Congratulations to Slack, the now-public company that keeps thousands of newsrooms humming


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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Who said there’s no money in journalism? Sure, maybe the old ad model is decaying, and maybe hundreds of newspapers are on death watch — but the work-chat app Slack has been able to build a multi-billion-dollar business at least in some tiny part based on its remarkable uptake in newsrooms around the world. Slack becomes a publicly traded company today — through a DPO (direct public offering) rather than an IPO (initial public offering), a screw-the-banks, help-our-current-employees-and-backers move that fits well with the early-web vibes the company has given off since launch. (CEO Stewart Butterfield previously co-founded Flickr; after Yahoo acquired it, he left that company with one of history’s most entertaining resignation letters. For me, he and other Slack folk like Cal Henderson and Matt Haughey have always evoked a kinder, gentler version of the Internet from the late 1990s and early 2000s, and I think
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Pico wants to inject CRM smarts into news sites hungry for reader relationships


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




When some people start reporting a story, they start by googling the topic. I start by searching it in the Nieman Lab archives. Sometimes you find a plot twist. Pico came on my radar with some emails from the cofounder, Jason Bade, and the news that the Lenfest Institute was providing the startup with $50,000 to test marketing experiments for publishers. As a CRM for media companies, Pico is trying to fill the tech needs that publishers have in building relationships with reader revenue (and the readers behind it, of course). It also recently raised $4.5 million from Stripe, Axel Springer, and others. The only — until I hit publish on this [ahem, you mean “my editor” —Ed.]piece mentioning Pico on our website includes this bit, a not particularly auspicious debut:
Any startup you work with is going to have its own problems. The Austin Continue reading "Pico wants to inject CRM smarts into news sites hungry for reader relationships"

Twitter is turning off location data on tweets — a small win for privacy but a small loss for journalists and researchers


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




When Twitter wants to announce a change in how it does things, how should they announce it? With a tweet, naturally: Twitter is removing the ability of its users to geotag their tweets. A tweet may seem like a simple data construct — just 280 characters! — but there’s a sea of metadata sloshing around each bon mot. And since 2009, one of those bits of metadata was the location from which the tweet was posted. The goal? To let you “better focus in on local conversations.” Location was opt-in, meaning it was disabled by default and users had to Continue reading "Twitter is turning off location data on tweets — a small win for privacy but a small loss for journalists and researchers"

“News unfolds like a saga”: The French news site Les Jours wants to marry narrative, depth, and investigative reporting


This post is by Olivier Holmey from Nieman Lab


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Synopsis, soundtrack, episode, mood: This is the language used daily within the Parisian offices of the French news site Les Jours. But don’t let its vocabulary fool you: While the three-year-old media company borrows many of the codes of screenplays and visual fiction, it actually runs a hard-hitting investigative news site. The shared lingo is no coincidence. When the co-founders of Les Jours were secretly planning their departure from Libération — the French daily where eight of the nine of them used to work — with the intention of creating a news site devoted to deep reporting, they approached not only fellow journalists for advice, but screenwriters too. The reason was simple: Their big idea was to serialize the news, breaking stories down into nail-biting episode after nail-biting episode that would make long-form investigative journalism more accessible, and more exciting, to readers. “The founding principle is
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Meet TikTok: How The Washington Post, NBC News, and The Dallas Morning News are using the of-the-moment platform


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Tired of the trolls and infinite screaming on Twitter? Try the infinite video memes on TikTok — perhaps the most successful new social platform among American young people since Snapchat more than a half-decade ago. And as with Snapchat before it, news organizations are trying to figure out a way in — wading into the duet-laden waters of the newest Next Big Thing, where Generation Z is applying makeup Michael Jackson-style to the tune of Marina and the Diamonds’ “I Am Not a Robot,” recreating their most extreme morning routine to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” dressing up their pets of all sizes with Lizzo’s “Boys,” and more. TikTok is old enough to have guides and explainers in The New York Times, The Verge, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate, among others — read those if you want the full how-to. But for context, TikTok is
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Audiobooks are no longer exempt from the broader shifts in the podcast world


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 214, published June 18, 2019. Mary Meeker presented the 2019 edition of her Internet Trends report at the Code Conference last week, and podcasting pops up for a slide, grouped together with smart speakers as part of the broader voice trend. You can find the whole deck here. I’d recommend checking out the Nieman Lab and Recode writeups. Turns out American adults spend a daily average of around six hours on digital media these days. My burnt-out eyes, I would never have known.
Speaking of Vox: Vox Media has ratified its first collective bargaining agreement with the Writer’s Guild of America, East. You can view the (rather impressive!) terms here. I imagine this development has some ramifications for the process at Gimlet Media (brought to you by Spotify), which is also organizing through WGA East.
Audiobooks are
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Why do some people avoid news? Because they don’t trust us — or because they don’t think we add value to their lives?


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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The modern digitally connected human (Homo smartphonicus, identifiable by its trademark slumped shoulders and bleary eyes) has access to more news and information than any other human in history, whenever they want it, most of it free, all of it in their pocket. But it’s not only news that they have more access to — it’s everything, from Clash of Clans to Keanu memes to old friends’ photos to Ariana Grande songs to TikTok. Those things, if administered correctly, serve as entertainment and tend to make their consumers happy. News, you may have noticed, isn’t that great at generating happiness these days. So lots of people are happy to stick to Keanu and avoid Trump/Iran/Putin/climate change/mass shootings/Brexit/racism entirely.

News outlets will need public support to battle governments set on chilling investigative journalism


This post is by Michael J. Socolow from Nieman Lab


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Sometimes the best journalism tells us the worst news. The United States has a tradition of learning troubling news through extraordinary reporting efforts from combat zones. During the Vietnam War, award-winning journalism revealed the slaughter of Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers at My Lai. More recently, reports describing the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq embarrassed the U.S. government. Such investigative reporting ultimately helped American citizens hold accountable those charged with acting in their name. But that didn’t mean the news was welcome, or even appreciated, at the time. It’s important to recall these examples in light of the raid by the Australian Federal Police at the headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on June 5. As an American Fulbright Research Scholar studying media at the University of Canberra in Australia, I’ve watched this controversy closely. Comparing the way these two western democracies protect —
The Conversation
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As the Christchurch massacre trial begins, New Zealand news orgs vow to keep white supremacist ideology out of their coverage


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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As the trial of the man accused of the Christchurch mosque massacres began a few hours ago, New Zealand’s major media organizations had a plan. They will refuse to run coverage in which the accused and his supporters champion white supremacist or terrorist ideology. They won’t cover, broadcast, or print messages, “imagery, symbols, or signals (including hand signals)” made by the accused or his supporters during the trial. They also won’t cover the shooter’s manifesto, a document that made its way around the Internet following the March shooting in which 51 people were killed and which has since been banned in New Zealand. The shooter, who livestreamed the massacre on Facebook, faces 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one terrorism charge. (In a move some found surprising, he pled not guilty to all charges today, which means a lengthy trial is now set to begin in
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Populists prefer television to online news — but are sticking to Facebook as others leave


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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“Populists prefer to use television news,” and they’re also spending more time on Facebook. This week, Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism released its annual Digital News Report, a good chunk of which focuses on partisan news, fake news, and trust in the media. (We covered the highlights from the rest of the report here.) Some interesting findings: — People are worried about fake news (no surprise) and claim they are switching to “more reputable” sources. (Note: “The interpretation of ‘reputable,’ ‘less accurate,’ ‘dubious,’ and other subjective terms were left
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Investigative Network aims to bring more documentary video to local TV (but it’ll need funding first)


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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The video was explosive. It showed Sandra Bland — the black woman who died by suicide in a Texas jail cell after being pulled over by a state trooper who was later fired — interacting with the trooper. But unlike previous video, this one was shot from her own perspective, recorded on the cell phone in her hand. (The trooper had said he feared for his life, but the video showed nothing significantly life-threatening.) When investigative reporter Brian Collister showed it to Bland’s family and their attorney, it was the first time they’d seen it. The attorney was in shock after the clip ended. “Where’d you get that? I’ve never seen that,” said Cannon Lambert, who represented the Blands in their federal civil rights lawsuit. “It wasn’t on anything we had. How is that possible? Where did you get that? That’s her cell phone.” Everything was caught Continue reading "Investigative Network aims to bring more documentary video to local TV (but it’ll need funding first)"

How could deepfakes impact the 2020 U.S. elections?


This post is by Nicholas Diakopoulos and Deborah Johnson from Nieman Lab


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New technologies used to produce deepfakes are rapidly advancing and becoming more accessible, allowing users to make compelling video and audio clips of individuals doing and saying things they never did or said. Users can, for instance, synthesize an individual’s voice, swap one person’s face onto another person’s body in a video, or alter a video interviewee’s words merely by re-writing a transcript. Recorded audio-visual media is becoming more and more malleable, facilitating an ease of editing almost analogous to text. The technology offers a host of potential benefits in entertainment and education, from multi-lingual advertising campaigns to museums bringing dead artists back to life. But it can also challenge aural and visual authenticity and enable the production of disinformation by bad actors. Deepfakes have the potential to wreak havoc in contexts such as news, where audio and video are treated as a form of evidence that something
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The New York Times has a course to teach its reporters data skills, and now they’ve open-sourced it


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




“Should journalists learn to code?” is an old question that has always had only unsatisfying answers. (That was true even back before it became a useful heuristic for identifying Twitter jackasses.) Some should! Some shouldn’t! Helpful, right? One way the question gets derailed involves what, exactly, the question-asker means by “code.” It’s unlikely a city hall reporter will ever have occasion to build an iPhone app in Swift, or construct a machine learning model on deadline. But there is definitely a more basic and straightforward set of technical skills — around data analysis — that can be of use to nearly anyone in a newsroom. It ain’t coding, but it’s also not a skillset every reporter has. The New York Times wants more of its journalists to have those basic data skills, and now it’s releasing the curriculum they’ve built in-house out into the world, where it Continue reading "The New York Times has a course to teach its reporters data skills, and now they’ve open-sourced it"

Droidward and Botstein can’t do it all, but AI-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the next knowledge economy


This post is by Nicholas Diakopoulos from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Much as robots have transformed entire swaths of the manufacturing economy, artificial intelligence and automation are now changing information work, letting humans offload cognitive labor to computers. In journalism, for instance, data mining systems alert reporters to potential news stories, while newsbots offer new ways for audiences to explore information. Automated writing systems generate financial, sports and elections coverage. A common question as these intelligent technologies infiltrate various industries is how work and labor will be affected. In this case, who — or what — will do journalism in this AI-enhanced and automated world, and how will they do it? The evidence I’ve assembled in my new book Automating the New: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media suggests that the future of AI-enabled journalism will still have plenty of people around. However, the jobs, roles, and tasks of those people will evolve and look a bit different. Human work
The Conversation
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Even people who like paying for news usually only pay for one subscription


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Publishers worldwide are installing paywalls, but many — even most — won’t succeed. Private WhatsApp groups are becoming the default for sharing and discussing news in non-Western countries. Trust in the media is down worldwide. And more people say they avoid the news now than did in 2016, with a particularly large increase in news avoidance in the UK. These are some of the findings from a big new report out Tuesday evening from Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report for 2019 surveyed more than 75,000 people in 38 countries about their digital news consumption. (Included in the report for the first time this year: South Africa.) The research is based on YouGov surveys conducted earlier this year, followed by in-person interviews with young people in the U.S. and UK. The report includes a number of findings on fake news, misinformation,
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The scariest chart in Mary Meeker’s slide deck for newspapers has gotten even a wee bit scarier


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




It’s an annual moment of print realism here at Nieman Lab: the posting of the attention/advertising slide from Mary Meeker’s state-of-the-Internet slide deck. It’s enough of a tradition that I can now copy-and-paste from multiple versions of this post. Here’s a sentence from the 2013 version:
For those who don’t know it, Meeker — formerly of Morgan Stanley, at VC firm Kleiner Perkins since late 2010 — each year produces a curated set of data reflecting what she sees as the major trends in Internet usage and growth. It may be the only slide deck that qualifies as an event unto itself.
And a chunk from the 2014 version:
What’s useful about Meeker’s deck is that its core data serves as a punctuation mark on some big, ongoing trends. The kind of trends we all know are happening, but whose annual rate of progress can be hard to
Continue reading "The scariest chart in Mary Meeker’s slide deck for newspapers has gotten even a wee bit scarier"

Can Quake Media shake up the paid-podcast marketplace? (Or maybe SiriusXM?)


This post is by Nicholas Quah from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 213, published June 11, 2019. Walls, walls, walls. It’s been a little over month since Luminary, the aspiring “Netflix for podcasts,” stumbled out into daylight, and it’ll be a little while longer before we can figure out if the deep-pocketed upstart will actually tell us anything about the viability of a subscription-based business model for podcast-style programming. (It’s also worth noting that Luminary may well end up telling us not much at all outside of its own story.) That said, whatever Luminary becomes, it won’t serve as a “pure” test of the subscription model, given the relatively late-stage revelation that it was going to also distribute the rest of the open podcast ecosystem. The choice essentially rendered the whole thing into a sparklier version of something we’ve seen before — a luxuriously resourced Stitcher Premium. Plus, Luminary Continue reading "Can Quake Media shake up the paid-podcast marketplace? (Or maybe SiriusXM?)"

Mandy Jenkins will build McClatchy’s Google-funded new local sites. What’s her plan?


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The seesaw between platforms and news outlets is culminating in a local news experiment between Google and McClatchy, in which Google has pledged to fund the development of three local news sites over the next three years. It’s the first time the Google News Initiative is actually putting money into building newsrooms that produce journalism, rather than just granting money for one-off projects. This partnership was announced as part of Google’s Local News Experiment back in March (more projects have not yet emerged) and is now gaining steam with its new general manager, Mandy Jenkins. An alumna of Storyful, Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome, several established and startup local newsrooms, and now the JSK Fellowship at Stanford, Jenkins is now in charge of building these three local news sites — maybe in existing McClatchy markets, maybe not — and devising sustainable business models for them. (To be Continue reading "Mandy Jenkins will build McClatchy’s Google-funded new local sites. What’s her plan?"

That “$4.7 billion” number for how much money Google makes off the news industry? It’s imaginary


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Journalists are typically happy to bemoan the role that Google has played in reducing their profession to revenue smithereens. (Get a couple beers in one and try it out!) But if there’s one thing they’re even more happy to do, it’s to complain about sloppy work. That’s what much of Media Twitter has been doing today after a not-particularly-searching New York Times story last night headlined: Google Made $4.7 Billion From the News Industry in 2018, Study Says. The Study doing the Saying is from the News Media Alliance, the newspaper industry trade group formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America. Here’s a bit from NMA’s press release:
The News Media Alliance today published findings from a new study that analyzes how Google uses and benefits from news. Among the major findings of the study is that news is a key source on which Google Continue reading "That “$4.7 billion” number for how much money Google makes off the news industry? It’s imaginary"

Micropayments-for-news pioneer Blendle is pivoting from micropayments


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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People keep wishing for micropayments. (“Just the one article, please! I’ll pay for it!”) But micropayments keep not panning out. And just as the world says a not-particularly-teary goodbye to iTunes, the most talked-about candidate for an “iTunes for news” is undergoing a major life change of its own. One of the more promising micropayment startups has been Blendle, the Dutch startup with millions of dollars in investments from The New York Times, Nikkei, and Axel Springer. Even last year, two more investors put $4 million into the company. But Blendle has yet to turn a profit and is now pivoting away from micropayments to premium subscriptions, cofounder Alexander Klöpping told a Dutch newspaper last week. (H/T to Dutchnews.nl, which had the news in English.) “I can lead a team of 50 people and we have 60,000 subscribers in the Netherlands and hundreds of thousands of Continue reading "Micropayments-for-news pioneer Blendle is pivoting from micropayments"