Monday, December 29, 2014

Welcome to the future of advertising, where the word digital is redundant

the guardian reporting:
We obsess over the digital world in advertising and yet it means nothing. What if we stopped thinking of channels because everything was digital? What if we stopped caring about the pipe, but thought about the context and message?
Is there a more profound word in marketing than digital? We’ve digital agencies with their digital strategists and digital creatives. We’ve the triumphant rise of digital media owners and digital first companies like Uber, Airbnb and Facebook blazing a trail into the future. We’ve endless conferences on digital advertising where we ruminate continuously on when digital media spend will overtake TV. This month R/GA won Campaign’s Digital Innovation Agency award … with some wonderful TV ads?
For a word that seems so important, prevalent and transformative, it’s a bit odd that it doesn’t actually mean anything. While we can of course define it, for it to have actual real-life meaning, there would need to be non-digital agencies or non-digital strategists. We’d need to be able to explain why Uber was a digital company, but why British Airways or American Express wasn’t.

We’ve not really digested the power of digital...

http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2014/dec/18/future-advertising-digital-media-technology?CMP=new_1194

Complicating the network: The year in social media research

NiemanLab reporting:
“The battle for ‘Trayvon Martin': Mapping a media controversy online and off-line”: From the MIT Center for Civic Media, published in First Monday. By Erhardt Graeff, Matt Stempeck, and Ethan Zuckerman.
“The Ethics of Web Analytics: Implications of using audience metrics in news construction”: From Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Missouri School of Journalism, published in Digital Journalism. By Edson C. Tandoc Jr. and Ryan J. Thomas.
“Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption”: From Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford and Microsoft Research. By Seth Flaxman, Sharad Goel, and Justin M. Rao......
http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/12/complicating-the-network-the-year-in-social-media-research/  

Friday, December 26, 2014

The worst journalism of 2014

CJR reporting:

This year has been one of many triumphs for journalists, who’ve told the stories of political struggle at home and violent struggle abroad, a public health crisis and airline tragedies that drew the eyes of the world, and self-examinations of American racial, domestic, and sexual norms. There have also been plenty of screw-ups, and CJR has kept track of them so you don’t have to. The additional DARTS awarded below aren’t necessarily the most impactful bloopers of the year, though several of them are among the most cringeworthy. Here’s one last salute to the year’s worst of the worst before their final burial at digital sea.
A complete unknown, like Rolling Stone
The disintegration of the magazine’s visceral campus rape story from Nov. 19 wins this year’s media-fail sweepstakes. University of Virginia student “Jackie”’s gang rape tale was heralded as the type of story only Rolling Stone was capable of telling, one that could change the national conversation around contemporary sexual culture. But within two weeks, it began to fall apart.
Reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely didn’t contact the alleged perpetrators of Jackie’s rape, not to mention three of her friends portrayed as unsympathetic to it. It turns out, as reported in a sterling clean-up job by The Washington Post, that Jackie’s account in the story doesn’t match her friends’ recollections of the incident. ...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Digital Publishing: To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

Editor&Publisher reporting:
...
But to all the editors and reporters reading this column, I’m only going to say this once—it’s not cool, and actually detrimental to your job, to ignore Twitter.
According to a now-famous innovation report from the New York Times, the
company has struggled getting all of its journalists to board this “new
media” train and embrace digital change. It specifically mentioned the
importance of Twitter to the digital future of the Times no less than 18
times. Buzzfeed had a little fun with the Times’ staff, taking readers on a
tour of some of the abandoned accounts its staffers launched that have since been abandoned, a “graveyard of egg profiles.”

Nowhere is this disconnect more apparent than in the newsroom’s leader, executive editor Dean Baquet, who joined Twitter back in September 2011, has more than 11,000 followers, yet has only composed a grand total of two tweets.
While most professional journalists see the obvious benefits of Twitter, high-profile holdouts like Baquet have their defenders. After all, Twitter can be an obvious distraction to reporters on deadline, and with so many social networks out there (have you gotten an invite yet from Ello?), is 8-year-old Twitter even that sexy anymore? As Matt McFarland over at the Washington Post noted, Buzzfeed actually gets more traffic from Pinterest than Twitter, and no one is complaining about Baquet’s lack of pinned recipes.
So should it really be a requirement, in today’s digital environment, for reporters and editors to be on Twitter? Yes, according to Steve Buttry, formerly the digital transformation editor for Digital First Media, now Lamar Visiting Scholar at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, Buttry called out Baquet in a blog post, making the case that journalists that choose not to be active on Twitter “choose to remain or fall behind.”
But to all the editors and reporters reading this column, I’m only going to say this once—it’s not cool, and actually detrimental to your job, to ignore Twitter. According to a now-famous innovation report from the New York Times, the company has struggled getting all of its journalists to board this “new media” train and embrace digital change. It specifically mentioned the importance of Twitter to the digital future of the Times no less than 18 times. Buzzfeed had a little fun with the Times’ staff, taking readers on a tour of some of the abandoned accounts its staffers launched that have since been abandoned, a “graveyard of egg profiles.” Nowhere is this disconnect more apparent than in the newsroom’s leader, executive editor Dean Baquet, who joined Twitter back in September 2011, has more than 11,000 followers, yet has only composed a grand total of two tweets. While most professional journalists see the obvious benefits of Twitter, high-profile holdouts like Baquet have their defenders. After all, Twitter can be an obvious distraction to reporters on deadline, and with so many social networks out there (have you gotten an invite yet from Ello?), is 8-year-old Twitter even that sexy anymore? As Matt McFarland over at the Washington Post noted, Buzzfeed actually gets more traffic from Pinterest than Twitter, and no one is complaining about Baquet’s lack of pinned recipes. - See more at: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/TopStories/Columns/Digital-Publishing--To-Tweet-or-Not-to-Tweet-#sthash.K5MqyV7e.dpuf
But to all the editors and reporters reading this column, I’m only going to say this once—it’s not cool, and actually detrimental to your job, to ignore Twitter. According to a now-famous innovation report from the New York Times, the company has struggled getting all of its journalists to board this “new media” train and embrace digital change. It specifically mentioned the importance of Twitter to the digital future of the Times no less than 18 times. Buzzfeed had a little fun with the Times’ staff, taking readers on a tour of some of the abandoned accounts its staffers launched that have since been abandoned, a “graveyard of egg profiles.” Nowhere is this disconnect more apparent than in the newsroom’s leader, executive editor Dean Baquet, who joined Twitter back in September 2011, has more than 11,000 followers, yet has only composed a grand total of two tweets. While most professional journalists see the obvious benefits of Twitter, high-profile holdouts like Baquet have their defenders. After all, Twitter can be an obvious distraction to reporters on deadline, and with so many social networks out there (have you gotten an invite yet from Ello?), is 8-year-old Twitter even that sexy anymore? As Matt McFarland over at the Washington Post noted, Buzzfeed actually gets more traffic from Pinterest than Twitter, and no one is complaining about Baquet’s lack of pinned recipes. - See more at: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/TopStories/Columns/Digital-Publishing--To-Tweet-or-Not-to-Tweet-#sthash.K5MqyV7e.dpuf

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/TopStories/Columns/Digital-Publishing--To-Tweet-or-Not-to-Tweet-

Ken Doctor: “Rosewater,” cascading censorship, and press freedom

Ken Doctor reporting:
As the year ends, take a moment to look past business models and apps and think about how you can help the challenged cause of press freedom worldwide....
http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/12/ken-doctor-rosewater-cascading-censorship-and-press-freedom/

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Focus on Digital Starts to Pay Off For U.K. Newspaper Brands

AdAge reporting:
Legacy publishers who focus on digital have been offered a glimmer of hope as Rupert Murdoch's The Times and The Sunday Times recently announced a profit for the first time in 13 years.
In the year to June 2014, the two newspapers made $2.7 million profit between them, up from last year's $9.2 million loss. Print circulation went up 4% for the Sunday title, and 1% for the daily version.
No one is claiming that print readership will return to its old levels, but some observers believe that, just as digital starts to pay off, the downward trajectory for print is starting to flatten out. Ed Williams, CEO of Edelman U.K., said at a presentation on 2015 trends, "For traditional media, their toes are just about touching the bottom of what has been two decades of decline. But that doesn't go for everyone: it's all about quality, and it's all about the high end."
The Times newspapers went behind a paywall in 2011, with owner Mr. Murdoch determined to demonstrate that consumers would pay for quality digital content. Since then, the titles have invested in sports rights to drive online traffic, but they have also made significant job cuts.
The Times titles don't need a huge staff to update stories constantly, because online they are more like a digital version of the print product than a rolling news service. Rather than chasing huge audiences, The Times is trying to develop lasting relationships with a smaller number of valuable readers by offering a range of member benefits....http://adage.com/article/global-news/focus-digital-starts-pay-u-k-newspaper-brands/296179/?utm_source=API%27s+Need+to+Know+newsletter&utm_campaign=d520b51cfb-Need_to_Know_December_17_201412_17_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e3bf78af04-d520b51cfb-31701933

6 online tools for investigative journalism

journalism.co.uk reporting:

6 online tools for investigative journalism
'Civic technologist' Friedrich Lindenberg shares a range of tools journalists can use in investigative journalism projects
Investigative journalism has long been the marker by which news organisations – and journalists – measure their worth.

"As a journalist your main tool is talking to people and asking the right questions of the right people," said civic technologist and self-described "OpenGov and data journalism geek" Friedrich Lindenberg in a webinar on investigative journalism tools for the International Centre for Journalists last week.

"This is still true, but also you can ask the right questions with the right databases. You can ask the right questions with the right tools."

Lindenberg listed an arsenal of tools the investigative journalist can equip themselves with. Here are some of the highlights.

DocumentCloud

Lindenberg described DocumentCloud as a "shared folder of documents", offering different folders that can be used for various investigations, control over who can access which documents, the ability to annotate different parts of documents, search throughout and embed segments or entire documents.

Even better, DocumentCloud looks for "entities" – such as people, companies, countries, institutions – identifies them and makes them searchable, which is especially useful for legal documents that may stretch into hundreds of pages when you are only interested in a few key points...
Overview

A "bit more of an expert tool", according to Lindenberg, Overview lets the user import documents from DocumentCloud or CSV files and then counts the frequency of words to make a "hierarchy of terms" for words.

When used this way, Overview can give a quick rundown of large numbers of documents, making it easier to understand the core topics.

OpenCorporates...
https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/6-online-tools-for-investigative-journalism/s2/a563510/?utm_source=API%27s%20Need%20to%20Know%20newsletter&utm_campaign=d520b51cfb-Need_to_Know_December_17_201412_17_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e3bf78af04-d520b51cfb-31701933

Friday, December 12, 2014

How newspapers lost the Millennials

Newsosaur reporting:
The inability of newspapers to resonate with digital natives has left them with a daunting demographic challenge. Two-thirds of the audience at the typical newspaper is composed of people over the age of 55, according to Greg Harmon of Borrell Associates. “The newspaper audience ages another year every year,” he adds. “Everyone’s hair ought to be on fire.” 

As the newspaper audience grays, the readers that newspapers – and most of their advertisers – would like to have are, instead, busily racking up page views at places like BuzzFeed, Circa, Mic, Upworthy, Vice, Vocative and Vox. 

To delve into the demographic disparity, I pulled the audience data on Mic.Com, which comScore calls the favorite news destination for individuals from the ages of 18 to 34. Although many publishers and editors never may have heard of Mic, comScore says it is visited by a thumping 60% of Millenials. 
,,,In a recent study, researchers at the University of Missouri reported that only 29% of newspaper publishers conducted focus groups prior to putting paywalls around the digital products that most profess to be the future of their franchises.  

Instead of talking with their intended consumers, fully 85% of respondents to the survey said they asked other publishers what they thought about erecting barriers around the content that they had been freely providing for the better part of two decades.  

While paywalls boosted revenues at most newspapers because they were accompanied by stiff increases in print subscription rates, the tactic gave the growing population of digital natives – and non-readers of every other age – the best reason yet for not engaging with newspapers. 

Of course, newspapers were losing Millenials well before they started feverishly erecting paywalls in the last few years. But what if publishers and editors had begun studying the needs and attitudes of the emerging generation from the early days of the Millenium? Could the outcomes have been more positive?  

Changes in social media usage

ofcom reporting:
Not all aspects of the internet are retaining their appeal for the UK. The proportion of online adults in this country accessing social networks each week fell from 65% in September 2013 to 56% in October 2014. This was the steepest fall of any of the countries surveyed.
One factor behind the decline may be the rise of other social media which do not involve networks of connections, such as online video sites and instant messaging.
Social network use also fell in the USA, Japan and China. However, it is still increasing in some other countries - including Italy, which is now the leading country for social networking, with three quarters of Italians using such sites at least once a week.

Weekly access to social networks

icmr14-1
Despite their decline in the UK, social networks remain the most popular internet activity for smartphone users. Among all those who access the internet on their phone in the UK, 64% use social networks, ahead of the next most popular activity of reading online news (44%).

http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2014/icmr-2014/

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pew report looks at collaborations by news organizations

Poynter reporting:
A new report from Pew Research Center, "Journalism Partnerships, A New Era of Interest," provides short case studies of five efforts by local news organizations to collaborate with other news organizations.
As traditional news organizations tighten their belts and emerging news start ups embrace lean operations, pooling resources is becoming more appealing even among former competitors.

The report looks at cases where news organizations joined forces to co-produce or share news coverage, where a small start up gained exposure by sharing stories with a larger traditional news partner, as well as two partnerships that helped local public broadcast outlets develop local news muscle.
http://www.knightdigitalmediacenter.org/news/2014/12/pew-report-looks-collaborations-news-organizations

What counts? New book shows how to improve, engage communities with local data

USC reporting:
The acceleration of the open government movement is already making a big difference in the lives of people in communities around America. A new book from the Urban Institute illuminates the potential and practice of using data to enhance communities -- especially low-income ones. It's a practical resource for local funders and others seeking creative ways to inform and engage communities.
Released Dec. 4, What Counts: Harnessing Data for America's Communities is a collection of essays by experts in community development, population health, education, finance, law and information systems. A joint project of the Urban Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, this book explains how data is being used more intensively and creatively to enhance decisions at the local, metro, state, or federal level. This can yield more effective local programs, policies and services, as well as better-targeted funding. It can also help residents understand how well their communities are performing, or measuring up.

At the book release event (see video), Urban Institute president Sarah Rosen Wartell noted that "A vast volume of data is now accessible -- but for people trying to make communities better places to live, the potential opportunities and pitfalls for using this data are large. This book is an opportunity to bring more people into the fold to advance the use of data."
http://www.knightdigitalmediacenter.org/blogs/agahran/2014/12/what-counts-new-book-shows-how-improve-engage-communities-local-data

Content is King, But Viewing Habits Vary by Demographic

Nielsen reporting:
All Americans spent a little more than 141 hours a month connecting with traditional television in third-quarter 2014. During the same period, the overall population also saw over an hour increase in time spent watching time-shifted content and a four-hour increase watching video on the Internet.
But not all consumers are watching the same way. Among the different race/ethnicities featured in the report, content consumption varies widely.
http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/content-is-king-but-viewing-habits-vary-by-demographic.html

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The New York Times R&D Lab releases Hive, an open-source crowdsourcing tool

NiemanLab reporting:
A few months ago we told you about a new tool from The New York Times that allowed readers to help identify ads inside the paper’s massive archive. Madison, as it was called, was the first iteration on a new crowdsourcing tool from The New York Times R&D Lab that would make it easier to break down specific tasks and get users to help an organization get at the data they need.
Today the R&D Lab is opening up the platform that powers the whole thing. Hive is an open-source framework that lets anyone build their own crowdsourcing project. The code responsible for Hive is now available on GitHub. With Hive, a developer can create assignments for users, define what they need to do, and keep track of their progress in helping to solve problems.
http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/12/the-new-york-times-rd-lab-releases-hive-an-open-source-crowdsourcing-tool/

The Unmanageables

Vanity Fair reporting:
When a crusading but conflict-averse billionaire bankrolls several of journalism’s most prominent mavericks to create a hard-nosed investigative news organization, it’s a recipe for turmoil. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s differences with First Look Media staff have been all over the press. Two top hires are out the door. Sarah Ellison asks whether First Look Media can make headlines that aren’t about itself.

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2015/01/first-look-media-pierre-omidyar

Can Silicon Valley disrupt journalism if journalists hate being disrupted?

theguardian reporting:
Over the weekend, an open letter by some of the outgoing writers and editors of the New Republic appeared on the Facebook page of Robert Reich, the former labor secretary turned professional pundit, following a mass resignation of staff and unpaid “contributing editors” from the magazine. The letter, which lamented that “The promise of American life has been dealt a lamentable blow” with the resignation of editor Franklin Foer and literary critic Leon Wieseltier over plans to replace the former, also railed against what the authors described as “liberalism’s central journal” being “scuttled with flagrant and frivolous abandon” – a reference to internal changes being introduced by the 100-year old title’s owner Chris Hughes, a 31-year-old co-founder of Facebook.
The irony of the New Republic’s retreating elite posting their displeasure on Facebook was heightened by Hughes publishing a defense of his plans for the magazine – plans which recently-appointed chief executive Guy Vidra described as changing the publication into a “vertically integrated digital product”, whatever that means – through that most traditional of outlets: the Washington Post. To see the changes at TNR as part of the ongoing battle between Silicon Valley and traditional journalism, Hughes wrote, “dangerously oversimplifies a debate many journalistic institutions are having today”.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/09/silicon-valley-journalism-chris-hughes-new-republic-buzzfeed

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The fight to get Google to pay for news continues in Europe

NiemanLab reporting:
— The European Union’s new commissioner for digital affairs didn’t waste any time. Days before starting the job at the end of October, G√ľnther Oettinger (his official title is commissioner for digital economy and society) announced plans to reform European copyright law in 2015. That could mean introducing a levy on search engines when they show results for European companies, he said — a contested issue that’s been pushed by large news media companies from across Europe in recent months.
Oettinger has announced few details of his plans for copyright reform. But in an interview with the German daily newspaper Handelsblatt, he made it clear that he wants to tackle Google’s profits from listing European companies in search results. “If Google takes intellectual property from the EU and works with that, then the EU can protect that property and demand Google pay for that,” he said.
Copyright laws nicknamed “Google taxes” have been passed in a few European countries over the past few years. That name is deceptive — the laws don’t call for an actual tax since any fee Google is made to pay will go to publishers, not governments — but they have left Google at the center of legal battles driven by major publishers. Spain passed a law at the end of October that charges search engines to pay a copyright collection agency for including snippets from and links to news websites. In 2013, France’s government settled news publishers’ demands for copyright reform by striking a deal with Google: For a flat rate of €60 million (invested into a fund for digital publishing), the company was allowed to continue listing news articles in search results.
http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/12/the-fight-to-get-google-to-pay-for-news-continues-in-europe/

Membership focus helps Times Newspapers make first operating profit since 2001

The MediaBriefing reporting:
News UK subsidiary Times Newspapers, which runs the Times and Sunday Times newspapers, recorded an operating profit of £1.7 million for the financial year ending June 30 2014, as the newspapers steadily grew their digital subscriber bases and shifted more of their readers into long-term membership relationships.
The operating profit is the first for the two newspapers since 2001, and follows losses of £6 million in 2013 and £70 million in 2009, before the newspapers began charging for all online content.
News UK refused to reveal pre-tax profit for the newspapers and that operating figure doesn't mean the newspapers are yet sustainable on their own. At a press event in London, News UK chief marketing officer Chris Duncan said the swing from loss to profit reflected the impact of significant investment in areas such as unified subscription handling and publishing, as well as journalism.

http://www.themediabriefing.com/article/membership-focus-helps-times-newspapers-make-first-profit-since-2001