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NewsFeed - Media

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Facebook should treat the cause, not the symptoms, of journalism’s plight

At some point over the past year, anyone connected with journalism, its present woes, or concerns over its future probably found themselves in a room with a Facebook executive. If you were high enough up in the media food chain, you got an audience with “Sheryl and Mark.” Everyone else was matched with someone further […]
Posted: January 18, 2019, 5:11 pm

Tim Cook doth protest too much about privacy

In Time magazine’s latest issue, which is devoted to the theme of this year’s Davos conference—”Navigating the Fourth Industrial Revolution”—Apple CEO Tim Cook has an essay about one of his favorite subjects, online privacy. It’s a topic he has returned to again and again over the past few years, and the message is almost always […]
Posted: January 18, 2019, 4:25 pm

73 percent of Republicans say the news media misunderstands them

Nearly three-quarters of Republicans say that the media does not understand “people like them,” according to Pew research released Friday. Those surveyed felt this way regardless of age, education level, and sex, and regardless of how much news they read. For Democrats, meanwhile, their feelings on whether the news media understands people like them varied...
Posted: January 18, 2019, 3:40 pm

Newsonomics: Tribune’s Thursday night surprise rescrambles the consolidation puzzle

In a Thursday evening surprise, Tribune Publishing chairman and CEO Justin Dearborn is out, along with two company executives. Out, here, is a relative term as Dearborn’s three-year tenure, his first ever in the newspaper industry, could net him a payout of $8 million or more, while the other two could take in millions. Tim...
Posted: January 18, 2019, 3:22 pm

A maddening shutdown story turns silly

Neither Trump nor the Democrats are budging, and neither is the shutdown story. As the longest ever freeze of the federal government continues, the president still wants a border wall; Nancy Pelosi and her House majority still don’t. Politico Playbook, which for 28 days has gone into the weeds, yesterday zoomed out to draw a simple, stark overview of the impasse: “Over the past few days, it feels as if the crisis in our government has hit a new inflection point. Look at all of the available evidence and ask yourself a simple question: Do you believe the government is poised to function over these next two years?”

Media outlets also appear entrenched in their arguments. Before the shutdown started, right-wing commentators with direct lines to Trump and his base grumbled about a mooted compromise package that did not include wall funding, causing the president to do a U-turn. As CNN’s Oliver Darcy wrote yesterday, those commentators, including Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh, have only doubled down since.

ICYMI: No, tech companies shouldn’t fund journalism

Back in the real world, reporters covered the shutdown’s effects. A CNN list of consequences stands at 91 and counting; these include the Federal Aviation Administration recalling furloughed safety workers without pay (via The New York Times), North Carolina schools scaling back lunches to conserve food (via The Charlotte Observer), and the closure of an airport security checkpoint in Texas. Yesterday brought more bad news, including a Times report that thousands of federal workers have filed for unemployment benefits, a Journal story that routine small-business loans have dried up, and a Washington Post alert that navigation systems worldwide are being misdirected because the shutdown means scientists can’t post an emergency update to their model.

Not infrequently, the shutdown story has also become silly. Yesterday, after Pelosi asked Trump not to deliver his State of the Union address in Congress unless the government reopens, the president retaliated by grounding a military flight she’d planned to Afghanistan an hour before it was set to take off. News organizations jumped on the tit-for-tat. “As the shutdown drags on, septuagenarian politicians are squabbling like 7-year-olds,” Mark Landler wrote in the Times. “Trump’s letter to Pelosi accomplished its main goal: Owning the libs,” added the Post’s Philip Bump.

Weightier shutdown-adjacent stories got pushed down the cycle, including the publication of a federal audit admitting that thousands more migrant families have been separated at the border than previously acknowledged. And reporters are stuck in a frustrating loop. Katie Rogers, White House correspondent at the Times, suggested: “If we turned off cable and internet for one day this shutdown would end.”

Below, more from the past 24-hour news cycle:

  • Send in the clowns: After Trump grounded Pelosi, “The scene around the Capitol quickly devolved into a circus-like atmosphere as reporters chased a charter bus with lawmakers on board who were supposed to join Pelosi on the trip overseas,” Politico’s Andrew Restuccia, Heather Caygle, and Andrew Desiderio report. Desiderio writes separately that “one reporter grabbed a shared electric scooter and rode toward the bus, leaving everyone else in the dust.”
  • Towering presence: Last night, a BuzzFeed scoop pierced through the shutdown noise. Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his planned Trump Tower Moscow project, and that Trump was eager to travel to Russia during his presidential campaign to kickstart the deal. While rival outlets could not immediately confirm the reporting, the Post, CNN, and others followed up on BuzzFeed’s story.
  • Hot mess: In a banner day for Cohen news, The Wall Street Journal published a story on his alleged interference with Drudge and CNBC polls. The reporters—Michael Rothfeld, Rob Barry, and Joe Palazzolo—include a juicy detail: that Cohen paid for a Twitter account, @WomenForCohen, dedicated to calling him hot. Jezebel’s Katie McDonough zooms in.


Other notable stories:

  • In Ghana, Ahmed Husein, a journalist who went undercover to expose corruption in African soccer, was shot dead on Wednesday night. Before the murder, a Ghanaian lawmaker had showed Husein’s photograph on TV and encouraged viewers to beat him.
  • Les Moonves, the disgraced former CEO of CBS who resigned after a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, will take the network to arbitration over its decision last month to deny him a $120 million severance. “CBS wants to break from the Les Moonves era, but Moonves isn’t making it easy,” CNN’s Brian Stelter writes.
  • In a HuffPost Q&A, Ashley Feinberg holds Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s feet to the fire over right-wing extremism on the network. Among other vague answers, Dorsey refuses to confirm that Trump will be booted from the platform if he asks his followers to kill journalists. “Dorsey can be incredibly disorienting,” Feinberg writes. “Not because he’s particularly clever or thought-provoking, but because he sounds like he should be. The reason his impassioned defenses of Twitter sound like gibberish is because they are.”
  • After 121 years, The Forward, a prominent Jewish publication, is ceasing its print operation and going online-only. Keith J. Kelly of the New York Post reports that, in the process, about 40 staffers are being laid-off.
  • Separately, Jesse Angelo, the New York Post’s publisher and CEO, is stepping down.
  • For CJR, Kelsey Ables charts how Himal magazine, a publication dedicated to upending clichéd narratives about South Asia, died in Nepal and was reborn in Sri Lanka. Ables writes, “Reporting on the plastic surgery industry in Afghanistan, the control of the media in the 2018 Maldivian election, the orientalization of Sri Lankan tea advertising, and civil service exams in Bhutan, the magazine upends narratives and steers clear of tropes.”
  • In the UK, Arif Ansari, head of news at the BBC’s Asian Network, is standing trial after a broadcast he oversaw named a survivor of sexual abuse. Under British law, news organizations are banned from naming survivors who have reported their abuse without their consent or an appropriate court order.
  • Sarah Carr, who edits the Teacher Project at Columbia Journalism School, writes for CJR that becoming a mother has changed her perspective on education reporting. “When I began rereading old stories through my new lens as a parent, what struck me was how often—when it came to my writing about children—I wanted more,” Carr reflects. “More details. More depth. More of them talking about their lives and feelings.”
  • And the Louisville Courier Journal apologized after it refused to publish a line in a local woman’s obituary claiming that “Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump administration.” Gannett, which owns the Courier Journal, told Frances Irene Finley Williams’s family that it does not allow “negative content” to appear in obits.

ICYMI: Hedge-fund vultures eye Gannett

Posted: January 18, 2019, 12:58 pm

Anti-vaxxers are among the WHO’s top 10 global health threats, and Ebola fake news is killing people

Anti-vaxxers are one of the top 10 global health threats. The World Health Organization identified “vaccine hesitancy” — “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines” — as one of its top 10 health concerns facing the world in 2019. A 2018 study found that “philosophical-belief” vaccine non-medical exemptions have risen in...
Posted: January 18, 2019, 12:28 pm

Coverage of viral Stephen King story overlooks layoffs

It was “a Stephen King story with a happy ending”—a sentiment shared by many on Twitter as well as by Lisa DeSisto, chief executive of MaineToday Media and the publisher of the Portland Press Herald. Last week, after the Press Herald announced plans to cut its freelance budget for book reviews, the Maine Writers and […]
Posted: January 18, 2019, 12:06 pm

Podcast: Slate charts its survival through the digital winter

ON THIS WEEK’S EPISODE, CJR Editor and Publisher Kyle Pope speaks with David Uberti, on Slate’s survival strategy—in part as an audio production company.   SHOW NOTES: The future of the #SlatePitch in Trump’s world, Dave Uberti, CJR A law firm in the trenches against media unions, Andrew McCormick, CJR Media industry turmoil continues as […]
Posted: January 17, 2019, 9:25 pm

A magazine’s unlikely rebirth in Sri Lanka

Aunohita Mojumdar first encountered Himal Southasian when a writer for the magazine criticized Mojumdar for “failing to ask a single relevant question” in an early 2001 interview with the foreign minister of Bhutan. While working at the Times of India, Mojumdar considered herself a “hard-bitten,” critical journalist. She had even gotten into trouble with the […]
Posted: January 17, 2019, 6:19 pm

Nine steps for how Facebook should embrace meaningful interac— er, accountability

What would you put on Facebook’s to-do list? Well, a group of Oxford and Stanford researchers (Timothy Garton Ash, Robert Gorwa, and Danaë Metaxa) started with nine items, in their report released Thursday via Oxford and Stanford. (No funding for the report came from Facebook, but the company did provide “under the hood” access to...
Posted: January 17, 2019, 4:39 pm

“Media is hard”: Corey Ford on why his media venture fund Matter is paused (for now)

In its seven years, Matter.vc has shepherded 73 media startups through eight accelerator programs, funded by two rounds of investments from a bunch of media companies. But to put it in old-school media terms, the presses have ground to a temporary — but maybe permanent — halt. This isn’t the definitive end of Matter, Corey...
Posted: January 17, 2019, 3:35 pm

Media industry turmoil continues as the sharks start to circle

When an industry is under severe financial pressure, it tends to bring out the sharks, so it’s probably not surprising there has been an increase in shark-like activity in the media business of late—now, even the sharks are being attacked by other sharks. Take the Gannett newspaper chain: one of the largest players in a shrunken industry, it owns dozens of leading papers across the country, including flagships such as USA Today and the Detroit Free Press. Some see it as a perfect candidate to snap up some of the other players in the market, such as McClatchy or Tribune Inc. (formerly Tronc), the latter of which it tried to buy in 2016. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Gannett was recently said to be looking at the assets of Gizmodo Media, which current owner Univision is trying to unload.

Unfortunately for Gannett, competitor Digital First Media has thrown a large wrench into the works, by quietly acquiring 7.5 percent of the chain’s stock as a prelude to launching a takeover bid. DFM sent the chain a letter earlier this week advising the board that it seeks to buy the company for $12 a share or about $1.4 billion, and would reserve the right to replace some or all of Gannett’s board of directors. The would-be acquirer also accused its target of making a number of poor financial decisions, including a number of what it said were ill-fated digital deals (a somewhat ironic criticism coming from a company that goes by the name Digital First). “The team leading Gannett has not demonstrated that it’s capable of effectively running this enterprise as a public company,” the letter said.

The proposed acquisition has sent shivers through the industry. DFM has developed a reputation for squeezing its properties financially and shedding reporters and editors as quickly as possible in order to protect its bottom line. According to industry analyst Ken Doctor, the company—whose largest shareholder is the New York–based hedge fund Alden Global Capital—reported a 17 percent operating profit margin last year, much higher than most media entities, profit that many believe came from hacking away at the staff of its papers. “Alden Global Capital is making so much money wrecking local journalism it might not want to stop anytime soon,” he wrote, while Jim Friedlich, executive director of the Lenfest Institute, told the Journal DFM buying Gannett was like “the lumber company trying to buy the national park.”

If Digital First goes ahead with its bid, Gannett will have to put its interest in Gizmodo on hold, which could open the door for other bidders. Among those who have expressed interest is Bryan Goldberg, the man behind Bustle and a growing group of distressed digital properties. In July, Goldberg swooped in to buy the domain name and archives of Gawker for $1.35 million (those assets weren’t part of the deal with Univision), then late last year he acquired the assets of Mic.com for about $5 million, after that site shut down due to a lack of funding. And now, it seems both Gawker and Mic have returned to active duty in a sense: articles have begun to appear on the latter, despite the fact that the company laid off all 100 or so of its writers and editors when it shut down. And Gawker just announced its first new hires, including veteran digital writer Maya Kosoff, formerly of Vanity Fair. The new site is being run by Amanda Hale, former managing editor of The Outline, a relatively new digital-media startup that has also been under financial pressure recently.

Although writers and journalists like to think what they do is special, at least in cultural or social terms, the reality is the media business has a bottom line just like any other industry, and that bottom line has been chipped away by the advertising dominance of Google and Facebook. Digital enterprises were once seen as a better risk than stodgy old newspaper chains like Gannett, but if we’ve learned one thing from the recent travails of BuzzFeed, Vice, Mic and others, it is that new and old media entities alike are under very similar kinds of pressure—and until that changes, the sharks and bottom-feeders will rule the day.

Here’s more on some of the major players in the industry’s ongoing turmoil:

  • Let the games begin: Ken Doctor says the bid by Alden Global and DFM to acquire Gannett is likely just the opening round in what could be a consolidation spree within the newspaper industry. “This may be the first newspaper mergers-and-acquisitions story of 2019, but it definitely won’t be the last,” he writes at Nieman Lab.
  • A British front: The fact that Gannett is now in play doesn’t just affect the fate of US newspapers or the American media industry. The Drum notes that since Gannett owns Newsquest, a major UK newspaper publisher, any move to acquire Gannett could set off a consolidation spree in Great Britain as well.
  • Gawker, the sequel: In September, Bryan Goldberg told The Wall Street Journal that he planned to invest at least $5 million in relaunching Gawker, just after his company closed a $40-million financing round that valued it at more than $200 million. “We’re building a company that Condé Nast ought to have built for digital,” he said.
  • The great unwinding: Univision announced that it was looking to sell Gizmodo Media last July, including sites like Jezebel, Deadspin, and Splinter, as well as humor site The Onion. The Spanish-language broadcaster acquired the assets from Gawker for $135 million in 2016 as part of an ambitious digital expansion.

 

Other notable stories:

  • A report from Digiday says The New York Times stopped using ad exchanges and behavioral targeting in Europe, in the wake of the European General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. But the newspaper’s ad revenue didn’t decline as a result, a Times executive said—instead, it has actually increased significantly.
  • Report for America, which is trying to build a national non-profit journalism operation and just received some funding from Facebook, announced that it will create 50 new reporting positions this year in newsrooms across the country, including a watchdog group in Puerto Rico, as well as the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Associated Press. Reporters will also be placed in non-profit organizations and public radio stations.
  • After it faced widespread criticism for adding alt-right conspiracy theorist and nutritional supplement purveyor Alex Jones and his Infowars site to its lineup, streaming-media company Roku said that it would remove the site and Jones from its platform. Jones and Infowars have been blocked or banned by a number of services including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and PayPal.
  • Grindr, the dating app for gay men, has laid off the entire staff of its LGBTQ publication, Into, as part of what it said is a refocusing of its efforts on video. The publication caused some controversy in November when one of its reporters called out the company’s president, Scott Chen, for making remarks some said were homophobic.
  • As the prospect of Brexit draws ever closer, British publishers and media companies are stockpiling newsprint and ink, according to a report by Bloomberg, concerned that if Britain leaves the European Union their supplies could be cut off, or the price of those commodities could rise suddenly if the value of the British pound tanks.
  • Dan Sanchez, the editorial lead for The New York Times‘s new venture into audio programming for digital assistants, spoke with the newspaper’s Insider staff about how the new features for Amazon’s Echo units will work. Among other things, Echo owners will be able to ask their assistant to play them a “flash briefing” read by Mike Barbaro, host of the paper’s popular podcast The Daily.
  • Storyful, the digital verification company owned by News Corp., did an analysis of how posts by certain influential accounts on Twitter helped spread the story of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi Arabian woman who pleaded for asylum and was eventually accepted into Canada.
  • A court in Montenegro has sentenced an investigative journalist, Jovo Martinović, to 18 months in prison, on charges of drug trafficking and criminal association. Press freedom advocates say the accusations are bogus and are further evidence that the government is engaged in a crackdown on independent media.
Posted: January 17, 2019, 1:00 pm

What becoming a mother taught me about the education beat

For the last 15 years, I have written mostly about other people’s children, often because the system has failed them in some horrible way. I have profiled students with severe disabilities who sit idly at home, unable to find even a public school that will admit them. I have reported on the suffering of children […]
Posted: January 17, 2019, 11:55 am

Q&A: New York’s Adam Moss talks moving on from his 15-year home

On Tuesday, New York magazine Editor in Chief Adam Moss announced plans to step down this March. The move follows 15 years at the magazine’s helm for Moss, during which he oversaw rapid growth in both coverage and readership, as well as the introduction of popular verticals like Vulture and The Cut. Moss’s career in […]
Posted: January 16, 2019, 5:11 pm

The New York Times politics editor is building trust by tweeting context around political stories

You can guess the kinds of complaints The New York Times gets about its political coverage. It’s too biased, too liberal. Too much coverage of the horserace, not enough coverage of the issues. Too much “But her emails!” in 2016 and not enough Trump/Russia. Too much “Racists: They’re just like us.” With a new personal...
Posted: January 16, 2019, 4:37 pm

Here are 12 principles journalists should follow to make sure they’re protecting their sources

In the public imagination, reporters working with whistleblowers has traditionally meant All the President’s Men-style cloak-and-dagger stealth — meetings in shadowy underground garages, potted plants turned into signals, Hal Holbrook’s whispered exhortations to “follow the money.” But today, journalists’ interactions with whistleblowers are more likely to come in Signal chats or secure dropboxes than D.C....
Posted: January 16, 2019, 4:00 pm

The future of the #SlatePitch in Trump’s world

When Jacob Weisberg departed from his perch as chairman of the Slate Group in October, he was nudged during an exit interview into giving something of a eulogy for the proverbial #SlatePitch. The impish liberal contrarianism that had long defined the site—maybe to an unfair extent—felt a bit too glib in the face of President […]
Posted: January 16, 2019, 3:05 pm

Take these email templates and go build a beautiful (monetized, useful, tested, efficient) newsletter

If data is the new oil as the world’s most valuable resource these days, email newsletters are the new social media traffic. But there are still, unsurprisingly, plenty of ways to do it wrong. We’ve written about how a legacy news organization revamped its newsletters, reported how more than 11,000 people pay for emailed content...
Posted: January 16, 2019, 3:00 pm

Readers say that the best thing about paying for digital news is freedom from the paywall

What is the biggest benefit of paying for online news? Digital publishing firm Twipe surveyed nearly 4,000 people from six European countries and the U.S., and found that the most-cited reason for paying is unlimited access to stories — followed by, uh, access to print (with feeling good about paying for news quite a bit...
Posted: January 15, 2019, 4:28 pm

Spotify says it’s getting serious about podcasts (yes, again) and there are lots of questions

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 191, published January 15, 2018. Spotify and podcasts, circa 2019. CES, that fine mess formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, was held in Las Vegas last week, and I took in the proceedings the way I always have: from behind the comforting glow...
Posted: January 15, 2019, 3:30 pm

Facebook is committing $300 million to support news, with an emphasis on local

Facebook and the local news industry both had tough 2018s — but on wildly different levels. Facebook began the year by shifting its News Feed algorithm in favor of more “meaningful interactions” and less Page/news content. That evolved to include focuses on trusted news, local news, and informative news. Some viral-focused publishers folded from the...
Posted: January 15, 2019, 11:00 am

Calling racism racism and remembering not everyone is white: Some predictions for 2019 about diversity in news

Our end-of-year “Predictions for Journalism” package has grown and grown and grown since its first iteration back in 2011. For the 2019 iteration, we published more than 200, and it’s possible I am literally the only person alive to have read all of them. So over the next few days, we’ll be running what I’m...
Posted: January 14, 2019, 6:51 pm

Newsonomics: Let the 2019 Consolidation Games begin! First up: Alden seeks to swallow Gannett

Alden Global Capital, the most reviled newspaper owner in the business, now wants to buy Gannett, the United States’ largest daily newspaper company. As reported Sunday evening by The Wall Street Journal — and then confirmed via early Monday morning press release — Alden, through its Digital First Media/MNG Enterprise ownership, has offered a 23...
Posted: January 14, 2019, 5:10 pm

Heightening the CMS race: WordPress.com and News Revenue Hub devise a toolkit for local newsrooms

Around two-thirds of smaller and medium-sized publishers use WordPress as their CMS (that’s content management system for the newbies) — but how many publishers can say they’ve developed a sustainable business model? The optimistic answer: More in 2019 (the realistic answer: unclear), or at least they’ll get closer to cobbling it together. WordPress.com is launching...
Posted: January 14, 2019, 10:00 am

“Here’s what else you need to know today”: The New York Times launches a flash audio briefing and other voice stuff for Alexa

The New York Times is pushing further into voice products for smart speakers. On Friday, the company announced that it’s launching a weekday flash news briefing called The New York Times Briefing for Alexa-enabled devices (hosted by Michael Barbaro, who is a busy man). It’s also debuting a weekly interactive news quiz from The Daily’s...
Posted: January 11, 2019, 5:00 pm

Fighting information overload instead of contributing to it: Some 2019 predictions about business models for news

Our end-of-year “Predictions for Journalism” package has grown and grown and grown since its first iteration back in 2011. For the 2019 iteration, we published more than 200, and it’s possible I am literally the only person alive to have read all of them. So over the next few days, we’ll be running what I’m...
Posted: January 11, 2019, 3:18 pm

Here’s (exactly) how The Correspondent raised $2.5 million in a month

When your fundraising campaign stalls, go on The Daily Show. Okay, that’s obviously not an option for everyone (or almost anyone) — and this is not a normal “how the sausage is made” story — but still, if you want to know how The Correspondent’s fundraiser for its U.S. launch went from “this actually may not...
Posted: January 11, 2019, 3:11 pm

Old people are most likely to share fake news on Facebook. They’re also Facebook’s fastest-growing U.S. audience.

People over age 65 are most likely to share fake news. Elderly Americans were most likely to share fake news around the election, even after controlling for political affiliation and ideology. Only a small percentage of people shared fake news in the first place, but those who did were likely to be over 65. The...
Posted: January 11, 2019, 12:00 pm

How nonprofit news outlets make a collaboration/syndication work

What’s in a partnership? (Or a collaboration? Or a syndication deal?) With the industry’s shrinking resources, news organizations — especially nonprofits, especially those trying to build a brand — are opting for sharing their work with other media more frequently. The Center for Cooperative Media’s database of collaborations, for example, has nearly 200 partnerships recorded,...
Posted: January 10, 2019, 4:02 pm

Breaking news that isn’t breaking, readers who aren’t reading: Some 2019 predictions about social media

Our end-of-year “Predictions for Journalism” package has grown and grown and grown since its first iteration back in 2011. For the 2019 iteration, we published more than 200, and it’s possible I am literally the only person alive to have read all of them. So over the next few days, we’ll be running what I’m...
Posted: January 10, 2019, 3:28 pm

Nearly a third of publishers agree: No one’s coming to help them

Every December, Nieman Lab asks media folks to predict what they think will happen in the new year — resulting in our annual predictions package, with more than 200 entries this year. (You can read them all individually, of course, or you can read our predictions playlists.) And then, if you want still more, check...
Posted: January 10, 2019, 12:01 am

Fewer nosy neighbors and data overlords: This German publisher is trying to build a hyperlocal social network

Dog poop and parking spot shortages: just local news things. These story topics might seem trivial individually but are the core of what matters to local communities — and local news consumers. It’s journalists listening for their questions and getting them answers. In 2014, Sebastian Penthin cofounded Lokalportal, a startup inspired by his hometown village’s...
Posted: January 9, 2019, 2:20 pm

Showing your work, reflecting your audience, and using the right tools: Some 2019 predictions about trust and transparency

Our end-of-year “Predictions for Journalism” package has grown and grown and grown since its first iteration back in 2011. For the 2019 iteration, we published more than 200, and it’s possible I am literally the only person alive to have read all of them. So over the next few days, we’ll be running what I’m...
Posted: January 9, 2019, 1:00 pm

A gloomy vision for “fake news” in 2019: Low-trust societies, the death of consensus, and your own lying eyes

Our end-of-year “Predictions for Journalism” package has grown and grown and grown since its first iteration back in 2011. For the 2019 iteration, we published more than 200, and it’s possible I am literally the only person alive to have read all of them. So today and over the next few days, we’ll be running...
Posted: January 8, 2019, 4:25 pm

These are the trends to watch for podcasting in 2019

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 190, published January 8, 2018. Happy new year, everyone! Let me begin by saying something that’s extremely typical: I spent a good deal of the holiday season either thinking about work or actually working. Which is to say, I totally vibe with what Anne...
Posted: January 8, 2019, 3:10 pm

Local public meetings are a scrape and a tap away, on City Bureau’s Documenters tool

Public meetings — now there’s an app for that. We’ve seen relationships between news organizations and news consumers expand from tossing in a few bucks for a subscription to chipping in a few more for the journalistic mission to even volunteering their services in support of the news cause. City Bureau’s Documenters program has taken...
Posted: January 8, 2019, 2:07 pm

The Dallas Morning News — still family controlled — shears its newsroom by 20

The Dallas Morning News, one of the largest remaining independently owned metro newspapers, announced it was laying off 43 staffers, 20 in its newsroom, Monday. The layoffs reach from senior writers to community reporters, with varying levels of time at the organization. The News is owned by A.H. Belo, which is publicly traded but still...
Posted: January 7, 2019, 9:07 pm

In 2018, push alerts featured less yelling and more thinking

More push alerts, less breaking news, less emoji: An analysis of 30 publishers’ mobile notifications shows that the infrastructure of alerts has stayed the same but newsroom managers are thinking differently about how to use them. In a follow-up study to a 2017 review, Columbia Journalism Review’s Pete Brown collected 1,510 mobile push alerts from...
Posted: January 4, 2019, 2:56 pm

2019: A year when fake news gets intimate and everyone disagrees on everything

What’s coming. Nieman Lab had 200 people in and around media to make predictions for 2019. Some misinformation-related highlights are below — along with fake-news related predictions and preparations for 2019 from other sources, so consider this a look at the year ahead. (Warning: People do not agree about anything.) Panic about deepfakes. Or don’t! Deepfakes...
Posted: January 4, 2019, 2:05 pm

Tronc Eviscerates New York Daily News With 50% Staff Cut

The cure for the newspaper  industry’s ills was once thought to be a “hyper-local” focus, but that’s not proving to be the salve for New York City, which is suffering an unprecedented decline in local news coverage. The latest casualty is the New York  Daily News, which on Monday said it would cut its newsroom staff […]
Posted: July 24, 2018, 11:54 pm

Crowdsourcing History With Global Newspaper Archive Search

The United States Holocaust Museum is conducting an interesting exercise in crowdsourced research using newspaper archives from the 1930s and 40s. Called “History Unfolded,”, the project asks students, teachers and anyone else who’s interested to look in local newspapers for accounts of 34 different Holocaust-era events that took place in the U. S. and Europe, […]
Posted: May 24, 2018, 2:20 pm

Google Pledges $300 Million to Support Quality Journalism

With the media world buzzing about the fake news engine that is Cambridge Analytica, news about a new Google initiative to support quality journalism might easily be overlooked. The multi-faceted investment covers everything from website analytics tuned to the needs of publishers to machine learning tools that identify potential subscribers. Of particular note is Subscribe with […]
Posted: March 21, 2018, 5:29 pm

Why Facebook Was So Easily Gamed

“Research has shown that the downside of powerful, centralized networks is their susceptibility to being subverted and exploited,” writes The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims in a fascinating analysis of why social networks, which were supposed to challenge hierarchy, have reinforced it instead. Delving into network theory, Mims explains why networks that start out with […]
Posted: February 20, 2018, 4:13 pm

#FakeNews: Facebook Isn't a Media Company

Despite a Pew Research study‘s finding last year that two-thirds of Facebook users rely on the site for news, the COO of the world’s largest social network insists that Facebook isn’t a media company. “At our heart we’re a tech company… we don’t hire journalists,” Sheryl Sandberg told Axios. Although Sandberg admitted that her company […]
Posted: October 19, 2017, 4:21 pm

Bad News on the Doorstep

After a spate of closures and layoffs in the latter part of the last decade, the newspaper industry appeared to find its footing over the past few years. But now that oasis of stability may be drying up. Hard times are hitting some of the most resilient titles, and the trend indicates that things are […]
Posted: November 4, 2016, 12:21 am

R.I.P. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

We’re going to call a time-of-death on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, despite the fact that the newspaper says it’ll live on with a website. Everyone says that these days. The more important news is that the 24-year-old daily will shutter its print edition and lay off 106 staff members. It will maintain an online-only edition, but most […]
Posted: September 29, 2016, 12:59 am

Startup Says It's Figured Out a Way to Make Micropayments Work

The idea of convincing readers to pay a few pennies to read a single article has been largely scoffed at over the years, but Blendle may have cracked the code, at least a little bit. Launched two years ago in Europe, Blendle says it just surpassed the one-million-member mark. It’s getting hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors […]
Posted: August 12, 2016, 1:34 pm

The Best 20 Minutes of Video You'll Watch This Week

John Oliver’s sendup of the news industry for preposterous ideas like Tronc is both hilarious and sad. Oliver digs into the video history bag to remind us that Sam Zell really did own a newspaper company at one point and thought that stories about cats could possibly support stories about crime and corruption. He also calls […]
Posted: August 10, 2016, 4:30 pm

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hikes prices even as circulation plummets

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is raising newsstand prices 50 cents to $2 per weekday issue, despite the fact that weekday print circulation has dropped 54% over the last decade.rThe move continues a drive by newspapers to raise reader revenues in the face of quickening declines in advertising sales. Ad revenues at U.S. newspapers fell 8% last year, the […]
Posted: July 13, 2016, 1:31 pm