Quartz is using Apple’s new AR tech to “help people understand objects in the news” on iPhones

Of all the emerging technologies that Apple has its eyes on, CEO Tim Cook has seemed particularly excited about augmented reality. Before long, many people will “have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you,” Cook predicted at a tech conference last year. Developers aren’t wasting any time attempting to make Cook’s vision a reality. Alongside the launch of iOS 11 today, Quartz is updating its iOS app, which will use augmented reality features to illustrate some of its stories. For instance, its coverage of the demise of the Cassini spacecraft is joined by a 3D model of the ship that users can examine as if it was physically in the same room with them. John Keefe, head of Quartz’s Bot Studio, said that stories like this one showcase the potential of augmented reality, which can Continue reading "Quartz is using Apple’s new AR tech to “help people understand objects in the news” on iPhones"

Are publishers making money on Facebook? “Not really,” a new report finds

For years publishers have held onto the hope that all their investments in Facebook will, at some point, pay dividends when it comes to revenue. But a new report from WAN-IFRA suggests that, for most publishers, that’s still far from the case — and they’re not happy about it. Surveying nearly 50 WAN-IFRA members, University of Oxford researcher (and 2016 Nieman Fellow) Grzegorz Piechota found that Facebook was responsible for an average of seven percent of digital revenue, with a median of just three percent, across all of its revenue programs. A quarter of publishers said they received no direct revenue from Facebook at all. In Piechota’s estimate, this puts Facebook lower than Google, YouTube, and Spotify in terms of how much revenue is shared back with publishers, though the lack of complete data makes it difficult to draw direct comparisons. Piechota concludes that, overall, “revenue shared by the leading
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With scripted comedy videos, The Washington Post wants to provide “new entry points to the news”

Making fun of both Apple and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the same time isn’t easy, but The Washington Post somehow pulled it off. Earlier this month the newspaper’s video team published “Meet Sarah, the New Siri,” a short satirical video that used the stylings of Apple’s ads to poke fun at Sanders’ repeated — but often unfulfilled — assurances to reporters that “I’ll get back to you on that.” These kinds of videos have become a familiar sight on The Washington Post over the past few months. In June, the Post tapped Veep actor Brian Huskey to reenact Anthony Scaramucci’s now-infamous on-the-record phone call New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza. And in a recent video titled “Mean Boys: Dancing on the Debt Ceiling,” The Post explained the mounting debt ceiling crisis in the style of a character from the 2004 film Mean Girls. Continue reading "With scripted comedy videos, The Washington Post wants to provide “new entry points to the news”"

Honolulu Civil Beat wants to use its bot to deepen ties with readers (and find some new stories, too)

Bots on Facebook Messenger have been, at best, a mixed bag so far. When Facebook opened up Messenger to brands last April, the immediate — and unsurprising — reaction among publishers was to see the chat app as yet another distribution channel. The early “bot” experiments from CNN, Mic, and others were built around this conception, offering subscribers daily digests of top stories or other simple forms of push-based alerts. Those rushed early ideas resulted in user experiences that did little to take advantage of the unique strengths of Messenger’s text-based interface. But more recent experiments show that news organizations are starting to realize the potential of Messenger and are using it to experiment with new kinds of talking to their readers. Last month, Honolulu Civil Beat launched a chat bot designed around a few questions: How can a news organization use Messenger to start a genuine conversation with
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From the “eager” to the “wary”: Americans have wildly different appetites for news and information

News organizations often tend to see their “readers” as one monolithic group whose members have similar needs and respond to the same kinds of stories. But a new report from the Pew Research Center shows that the reality is more complex. Creating what he calls a “information-engagement typology,” researcher John Horrigan identified five distinct groups of people based on their interest and engagement with new information: The Eager and Willing represent 22 percent of the U.S. adult population and have the highest levels of trust in information sources as well as the most interest in improving their own digital literacy. The Confident (16 percent of adults) in contrast are just as have just as much trust in information sources, but don’t feel a strong desire to improve their digital skills. Slightly more ambivalent about information are what Pew calls The Cautious and Curious (13 percent), a group that have
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Quartz is celebrating its 5th birthday with a handful of product launches (including a hardcover book)

Since its launch in 2012, Quartz has pushed the envelope with new ideas in distribution, visualization, and the general relationship between reporting and technology. Now, as it’s celebrating its five-year anniversary, it’s introducing a few more. Over the next two months, the site will launch a pair of new, subject-focused editions to join its main site: Quartz at Work, launching in October, will expand the site’s coverage of management and the workplace, topics that have already proven to be particularly popular among Quartz readers. Joining the edition in November will be Quartzy, a life and culture site focused on topics such as fashion, food, and entertainment that builds on the newsletter of the same name that launched in 2016. Quartz seems to be putting significant resources into the new editions, both of which will be staffed by their own dedicated teams of reporters. Quartz also announced today that it’s published
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With its first Facebook Messenger bot, ProPublica is collecting reader stories about hate speech

The big tech companies have long clung to the idea that their platforms are driven solely by the bias-free, objective realities of their algorithms. But of course the truth is more complicated: Behind those algorithms are people, and, when it comes to policing hate speech, the only thing consistent, it seems, is inconsistency. Back in June, ProPublica published an in-depth investigation into the algorithms that Facebook uses to determine what it considers “hate speech” on its platform. The findings, which were part of ProPublica’s coverage of what it calls “algorithmic injustice,” were clear, if a little disheartening: Facebook’s rules were being inconsistently applied, creating issues both for people abused without recourse and people whose posts had been taken down with little explanation or room for appeal. ProPublica, eager to learn more about these secret algorithms, is using its own technology to help. Earlier this week, the organization released its first Facebook
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