This is how The New York Times is using bots to create more one-to-one experiences with readers

So here’s one of them: This is Sam Manchester. He’s a deputy sports editor. I don’t know if anyone had the chance to see this — it was a relatively small experiment — but Sam was one of a lot of journalists who went to the Rio Olympics, and we actually asked Sam to text with people, anyone who would sign up, his personal observations from the games. You know, not breaking news, not headlines that you can get anywhere else, but to talk to people the way he might send texts to a friend, right? It’s a pretty familiar interface. And I think what’s really powerful about this is, now all of a sudden, The New York Times (or at least NYT Sam) is saying “Hey.” When is the last time The New York Times said hey to you? For a big old news organization like The
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These are the bots powering Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post efforts to build a modern digital newspaper

Editor’s note: Last weekend was the latest edition of my favorite journalism conference, the International Symposium on Online Journalism in Austin. You can catch up on what you missed through these two epic YouTube videos of the two days’ livestreams. But there were two talks in particular that I thought Nieman Lab readers might be interested in seeing, from America’s two top newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Both Andrew Phelps, an editor on the Times’ Story[X] newsroom R&D team, and Joey Marburger, the Post’s director of product, spoke about how they were using bots in their news operations. Today, we’re publishing transcripts (lightly edited for clarity) of their two talks. Below is Joey’s talk; Andrew’s is over here.

I’m a huge sci-fi nerd — love Isaac Asimov. And if you’ve ever seen this actually not super great interpretation — I, Robot, with Will Smith

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The Information’s new Briefing is a continuous update of opinionated takes on other people’s articles

When The Information launched in 2013, the whole point was that it would provide in-depth, exclusive articles — just one or two a day — over aggregated content and news summaries. “It’s for the audience who aren’t just scanning the headlines, but those who come read a publication on a deeper level,” founder and CEO Jessica Lessin told All Things D. But times change (All Things D became Re/code became Recode) and, while The Information isn’t dropping its focus on exclusive reporting, it is recognizing that even for audiences that care about more than scanning headlines, some summarization can be useful. It doesn’t hurt that briefings are kinda hot these days, especially as publishers embrace email newsletters as the thing that just miiiiight be able to break through (The New York Times’ Morning Briefing emails are now up to 1.5 million subscribers, the company announced this week, and Continue reading "The Information’s new Briefing is a continuous update of opinionated takes on other people’s articles"

Gabfest, explainer, local, The Daily: A taxonomy of news podcasts

Notes on the podcast consumer. Last week, Edison Research released its Podcast Consumer 2017 survey findings, which is a supplementary breakout study from its annual Infinite Dial report. Turns out that nothing has fundamentally changed about how we think about the podcast listener as a media consumer demographic. This is both a positive and a negative thing, depending on how you look at it and what your priorities are. Major takeaways:
  • Podcast consumers remain distinctly young, affluent, and educated.
  • Within surveyed monthly podcast consumers, 56 percent report as male and 44 percent report as female.
  • Podcast listeners tend to really love podcasts, and they tend to favor them over other forms of media.
Other details that stood out to me:

This is a news publication all about the working life — but it’s housed within a job search company

As news publishers search for sustainability, some companies with established business models are in search of publications to call their own. Anheuser-Busch has one around beer. Two popular shaving product companies each run one. Airbnb had Pineapple magazine, but published one issue in 2014. Now, 14-year-old online job search platform and service Ladders has hired a slate of journalists to bolster and burnish its editorial operations. The Ladders publication will be helmed by Heidi Moore, who was among the journalists laid off from Mashable last year when it pivoted away from certain types of news (mainly, lots of hard news). Moore, a longtime business reporter who’s worked at The Guardian U.S. and the Wall Street Journal, said that while many news organizations — and even adjacent companies like LinkedIn — publish career advice columns or workplace or labor-related journalism, she felt the work and workplace beat has so Continue reading "This is a news publication all about the working life — but it’s housed within a job search company"

In a redesign, The Huffington Post (now just HuffPost) doubles down on its “equalizing tabloid” roots

The Huffington Post has pulled no punches with its tabloid-inspired homepage splashes. “BILLY ON THE STREET,” its Bill O’Reilly story announced. “HE WENT TO JARED,” another proclaimed (Jared Kushner, that is). Here’s another, on Rep. Devin Nunes: The Huffington Post of the post-Arianna era, helmed by former New York Times editor Lydia Polgreen, is rebranding itself by the commonly used nickname HuffPost. (Not the less commonly used HuffPo.) It’s also redesigning its site to fully embrace these punny splashes across social platforms and to better accommodate the habits and desires of its readership, which Polgreen is hoping to make more loyal and engaged. (Read more about Polgreen’s editorial strategy in Ken Doctor’s accompanying interview.) The redesign process began before Polgreen came on board late last year; Arianna Huffington’s
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Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news

Good things can happen when a crowd goes to work on trying to figure out a problem in journalism. At the same time, completely crowdsourced news investigations can go bad without oversight — as when, for example, a group of Redditors falsely accused someone of being the Boston Marathon bomber. An entirely crowdsourced investigation with nobody to oversee it or pay for it will probably go nowhere. At the same time, trust in the media is at low and fact checking efforts have become entwined with partisan politics. So what would happen if you combined professional journalism with fact checking by the people? On Monday evening, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune, an independent site (not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation) “that brings journalists and a community 
of volunteers together” in a combination that Wales hopes will combat fake news online — initially in English, then in Continue reading "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news"