Caliphate, a new podcast from The New York Times, marks a few firsts for the newspaper. For one, the mini-series, announced at SXSW this weekend, is the Times’ first foray into narrative documentary storytelling, following in the footsteps of shows like Serial and S-Town. Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who focuses on terrorism, will go deep on the rise of the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul, focusing on the persistent pull of ISIS and the effort to fight it. (You can hear a preview of the show here.) Alongside the new story form, the Times will also use Caliphate to experiment with giving subscribers early access to new episodes through both its website and the Times app, which added podcast playback in an update last December. At the time, The Times said that the new feature would make it easier for readers to listen Continue reading "The New York Times will experiment with giving subscribers early access to its first documentary podcast series"
For the news industry, the promise — or perhaps threat — of automation is that technology will be able to handle more of the monotonous reporting, freeing up human reporters to do the enterprising, high-value work. Reuters, however, sees another path: cybernetic reporters. At NICAR on Friday, Padraic Cassidy, Reuters’ editor of news production systems, took the wraps off Lynx Insights, a new in-house automation tool designed to augment reporting by surfacing trends, facts, and anomalies in data, which reporters can then use to accelerate the production of their existing stories or spot new ones. While Reuters has experimented with automated reporting since at least 2015, Cassidy said that the process was not only expensive and time-consuming, but often resulted in articles that were transparently written by a machine. “After looking at those stories, we decided to be sensible about it and made it so that machines can do Continue reading "Reuters’ new automation tool wants to help reporters spot the hidden stories in their data (but won’t take their jobs)"
Sean Stanleigh is proud of the work that has come out of Lab 351, the innovation unit that The Globe and Mail’s launched in 2015. But he’s also looking forward to the day when the division no longer needs to exist. Closing the doors on Lab 351 is “the absolute end goal,” albeit a longterm one, said Stanleigh, who is co-chair of the unit. But rather than a sign of failure, the move would be a sign of success because it would mean “the culture here would have shifted to the point where the innovation has become part of what we do on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “We wouldn’t need the lab anymore.” The Globe and Mail has some ways to go before it can make that scenario a reality. The newspaper launched its innovation lab in an effort to reverse-engineer the ethos of Silicon Valley, bringing the Continue reading "With Lab 351, The Globe and Mail is creating both new products and a culture of “bottom-up” innovation"
For those invested in making news organizations more diverse, inclusive places, particularly for women, the past few years haven’t offered much in the way of good news. ASNE’s latest newsroom diversity survey, published last fall, found that women made up 39.1 percent of all newsroom employees in 2017 — up only slightly from 37.35 percent in 2001. In a similarly dismal report, the Women’s Media Center, an organization created to increase the ranks and visibility of women in media, found last year that men produced 62.3 percent of news reports at 20 of top U.S. news outlets last year. This week, the group published a follow up to its 2017 report that drills deeper into why women of color are underrepresented in media companies, and what those companies can do to improve it. Some of these insights come via prominent women in the industry, including Continue reading "Women of color are still underrepresented in media. A new report explains why (and how news orgs can turn it around)"
Publishers may be getting dinged — and in some cases destroyed — by Facebook’s move to decrease the amount of publisher content in the News Feed, but the declines in social sharing have long been in motion. This week, analytics company BuzzSumo released a new report analyzing trends in social sharing over the past few years. The top line takeaway from its analysis of 100 million articles is that social sharing is down by 50 percent across the board compared to just a few years ago. In 2015, articles saw an average of 8 shares; today that number has dropped to 4. Only 5 percent of content gets more than 343 shares. Here are some other key findings from the report: — Multiple factors are at hand here, according to BuzzSumo. One is that there’s just more competition among publisher content overall, particularly in popular topics like bitcoin, which
Continue reading "New data shows just how much social sharing has decreased since 2015 (and News Feed tweaks are just one factor)"
Sometimes the best way to figure out what people want in an app to ask them directly. In late 2016, Matilde Giglio and Mayank Banerjee traveled to dozens of universities across the U.K. to ask students some probing questions about their news consumption habits. Where were existing news sites and apps failing? Where could they do better? What features are important to younger readers? That listening tour, which added up to conversations with thousands of students, helped give birth to Compass News, an app designed to give users a simple, informative digest of the day’s news. Twice a day, Compass News pushes out six of the biggest news stories, offering short summaries in a card-like format. Because the app is designed for college-aged readers who may not be familiar with certain stories (the app’s average user is 22 years old), many stories also include a “What’s the story Continue reading "An AI editor and story summaries are helping Compass News become a go-to app for non-news junkies"
In some rare good news for local news, WYNC said Friday that it’s acquired and plans to relaunch Gothamist, which was abruptly shut down last fall after a successful union organizing effort with owner Joe Ricketts. The news, greeted with understandable glee by anyone invested in the digital local news ecosystem, has a lot of moving parts, and some of its components are still unknown — particularly the identities of the anonymous donors who helped fund the acquisition, and the size of the overall deal. Here are a few takeaways, clarifications, and open questions surrounding the move. — Gothamist is returning, but DNAinfo isn’t. Joe Ricketts’ acquisition of Gothamist last March was seen as an effort to shore up the business operations at DNAinfo, which struggled to turn a profit. Sadly, DNAinfo is staying dead, which is disheartening given that the site’s intense focus on aggressive hyper-local original reporting Continue reading "Here are a few details about WNYC’s Gothamist revival (and one big question)"