Newsonomics: Rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values

“Alt-what?” I asked the audience of the leaders of America’s alternative press, in a talk last Friday, the day of the inauguration and the day before an estimated 100,000 people marched through downtown Portland, Oregon in protest. “Alt-what in America’s growing news deserts” was the title of my talk, and it followed up on my most recent Nieman Lab column. In that piece, I asked who — struggling dailies, emerging public radio initiatives, spirited startups, local TV stations — might seize the opportunity of the day and ramp up the kind of local news coverage that readers might support with subscription or membership. Could alt-weeklies be part of the solution? More than 100 of them still populate the landscape, from the hometown Portland’s Pulitzer-winning Willamette Week to Cincinnati’s CityBeat to Vermont’s Seven Days to the L.A. Weekly (itself just now put for sale). The alternative press was Continue reading "Newsonomics: Rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values"

Newsonomics: Trump may be the news industry’s greatest opportunity to build a sustainable model

One of the most challenging periods in American press history begins at noon Eastern today. The cries of “Lügenpresse” (defended by the outlet until recently run by new chief strategist to the president) echo almost as much as the stiff-arm salutes in the nation’s capital in late October. The Russian propaganda service Russia Today (now nicely rebranded as RT America) somehow taking over the airwaves of C-SPAN for 10 minutes is just icing on the cake. Who knows what language cable news’ crawls will be in soon? As we feel the ever-louder banging on the doors of a free press, we should also hear, weirdly, another knocking. That’s the knocking of opportunity. It’s not just the “journalistic spring” that Jack Shafer predicts as the conflicts and controversies of the Trump administration prove fertile ground for investigation. It’s the opportunity to rewrite the tattered social contract between journalists and readers, Continue reading "Newsonomics: Trump may be the news industry’s greatest opportunity to build a sustainable model"

At the BBC, the launch of in-app vertical video is a step toward connecting with new audiences

When BBC News began experimenting with vertical video in its main mobile app last year, many staffers were skeptical. But the player’s development has helped “take some new departments into the world of iterative, user-centered design,” in the words of creative director Ryan O’Connor, and results are promising. In the fall, after internally testing the vertical video in the app, BBC News unveiled a reboot of its main mobile app. Even though just a fraction of the BBC’s audience uses the app, 48 percent of BBC News’ digital video is viewed there, and about a quarter of viewers watch more than five clips weekly. The broadcaster wanted to take steps to make those videos more mobile-friendly and move beyond just repackaging TV stories. There are now two modules that play vertical video within the BBC app. “Videos of the Day” is a Snapchat-like playlist of stories that users can
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Swipe to unlock: Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 10 years ago today, changing journalism forever

Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone — and also became the first person to publicly complain about how news is presented on iPhones. As part of his introduction to the phone’s capabilities, Jobs opened Safari and pulled up the full desktop version of the Times’ website. “We’re showing you the whole New York Times website,” Jobs said. But he also noted: “It’s kind of a slow site because it’s got a lot of images.” Jobs introduced the iPhone as three devices in one: a phone, a widescreen iPod, and an “Internet communications device.” Jobs’ presentation that day focused on using Safari as the main way to access the Internet; he even rotated the phone to view the Times’ website in landscape mode. He was initially against Continue reading "Swipe to unlock: Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 10 years ago today, changing journalism forever"

7 Tips For Using Virtual Reality in the New Year

There are three ways to view the videos in this post. 1) View in Google Chrome and use your cursor to travel through the video; 2) With a VR headset, use the YouTube App, click the Google Cardboard logo on the bottom-right corner, and insert your mobile device into VR glasses; 3) Using a smartphone, open the video on the YouTube app and move around the video by sliding your finger on the touch screen and moving your body.

The above 360- by 180-degree video is a test done by students at Florida International University’s Mobile Virtual Reality Lab for a story that explores sea level rise in Miami.

The Whats And Whys Of VR

The term virtual reality and what it really means continues to be debated. Certainly, there are differences between VR, augmented reality, and simulated reality. Wikipedia does a nice job outlining this debate and the differences. At its
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Newsonomics: Seizing the Brexit-Trump moment, the Murdochs bid for Sky

No surprise, in this age of rampant private gain over public interest, that Rupert Murdoch has re-emerged. Like a boxer who can be knocked about the ring and to the mat but never knocked out, Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, now makes a new bid for a company he has long sought to control: Sky. He found himself on the brink of buying the company (called BSkyB until its 2014 rebranding), in which 21st Century Fox holds a 39 percent stake, just five years ago. Then Hackgate happened. That scandal, now a more distant thought in the Brexit-shaken U.K. mind, deprived Murdoch of his prize. Political allies fell quickly by the wayside, and those regulating fair competition found a backbone and short-circuited a deal. Now, though, Murdoch, is back — or, we should really say, the Murdochs, as James Murdoch, chair of Sky, sits in the middle of Continue reading "Newsonomics: Seizing the Brexit-Trump moment, the Murdochs bid for Sky"

When 9.4 million followers isn’t enough: NBC News will shut down the Breaking News app on Dec. 31

There’s no denying that Breaking News is a super-useful app/Twitter account/idea: Day in and day out, morning and night, its editors in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Seattle push out hard news from around the globe. Breaking News’s Twitter account has around 9.5 million followers, who in the space of a couple of hours on Thursday morning received alerts about Donald Trump’s labor secretary appointment, the updated death toll in Aleppo, and a 6.8-magnitude earthquake in California. Apparently, though, “useful” wasn’t enough of a value proposition for NBC News, which owns Breaking News. Breaking News general manager Cory Bergman announced on Twitter on Thursday that it will shut the service down as of the end of the year.