Newsonomics: The Denver Post’s protest should launch a new era of “calling B.S.”

What are we to make of The Denver Post’s “extraordinary display of defiance”? As the paper’s editorial board, led by Chuck Plunkett, fired a fusillade of public protest on Sunday — publishing six pages decrying the paper’s owner, to the social congratulations of the news world — we may have reached a new point in local American journalism’s descent into oblivion. Despite almost a decade of newsroom cuts, which have left no more 25,000 journalists in the more than 1,300 dailies across the country, journalists have been remarkably accepting of their buyouts and layoffs. We haven’t seen the kinds of mass strikes or work actions that have happened from time to time in Europe. We’ve seen instead an acquiescence to what’s been seen as the inevitable toll of digital disruption. Sadness, rather than spirited action, has marked the trade. That’s understandable, in part: No one wants to risk the lifeline Continue reading "Newsonomics: The Denver Post’s protest should launch a new era of “calling B.S.”"

This is the next major traffic driver for publishers: Chrome’s mobile article recommendations, up 2,100 percent in one year

If you use Chrome on your phone or tablet, you’re probably familiar with the article suggestions that you see when you open a new tab in your browser. However, if you’re a publishing executive, you may not be thinking of them as a meaningful traffic source. Well, we have news for you: Research by Chartbeat’s data science team reveals that Google Chrome’s Articles for You (also known as “Chrome Content Suggestions” or “Chrome Suggestions”) is one of the fastest growing sources of publisher traffic on the internet. What does this mean for publishers? Google Chrome’s Articles for You is an under-publicized feature of Chrome on both Android and iOS that is now the fourth most prominent referrer in the Chartbeat network (behind Google Search, Facebook, and Twitter). Even though Chartbeat is currently only tracking Articles for You referrals from Android and not from iOS, its Android referrals alone are now Continue reading "This is the next major traffic driver for publishers: Chrome’s mobile article recommendations, up 2,100 percent in one year"

What The Guardian’s Mobile Innovation Lab has learned after two years of experimenting with better news delivery on phones

Two years, two dozen experiments, one Brexit and one U.S. presidential election, and hundreds of thousands of readers later, the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab has wrapped up its work on improving news delivery on smartphones. It’s examined better formats for push notifications, a web player for podcasts, offline news reading experiences, live polling, and article formats that automatically adjust to readers’ past reading behaviors. It’s worked in public, from setting up the initial questions and problems to gathering user feedback on each project. It’s also deliberately centered its work around off-platform experiences publishers can more easily own — no “how to make good AMP stories” here (platform representatives were invited, but none apparently showed). The Mobile Lab team and speakers from other news organizations, including some it’s partnered with over the past two years to run experiments, put together some practical insights around newsroom experimentation and innovation in a culminating
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What do Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh have in common? They’re both flagged by Chinese censors

Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh; the letter “n,” and Pu Yi, too. A hodgepodge of text and images have been deleted by Chinese censors as thousands of delegates gather in Beijing for the National People’s Congress this month to officially vote to abolish the two-term limit for Chinese presidents, paving the way for Xi Jinping to remain in power beyond 2023, and potentially for life. The reasoning behind censoring posts ranges from obvious to absurd to convoluted. Pooh memes, because the cartoon bear’s figure, when viewed alongside the trimmer Tigger, resembles a photograph taken of Chinese president Xi Jinping and Barack Obama in California in 2013 (judge for yourself here). Images of Pu Yi, China’s last emperor, with a caption referencing the return of Continue reading "What do Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh have in common? They’re both flagged by Chinese censors"

Quartz launches a Facebook Messenger bot (because why not, because experimentation, because people like messaging)

I feel like I’m back in 2016, because Quartz on Thursday announced the launch of its Facebook Messenger chat bot, which delivers news stories and introduces users to select Quartz Obsessions, but will also include a more participatory element (mindfulness challenges, for instance). The bot will learn and “will shape the experience to you and your habits,” Quartz says in its announcement of the new bot experience. (Quartz emphasizes that this is not a replica of its main, chat-focused news app, which has been fiddling with augmented reality capabilities and which Quartz claims has been seen “over one million downloads.”) After tapping through a series of funny introductory chat options, the bot begins to offer a lot of options to explore, from art exhibits to news (at least for me this morning, the news experience on Messenger and on the news app are exactly the same, with Continue reading "Quartz launches a Facebook Messenger bot (because why not, because experimentation, because people like messaging)"

What The Guardian has learned trying to build a more intelligent story format — one that knows what you know

Over the past several months, the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab has introduced a new format that we have been working on: the Smarticle. We’ve now run three Smarticle experiments, and learned a lot about how readers like the format and what topics work well in it. Most significantly, we learned that there’s an appetite for this story format: Through a combination of written feedback from users and analytics, we learned that people enjoyed consuming news in this way, and they were comfortable only receiving elements of the story that were new to them. First, a quick description for those unfamiliar with the project: the Smarticle is a story format designed for mobile that aims to meet readers where they are in their knowledge of a developing story by only presenting them with the elements that are most useful to them. It works like this:

The Guardian’s new podcast player for the web tries to make listening a little more interactive (but not interruptive)

Sometimes, the podcast isn’t enough. Or to put it differently, it’s so good you want to find out even more. While binging on the S-Town podcast last year, the first thing I did after one episode was search the Internet for more about the central character John McLemore, in hopes of finding a picture of the hedge maze via the GPS coordinates McLemore started giving out. (If you haven’t listened to S-Town and plan to, don’t do this.) So did the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab team — an impulse that they guessed many podcast listeners shared. The Lab’s latest mobile experiment is an attempt to address some of the small inconveniences and limitations of the podcast listening experience as it stands today. It’s a podcast player designed for the mobile web, which is being tested first with a new Guardian podcast called Strange Bird, hosted by data editor
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