Two-thirds of Americans have heard of bots, but many fewer think they can recognize them on social media

Bots don’t actually write Olive Garden commercials, folks — at least not yet. But they can get trapped in an infinite loop of screaming and self-care. These two Twitter-famous bot moments, just a week apart earlier this year, show how gullible humans can be about what bots are and how they’re used. (But they did show some pretty strong feelings about Olive Garden.) Two-thirds of Americans have heard of social media bots. (Good!) Eighty percent of
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“The smart phone screen is the only screen in some communities”: Local news’ digital adaptation

The Coastal Courier is a weekly community newspaper in Georgia with an office on Main Street — and a VR channel. “Are they adequately meeting the information needs with their technology?” Jesse Holcomb wondered. “Are they carving out a space on social platforms or avoiding them altogether?” Holcomb, a Calvin College professor and former Pew researcher, highlighted the Coastal Courier’s digital adaptation — not necessarily innovation — at an event at Columbia Journalism’s Tow Center Wednesday evening. He conducted research to answer those very questions more broadly in the journalism industry, finding that one in ten local news outlets don’t even have their own website, among other tidbits we summarized here. New in this talk: Holcomb shared the starting-a-local-news-outlet to-do list of Brian Boyer, head of product at digital local news chain Spirited Media: A website, a subscriber box, and an email newsletter. Then, “start publishing
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Here are the local news organizations boosted in Facebook’s membership accelerator

After leading a cohort of metropolitan newspapers through a subscriptions accelerator this year, Facebook is now kicking off its next round, focused this time on membership in nonprofit and digital-only local news organizations. The membership accelerator, now one of three different threads in Facebook’s olive-branch programming for local news, started with an in-person gathering in Austin late last month and continues for three months. Facebook extended the subscriptions accelerator, piloted with 14 newsrooms beginning in February, throughout the rest of 2018 and is transitioning it to a retention focus in 2019. The programming is led by former Texas Tribune publisher/New York Times digital strategy exectuive/now independent media consultant Tim Griggs (he spoke with us about the training earlier this year) and a group of industry coaches and experts including the Christian Science Monitor’s David Grant and Mother Jones’ Brian Hiatt. Participants receive grant funding, attend regular webinars, and Continue reading "Here are the local news organizations boosted in Facebook’s membership accelerator"

The Trust Project adds another batch of sites to its effort to increase news transparency

The Trust Project, which launched last November as an effort to provide more clarity around who’s behind news by labeling articles with “nutrition label” indicators like author expertise and type of story, announced Tuesday that it’s added a bunch of new publisher partners. (You’d be forgiven for forgetting exactly which one The Trust Project is. Here’s our guide to a whole lot of similarly named initiatives.)
The additional news partners more than double the number of existing news organizations implementing the Trust Indicators. In the United States and Canada, the Trust Indicators can now be seen on sites hosted by the Bay Area News Group, CBC News, Heavy.com, The Toronto Star, TEGNA, Voice of Orange County, The Walrus and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism; and in Europe, on those of Corriere della Sera (Italy), El País (Spain), Il Sole 24 Ore. (Italy), Kathimerini (Greece), Orb Media (International),
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Here’s a simple way to figure out which of your readers are most likely to subscribe

It’s not just as easy as launching a paywall (not that putting up a paywall is always particularly easy either): Transitioning your news organization from an advertising model to one that relies on reader revenue is tricky for a lot of reasons. That’s from a new API report by Damon Kiesow, who’s held positions at McClatchy and The Boston Globe and is currently Knight Chair in digital editing and producing at the Missouri School of Journalism. Among the recommendations in the report: — Think about ditching some of the ads. If your focus is now reader loyalty, rather than high pageviews that drive high advertising rates, you may need to get rid of some of your most annoying advertising — the popups, autoplay audio and video, and redirects that felt more like necessary evils when you were primarily courting advertisers. — Work toward “having a ‘single view’ of
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Just because clickthrough rates are low doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about them


Are you more likely to click here? ………………………………………………………………………………….over here? At the top of this article or down below, at the bottom? We don’t want your finger to cramp so here’s the gist: News site visitors are more likely to make those recirculating taps when stories are grouped in a simply titled Related Stories module rather than a more tongue-twisting section (though we’re still partial to What We’re Reading), when at the bottom of the article (yay for reading finishers, or at least scroll-happy visitors), and when accompanied by images. The Center for Media Engagement, which recently tested subscription appeals and trust indicators, ran some experiments with the seven local broadcast newsrooms that comprise Graham Media Group. The newsrooms — in Houston, Detroit, Roanoke, San Antonio, Orlando, and two in Jacksonville — participated in A/B testing over one week in March. The researchers studied the first recorded time Continue reading "Just because clickthrough rates are low doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about them"

Americans feel they can best distinguish news from opinion in local TV news; worst, online news sites and social media

Only 43 percent of Americans find it easy to distinguish opinion from news on digital news sites or social media, according to a survey from the American Press Institute. But the job gets easier when they’re consuming media from publications they’re most familiar with. Earlier this year, API asked Americans about their relationship with the news media, polling both the public about journalists and journalists about the public. (A separate study from Pew Research earlier this month found that 57 percent of American social media users expect the news on social media to be inaccurate.) Building off that work, API pulled out these stats about sorting opinion and news on different platforms: