Goodbye, Facebook traffic. Welcome back, SEO, we missed you?

“We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals any more. That is the old world and there is no going back.” That, allegedly, was Campbell Brown, Facebook’s global head of news partnerships, last week. The comments align with what she said in part at a Recode conference in February: “My job is not to make publishers happy.” As news publishers’ Facebook referral traffic continues to fall, what are they supposed to do? Well, they could always try search engine optimization, which saw a mini-renaissance in coverage this past week. “Prior to Facebook, the best way to reliably obtain traffic was through search-engine optimization, formatting web content so that it would rank highly within search engines,” Brian Feldman wrote for New York Magazine’s Select All this week.
Socially optimized content was about getting a rise out of people, tapping into some part Continue reading "Goodbye, Facebook traffic. Welcome back, SEO, we missed you?"

Jack Dorsey says Twitter is experimenting with features to promote “alternative viewpoints” in people’s timelines

All unhappy social media networks are unhappy in their own ways. Twitter has capped off a weird week of equivocating over the presence of Alex Jones and InfoWars on its platform as other platforms like Facebook and YouTube finally decided to boot Infowars content. (Jones is currently facing a seven-day mini-ban, putting his account in “read-only mode.” He can still read tweets and send DMs, but he can’t tweet himself, like, or RT anything.) Now, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the platform will be experimenting with “features that would promote alternative viewpoints in Twitter’s timeline to address misinformation,” according to an interview Dorsey gave to the Washington Post. Twitter would also consider adding “context” around false tweets, a practice YouTube is also testing through partnerships with Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica. From the Post:
Dorsey said Twitter hasn’t changed its incentives, which were originally designed to nudge people to
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Major internet companies might want to push their own point of view, but can they also take care of misinformation please and thank you

So we all heard Facebook’s view on the role that major companies play in deciding who gets what news. (Really, no need to say it twice.) But what does your average Mark or Campbell think? According to a new survey by the Knight Foundation and Gallup, American adults feel negatively about major Internet companies tailoring information to them individually, acting as content arbitrators that enhances bias, and not being transparent about their methods. (Note: Knight has provided support to Nieman Lab in the past.) Those major internet companies in this context are Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter (surprise). Of the 1,203 U.S. adults interviewed earlier this summer, most got their news from Google (53 percent daily/a few times a week) or Facebook (51 percent), with only 23 percent coming from Yahoo and 19 percent from Twitter. The survey’s authors kindly broke out the percentages we’ll highlight
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Read Nieman Lab stories in other languages — and help us translate them into more!

Did you know you can read many Nieman Lab stories in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish? Over the past couple of years, through the help of many partners, from the likes of IJNet to Yomiuri Shimbun to Outriders to Tencent, we’ve been trying to expand the number of people who can more easily access our reporting on the future of news. You can browse what’s available now over at our brand new translations page here (and let us know if you spot typos, have suggestions, want to help us translate Nieman Lab stories or know someone who can help, or otherwise want to know more). We want to hear from you, whether you’re an individual with translation experience, an established news outlet, a growing media startup, a tech platform with a media portal, or something in between.
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Submissive audiences? “Less special” news outlets? And other inspiring thoughts from WordPress’s publisher summit

Do you really want your audiences to submit to you? That and other questions came up during this year’s WordPress Camp for Publishers, running Wednesday through Friday in Chicago. Brian Boyer of Spirited Media “forever ruined” Submit boxes for some attendees, but Austin Smith (CEO of Alley and the Lenfest Institute‘s recent entrepreneur-in-residence) also presented his report on the narrow path for local news. (Link to come once it’s published!) Here’s more of the conversation, and or check out videos of the talks here:

Whoops, the paywall just reset: Here are some of the nasty bumps your paid-content setup can hit

The growing troubles of (non-Facebook, non-Google) digital advertising have left many publishers eager to move to a reader-driven, digital-focused revenue model. And it can be done: The New York Times announced in its earnings report Thursday that subscriptions now account for nearly two-thirds of its revenue, and that of its 3.8 million subscriptions, 2.9 million are digital. But there are a lot of kinks to work out along the way. In a new AP Insights report, Ryan Nakashima and Anne Cai outline some of the concrete ways that publishers are making the transition — and some of the oh-shit moments they’ve faced in doing so. Here are a few: — Whoops, the paywall just reset. Digital First’s Bay Area News Group, which added a paywall to The Mercury News and East Bay Times last year, swapped out the art on its regular paywall prompt — from “plain vanilla, Continue reading "Whoops, the paywall just reset: Here are some of the nasty bumps your paid-content setup can hit"

Google, working with news orgs like ProPublica, will return more datasets in search results

In a study last year, Google News Lab found that 51 percent of news organizations in the U.S. and Europe (and 60 percent of digital-only news orgs) have at least one dedicated data journalist on staff. That means, of course, that plenty of newsrooms don’t have a data journalist around. But even for those that do, “Data journalism takes many forms, and it’s not always clear from the headline that there is potentially useful data within that document or story,” Simon Rogers, Google News Lab’s data editor, wrote this week. “The way that data is presented can vary as well, and though data tables are often the most useful format for data journalists, it isn’t always easy for Google Search to detect and understand tables of data to surface the most relevant results.” Google, in partnership with ProPublica, announced that it will be including more data in Continue reading "Google, working with news orgs like ProPublica, will return more datasets in search results"