What’s holding back virtual reality news? Slow tech adoption, monetization, and yes, dull content

For news organizations, the promise of VR has been marred by a handful of challenges that have so far made it difficult to justify wholesale investment in the technology. That’s clear from a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism that takes an in-depth look at the state of VR news in 2017. The conclusion: despite some earnest early efforts among news organizations, widespread adoption of the technology among consumers is still years away. “VR has emerged from its early experimentation phase and is now bedding down in news organizations as they address the challenges of content and user experience,” writes Zillah Watson, the report’s author, who has also headed up BBC’s own VR efforts. “But it is still some years from what it could become — in the same way that, ten years ago, no one could have foreseen the role today of social Continue reading "What’s holding back virtual reality news? Slow tech adoption, monetization, and yes, dull content"

With Open Notebook, Hearken wants to help news orgs do more of their reporting in public

David Fahrenthold never did find much evidence of Donald Trump’s charitable efforts, but he got a Pulitzer Prize for his trouble. Fahrenthold’s reporting, which he tracked via pen and paper and which relied on input from readers, “created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities,” according to the Pulitzer Prize board. Hearken thinks that that model of transparency in reporting is one that more news organizations should emulate. The company is testing Open Notebook, a new feature designed to give news organizations a way to do their reporting in public, giving readers a chance to follow along and potentially contribute. Julia Haslanger, an engagement consultant at Hearken, said that the idea, inspired by the updates that Kickstarter projects send their backers, is a cross between “a mini-newsletter, a live blog, and a place to store Continue reading "With Open Notebook, Hearken wants to help news orgs do more of their reporting in public"

Google, the advertising company, could bring native adblocking to Chrome

Google is taking a counterintuitive approach to countering adblocking: building an adblocking feature of its own. The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday night that Google is considering bringing an adblocking feature to the desktop and mobile versions of its Chrome web browser. The feature, which could be turned on by default, would block ads that don’t meet the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads (of which Google and Facebook, among others, are both members and pay to fund), such as pop-ups, prestitials, and auto-play videos that have sound. The company is also considering going a step further by blocking all ads on offending pages, rather than the offending ads alone, the Wall Street Journal reported. That could be bad news for publishers, which don’t always actively police the kinds of ads that appear on their pages.

Fake news is affecting people’s trust in the news they read on Facebook

A lot of people get their news on Facebook — but a lot of people don’t believe the news they read on Facebook. That’s according to a new survey from BuzzFeed and Ipsos Public Affairs, who quizzed 3,000 American adults on their views about Facebook and the news. The results were not pretty. Over half of those who took the survey said they trust the news they read on Facebook “only a little” or “not at all.” Part of the blame for the trust problem on Facebook, it seems, lies with Facebook itself. It turns out that all the haranguing about fake news among media observers has spread to the general population: 42 percent of people said that they don’t trust news on the platform because Facebook hasn’t done a good job of curbing fake news on its platform. Facebook is, of course, trying to turn things around. While Mark Zuckerberg initially
Continue reading "Fake news is affecting people’s trust in the news they read on Facebook"

With new editor Joe Brown, Popular Science is using a “Trojan horse” strategy to take on science skeptics

In today’s political climate, “Popular Science” sounds a little like an oxymoron. Some people’ denials of climate change, evolution, and the efficacy of vaccines — issues that scientific research has repeatedly affirmed — have helped make science itself into a partisan issue, and scientists themselves into another interest group among many. It’s a tough time for science, and it might be fair to expect every publication in the space to rush to the defense of science — even if that meant alienating some readers. But Joe Brown, the new editor of Bonnier’s Popular Science, wants to avoid the temptation of directly fighting against science skepticism. “We’re not a political magazine at all,” he maintains. “I want to make the most inclusive science and technology publication possible, one that that does not alienate people.” This means not attempting to aggressively discredit, say, climate change deniers. While Brown personally believes Continue reading "With new editor Joe Brown, Popular Science is using a “Trojan horse” strategy to take on science skeptics"

Two new features let publishers interact with readers through Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook’s relationship with the news industry has been, shall we say, a little one-sided. While the news industry depends on the platform for its growth and distribution, Facebook itself has sometimes downplayed the outsized role it plays in the news industry. On Friday, though, Facebook announced some new additions to Instant Articles that were developed after direct feedback from publishers: the email sign-up feature, for example, will let readers share their email addresses from within Instant Articles. Similarly, publishers will now be able to offer readers the option to like their pages. Josh Roberts, a Facebook product manager, wrote in a blog post that the new features are a result of ongoing feedback from news organizations, many of which are looking to “extend the business value of Instant Articles. Across the board, publishers want to have more direct lines of communication with their readers and drive the conversions that matter Continue reading "Two new features let publishers interact with readers through Facebook Instant Articles"

With Push, small publishers have a cheaper, quicker way to develop their own mobile apps

Does every news organization need an app? It’s been a sticky question since Apple opened up the App Store nearly a decade ago. The app pendulum has swung in both directions multiple times over the years: For some publishers, apps remain an essential part of the distribution formula, while for others, developing an app is a waste of time and resources. Christopher Guess can’t say if developing a news app is always the right call, but he wants to make doing so within reach for any news organization that opts to invest in one. Guess is the developer behind Push, an open source iOS and Android app designed to cut down on the time and effort it takes for news organizations to develop news apps. It’s aimed at small-and mid-sized teams that lack the developer resources and capital to create their own apps from scratch. By Guess’s estimation, the
Continue reading "With Push, small publishers have a cheaper, quicker way to develop their own mobile apps"