• Media Picks #10 – Immersive stories, the algorithms are coming & don’t post Facebook pictures

    Media Hack Media Picks Media Picks #10 – Immersive stories, the algorithms are coming & don’t post Facebook pictures
    Media Picks #10 – Immersive stories, the algorithms are coming & don’t post Facebook pictures

    Media Picks

    Media Picks #10 – Immersive stories, the algorithms are coming & don’t post Facebook pictures

    Posted By Alastair Otter

    Media Picks #10 – 20 February 2015
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    The company automating stories for AP now has its sights set on sports journalism
    A few weeks ago Media Picks included a story about how AP was using algorithms to automatically generate more than 3,000 company stories every quarter.  Now the company behind AP’s automation, Automated Insights, has been  bought and will start looking at generating automated sports stories. No doubt some will claim this to be the end of journalism but, as AP points out, the automation has freed up time for journalists to focus on other more important areas of news.

    Posting a photo is the worst way to get people to see your Facebook posts
    Say what?! Not so long ago everyone knew that the best way to hook readers on Facebook was to include a good picture. But that was then and this is now. The new flavour of the month, apparently, is video which, according to a long-term study, is the format that most attracts Facebook users. That in itself is not surprising but what is surprising is that pictures fared even worse than just simple text in attracting interaction.

    Inside The New York Times Instagram strategy
    To appeal to a new generation of news consumers, The New York Times is going all-in on Instagram: “It’s not an effort to drive traffic to the site. That’s very hard to do on Instagram. It’s much more about building awareness and, hopefully, loyalty for The New York Times broadly, but particularly for the Times’ incredible visual storytelling.”

    Riddle me this: How can news organisations better use games and quizzes?
    The New York Times’ most popular piece of content in 2013 wasn’t an article — it was, of course, its now famous dialogue quiz. The quiz, published Dec. 21 of that year, was also the paper’s third most popular story of 2014. Similarly, the most popular story in Slate’s history was the Adele Dazeem Name Generator, built after John Travolta butchered Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars last year.

    ‘Tweet your story four times’ and other social media advice for journalists
    Social media is hard work. It’s no longer any good to just tweet a link to your story and move on to the next article. No, you need to post that tweet three or four times, in different ways, if you’re going to get any serious traction.

    How Mic turned Tumblr into a big traffic driver
    A little more than a year ago, Mic (then still known as PolicyMic) had just a few hundred followers on Tumblr and was doing nothing but reblogging posts from other accounts. Today, Mic’s Tumblr has nearly 100,000 followers and the referrals it generates constitute 5 percent of Mic’s total monthly traffic.

    Under the Hood of ‘Chasing Bayla,’ an immersive story from the Boston Globe
    If you haven’t seen Chasing Bayla, do yourself a favour and head over there right now. Last October, Laura Amico coordinated the production of “Chasing Bayla,” an immersive story about one man’s quest to save a whale ensnared in fishing nets. The story features over 6,000 words juxtaposed with multiple photographs, videos, audio recordings, and animated illustrations.

    Vox experimented with a new format for its daily email and the audience really hated it
    Anyone who has spent any time working in digital media knows the feeling: you slave over a new way of presenting the news. You finally launch your new baby, proudly, and barely seconds later you start receiving the hate mail. Readers are often a lot less tolerant of change than we think they are.

    Irish Times creates analytics team to drive reader-first strategy
    In effort to grow audience and revenue, The Irish Times hired a business analytics team in 2014. The team tracks reader behaviour in three categories — occasional, frequent, and heavy — then identifies articles that would be of interest to each.

    There is still a place for blogs in an overloaded media world
    Following the decision by Andrew Sullivan to stop blogging, much has been made of the demise of blogging. But, argues Ira Stoll, reports of blogging’s death have been overstated.

    Don’t get caught out: tips for live coverage of breaking news
    When a big news story breaks, live blogs spring up across most major news sites. Live blogs are well suited to breaking news events, but they are evolving stories which are riddled with risk and pitfalls.

    The gorgeous typeface that drove men mad and sparked a 100-year mystery
    No one seemed to notice him: A dark figure who often came to stand at the edge of London’s Hammersmith Bridge on nights in 1916. No one seemed to notice, either, that during his visits he was dropping something into the River Thames. Something heavy.

    Swarmize in the newsroom: Collect, analyse and output data 
    “Editors can set up simple polls and embed them onto a Web page in minutes. Developers can build more custom interactives like a live TV feedback mobile app.” – Guardian’s Matt McAlister.

    New York Times ramps up digital, will retire system of pitching stories for the print page one
    Editor Dean Baquet says The Times will continue to have its distinctive morning meetings, but rather than focusing on which stories will make the front page of the next day’s print edition, the paper will compete for the best digital, rather than print, real estate.

    Tool of the week: Creating images for social media with Canva
    We all know images work well on social media (okay, except for on Facebook which is reported higher up) but creating them can be time-consuming. Not so with Canvas which makes it dead simple to create quirky pictures perfect for sharing on social networks. Downside: It’s not completely free but if you’re willing to spend a little money, check it out.

    Here’s a recipe for successfully crowdfunding journalism in 2015
    American Public Media has decided that Spot.us doesn’t work any more in today’s crowdfunding environment. But they also investigated what does — and laid out a model for others to use.

    Geekery: How many of your readers are using AdBlock to hide the ads on your site? 
    Adblocking software like AdBlock Plus have become mainstream and now pose a significant threat to web businesses that are dependent on online advertisements. But do you know how many users are hiding your ads? This Google Analytics snippet might just have the answer.

    Until next week

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    Written by Alastair Otter

    Data visualisation & design, journalist, hacker.


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