The promises and pitfalls of reporting within chat apps and other semi-open platforms: A journalist’s guide

Media organizations have often struggled to adapt their newsgathering and reporting to the reality of disparate news consumption habits and a public that increasingly favors peer-to-peer messaging platforms and social media networks over more public forums. There are challenges for all journalists in discovering and verifying stories we don’t “own” or can’t attribute to other known opinion-formers. There are ethical dilemmas, too, in journalists seeking to insert themselves into unfamiliar online communities, either openly or undercover. But is there more we can — and should — be doing as journalists to move our reporting closer to the communities we seek to serve? Is there still value in news journalists dwelling in social media platforms where participants are routinely attacked before they’re heard and where media manipulation is so dominant? And if so, can and should journalists look a little deeper into this local beat and seek greater insight from digital
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BBC Three Twitter Account Throws Shade at Trump With Royal Wedding Crowd Size

The royal wedding went off without a hitch this morning and it was one of those rare news items of 2018 that––unless you want to get into a debate about the monarchy––was free of politics. But the BBC Three Twitter account could not resist the urge this morning to throw some shade across the pond at President Trump: The image on the left, of course, is from Trump’s 2017 inauguration, while the image on the right is from today. Now all we need is Sean Spicer to react… [image via screengrab] — — Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

Emily Bell thinks public service media today has its most important role to play since World War II

The ability of the media to secure democracy is being challenged by great disruptions: ad funding doesn’t work that well anymore and large, non-transparent platforms are increasingly central in our information flow. Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia, thinks public service media may be about to play its most important role since World War II. Facebook and Google have taken over not only an increasing share of the attention, but also much of the ad market. This has taken away another large chunk of the revenue that supports journalism, following classified ads in the unbundling of the business model that once made newspapers a thriving business. The rise of subscription models and paywalls has begun to inject fresh money in some media houses, but those who aren’t subscribing to journalistic media could be left worse off. It’s no longer a matter of picking Continue reading "Emily Bell thinks public service media today has its most important role to play since World War II"

Homepages may be dead, but are daily news podcasts the new front page?

  • As my buddies at Nieman Lab pointed out, there exists a counter-example: “Slate has experimented successfully with urging listeners to subscribe to Slate Plus within its own podcasts.” However, it’s worth noting that Slate’s strategy there is largely built around additional podcast content for paid members, which isn’t a move that’s all that present in the way public radio stations operate their membership models.
  • Better counter-examples can be found with the fine folks at Maximum Fun and Radiotopia. The former enjoyed a particularly successful drive last year, which I wrote about. That campaign, which took place over two weeks, led to the conversion of 24,181 new and upgrading members. Which is to say: ways to do it well have been done before.
  • Ken Freedman’s perspective here highlights, in precise terms, the audience relationship challenge that comes with the shift toward on-demand: as a publisher, you are now in a Continue reading "Homepages may be dead, but are daily news podcasts the new front page?"
  • How digital leaders from the BBC and Al Jazeera are planning for the ethics of AI

    — If robot reporters are going to deploy from drones in war zones in the future, at what point do we have the conversation about the journalism ethics of all this? The robots may still be a few years away, but the conversation is happening now (at least about today’s AI technology in newsrooms). At Al Jazeera’s Future of Media Leaders’ Summit earlier this month, a group of experts in areas from media to machine learning discussed how their organizations frame the ethics behind (and in front of!) artificial intelligence. Ethical AI was one of several topics explored during the gathering in Qatar, Continue reading "How digital leaders from the BBC and Al Jazeera are planning for the ethics of AI"

    Watch a BBC Reporter Confront Putin: ‘Is Russia Behind The Poisoning of Sergei Skripal?’

    Steve Rosenberg, the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, has guts. The veteran journalist confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin at point blank range on Monday — after the U.K. government said it was “highly likely” the Kremlin was behind the nerve agent attack on a former Russia spy. “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act” against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were left in critical condition after last week’s poisoning. And as Putin strolled through Russia’s National Grain Centre, Rosenberg put it directly to the Russian president: “Is Russia behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal?” “Look, we’re busy here with agriculture,” Putin replied. “As you can see, the aim is Continue reading "Watch a BBC Reporter Confront Putin: ‘Is Russia Behind The Poisoning of Sergei Skripal?’"

    With in-article chat bots, BBC is experimenting with new ways to introduce readers to complex topics

    Even if they haven’t changed the world in the way some hyped, chatbots have become a compelling way for news organizations to experiment with telling familiar stories in a new format. Some big challenges stand in the way of widespread adoption, though. One is acclimating users to the format; another is winning over reporters. The BBC News Labs and the BBC Visual Journalism team are trying to solve both issues with a single solution: a custom bot-builder application designed to make it as easy as possible for reporters to build chatbots and insert them into their stories. In a few minutes, a BBC reporter can input the text of an article, define the questions users can click, and publish the bot, which can then be reused and added to any other relevant article. BBC reporters can even repurpose existing Q&A explainers into bot-based conversations. So, on this story about a
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