YouTuber Reportedly Warned FBI About Nikolas Cruz Comment in September: ‘Professional School Shooter’

A YouTuber warned the FBI about an alarming comment left on one of his videos by a user named Nikolas Cruz in September, according to Buzzfeed. Ben Bennight, a 36-year-old Mississippi bail bondsman and “frequent YouTube vlogger” saw an alarming comment under one of his videos: a user named Nikolas Cruz who wrote “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” Bennight notified the FBI about the comment, as well as YouTube. After sending a screenshot to the FBI’s tips account, he was immediately contacted by an agent, and met for an in person interview the next day. “They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed. “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.” After Nikolas Cruz, 17, opened fire on students at Continue reading "YouTuber Reportedly Warned FBI About Nikolas Cruz Comment in September: ‘Professional School Shooter’"

Here are the digital media features to watch during the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics

Each edition of the Olympics offers a shining host city, compelling tales of athletic triumph, and an opportunity for news organizations to test out new storytelling technology with a meticulously scheduled global event. The 2018 Winter Olympics are no different, with Pyeongchang, South Korea partnering with its feisty neighbors to the north, the image of an Olympian redefined in the U.S. after gymnasts testified against their doctor convicted of sexual assault, and news organizations exploring all realms of media to cover the Games. Frankly, there’s a lot going on. Here are some of the Olympic digital news coverage experiments to keep an eye on during the Winter Games, running until February 25. See others? Speak up! For the latter, NBC is broadcasting much of the Games live in what it’s calling the “most live Winter Olympics ever,” including a portion on Snapchat. It will introduce the Snapchat Live
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Another One Bites the Dust: Can Independent Web Journalism Survive?

Are we seeing the end of financially independent, free-spirited  journalism on the web? The signs point to an answer that’s not encouraging. Independent publications, large and small, are struggling or shuttering. Legacy publications, too, are contracting. There are a few standout successes, and there’s still a path for the would-be journalistic entrepreneur – but that path is narrowing. Examples of the struggles abound. The Awl, beloved by a passionate core audience for what its editor called its “uncompromising” and “intelligent” take on the news, is dead. DNAInfo and Gothamist, two digital-first pillars of independent local news, were shuttered late last year after their staffs unionized because, said CEO Joe Rickets, they were not financially sustainable. Larger independents are showing strains, as well. BuzzFeed is reportedly struggling with revenues, Mashable was acquired at a “fire sale” price. Gawker, that icon of independent, snarky and profitable journalism, was, as previously noted here,
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“We get a much better reception now”: Piano says more news orgs are embracing paywalls, reader revenue, and consumer marketing

If there was ever a company ideally poised to take advantage of the digital publishing industry’s recent widespread embrace of reader revenue, it’s Piano. Piano supplies backend paywall, audience segmentation, and customer relationship management tech to over 1,300 media companies, including NBC, Bloomberg, and a large number of newspapers. Increasingly, though, it’s turned its attention to its client services operations, which is built around helping news organizations build more successful customer marketing strategies — expertise they often lack in-house. “In general, it has been our belief that visitors to websites are customers, not traffic,” said Piano CEO Trevor Kaufman. “We’ve always understood that some big changes needed to take place in the market for that idea to take hold more broadly, but we knew that the world was going to become more reliant on reader revenue and subscriptions.” As part of that effort, the company recently hired Michael Silberman Continue reading "“We get a much better reception now”: Piano says more news orgs are embracing paywalls, reader revenue, and consumer marketing"

Cold, hard numbers will drive the stories on this Internet-crawling company’s new media arm

Google Trends, but for more than just searches and not freely public. The Bloomberg Terminal, but for data trails over time. Alternative data, but for journalists. (The Wall Street kind, not the Kellyanne Conway kind.) The price of a Chipotle burrito bowl, but comparing the price differences across zip codes. Thinknum Media launched this morning under the leadership of longtime tech journalist Joshua Fruhlinger (formerly of Aol Tech, Engadget, and The Wall Street Journal) and fintech company Thinknum, which crawls the Internet to provide data on other businesses to subscribers. Fruhlinger leads the team of writers charged with taking the data and building “facts-only” stories around it, which other news organizations could aggregate from or could prompt business-minded folks to buy into Thinknum’s database to monitor in the future. “As a journalist who has been everywhere from Engadget to The Wall Street Journal to TMZ
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Who needs video? Slate is pivoting to audio, and making real money doing it

2017 proved to be an interesting year for Slate Podcasts. Most prominently, it struck a curious partnership with Studio 360 last summer, taking over coproduction and digital distribution responsibilities from WNYC (where the show had been housed since its launch in 2000) as well as physically bringing the team into its offices. The network also steadily rolled out a suite of new shows, including a Spanish-language Gabfest and a few highly-produced narrative projects. One such narrative project was Slow Burn, the Leon Neyfakh-led narrative podcast that sought to capture a sense of how it felt to live through Watergate, which I largely enjoyed and reviewed for Vulture last week. It turned out to be a hit for the company — not just as a standalone podcast project, but also as a lead-generation vessel for its membership program, Slate Plus. Even though the core Slow Burn experience is available Continue reading "Who needs video? Slate is pivoting to audio, and making real money doing it"

BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith Has No Regrets About Publishing Trump-Russia Dossier: ‘Unquestionably Real News’

A year after the infamous publishing of the “dossier” relating to President Donald Trump and his alleged involvement with Russia, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith has no regrets — despite the document containing pages of unverified salacious info. In fact, while the digital outlet was referred to as “fake news” and “a flaming pile of garbage” by the president himself for the decision, Smith called the dossier “unquestionably real news” in his New York Times op-ed defending his decision to publish it. Smith wrote the following today in the retrospective piece:
“A year of government inquiries and blockbuster journalism has made clear that the dossier is unquestionably real news. That’s a fact that has been tacitly acknowledged even by those who opposed our decision to publish. It has helped journalists explain to their audience the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election. And Mr. Trump and his allies have seized on Continue reading "BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith Has No Regrets About Publishing Trump-Russia Dossier: ‘Unquestionably Real News’"