: Six web-based tools and applications that can help you communicate visually
    These “off-the-shelf” products — many free and some open-source — make tasks do-able and efficient that would have taken huge amounts of time and money in years past. They are, in a sense, democratizing the ability to communicate.

    What the connected future means for publishers
    Media companies need to understand how the environment we live in today is being changed by web-connected devices if they want to fully grasp the future mindset and expectations of readers. In turn, we can then understand how we should be dealing with our customers going forward.

    Tips: Debunking a Twitter hoax in 30 seconds
    The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Marshall offers some tips on verifying tweets.

    5 ways to get around Twitter’s 140-character count
    Saying what you want to say in 140 characters is tough. Sometimes you just need more space.

    How I’m using WhatsApp to host a newsletter
    Alex Laughlin decided that WhatsApp might be a nifty way to distribute a small scale newsletter. So she started doing exactly this. Here she shares her thoughts on the whole process.

    Drilling down: A quick guide to free and inexpensive data tools
    Newsrooms don’t need large budgets for analyzing data – they can easily access basic data tools that are free or inexpensive. This is a pretty comprehensive list.

    Until next week

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    Written by Alastair Otter

    Data visualisation & design, journalist, hacker.


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