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How ‘Keysmash’ became the way internet users expressed their emotions

“English spelling can be so inconsistent, so random-seeming, so frustrating that it can make you want to pound out on your keyboard: ‘Asdjfoaasdasdasdasd!’” That’s what dictionary.com posted on a blog discussing some of the words people look up but misspell. The post links to an “All the Words” entry on “asdf,” explaining that it’s a […]
Posted: September 16, 2019, 4:48 pm

Misinformation researcher awarded for article on the roots of fact-checking 

Lucas Graves, a misinformation researcher based at the University of Washington—Madison, has won the 2019 Bob Franklin Journal Article Award for his 2018 article “Boundaries Not Drawn: Mapping the institutional roots of the global fact-checking movement.” The study is the first of its kind, offering a systematic analysis of international fact-checking organizations and their institutional […]

The post Misinformation researcher awarded for article on the roots of fact-checking  appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 16, 2019, 1:36 pm

Throwing a billion news consumers behind coverage of the climate crisis

A CBS News poll showing that most Americans want to tackle the climate crisis right away. A PBS interview with Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist from Sweden who recently arrived in the US on an emissions-free yacht. A story in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, in West Virginia, mapping the growing conversation about climate change in the coal-rich state. A whole issue of Lapham’s Quarterly. A video by The Intercept in which Naomi Klein, the writer and activist, explains how the plastic straws hawked by the Trump campaign help explain wrongheaded conservative—and liberal—responses to the climate crisis. (“What we are witnessing is a temper tantrum against the mere suggestion that there are limits to what we can consume,” Klein says.) A Variety interview with Javier Bardem.

These are among the stories published as part of Covering Climate Now, a major new initiative from CJR and The Nation, in partnership with The Guardian, that aims to increase the visibility of the climate crisis in our media. Covering Climate Now’s debut project—eight days of dedicated climate coverage by partner news organizations—launched yesterday and will end a week from today, to coincide with the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations in New York. The initiative isn’t limited to the US: in total, more than 250 outlets from around the world signed on, throwing a combined audience of more than 1 billion people behind the project. Our partners include Bloomberg; Agence France-Presse; the Toronto Star; La Repubblica, in Italy; Asahi Shimbun, in Japan; El País, in Spain; News18, in India; Daily Maverick, in South Africa, and the Daily Mirror, in the UK. (You can find a full list here.)

Related: Covering Climate Now signs on over 170 news outlets

In a piece out this morning, Mark Hertsgaard, environment correspondent at The Nation, and Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of CJR, who are leading the initiative, write that the global response has been “amazing, and gratifying.” It is heartening, they write, “that the press may at last be waking up to the defining story of our time… We had a hunch that there was a critical mass of reporters and news outlets that wanted to do more climate coverage, and hoped that by highlighting that critical mass, we could also help to grow it. That’s exactly what has happened.”

Still, roadblocks remain. Some outlets hesitated before signing on to Covering Climate Now, or decided not to take part. Some said they were already pulling their weight, and declined to collaborate beyond their existing output. Others, Hertsgaard and Pope write, find the sheer scale of the climate story daunting. Some news organizations have no idea how or where to make a start on it. Others have taken a defeatist posture—it’s too late for the press to make any difference, they say, and in any case, news consumers find climate stories depressing, and click away.

This latter concern is not (or at least need not be) true: as Hertsgaard and Pope point out, “News organizations that have embraced climate coverage find that audiences—particularly younger viewers, listeners, and readers—are, in fact, enormously engaged in the coverage. They may get angry or energized or organized by climate stories, but they don’t tune them out.” And besides, not covering a topic because it might be depressing or challenging is an odd logic for newsrooms to adopt. Another common concern among reporters and editors holds that climate coverage smacks of activism. But this logic, too, is flawed: it’s journalists’ job to shine an undimmed light on unvarnished truths, wherever that may take us.

As we have seen repeatedly in the Trump era, such attitudes aren’t limited to climate coverage—but when it comes to the climate, the stakes are higher than they are anywhere else. Going forward, Covering Climate Now will try to overcome these doubts, while working with partners to identify the challenges they face in their climate coverage—a lack of expertise, for example, or a lack of reporting resources in an industry stretched to breaking point.

“This week of coverage we really see as the beginning of this conversation. What we want to do is have people commit to this, do this intense week of coverage, and then come back to us and say: here’s what we learned,” Pope told CNN’s Brian Stelter on Stelter’s podcast last week. “What we’re hoping to get out of this week is some great coverage, we’re hoping to sort of connect people. But we’re really hoping to get people to start thinking about what they have to do different.” Pope added, “I just think that we’re going to look back on this in a few years and shake our heads and wonder, like, where we were? 

Below, more on Covering Climate Now:


Other notable stories:

  • A new book by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, reporters at The New York Times, reveals a new allegation of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh; a college classmate recalled Kavanaugh pushing his penis into a female student’s hand at a party and told the FBI about it, but the bureau did not investigate. (Full disclosure: Kelly is married to Pope, CJR’s editor and publisher.) Over the weekend, the Times was criticized for publishing the allegation in its opinion section, and for promoting an article containing it in a tweet that began: “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun…” The Times pointed out that the piece ran in its Sunday Review section, which frequently publishes excerpts of books by the paper’s reporters; it conceded that the tweet was “clearly inappropriate and offensive.” In light of the new claim, five Democratic presidential candidates called for Kavanaugh to be impeached.
  • Edward Snowden also has a book out: in Permanent Record, Snowden opens up about his life, and what led him to leak details of the NSA’s mass-surveillance operations to the press. The book, the Times’s Jennifer Szalai writes, “is unlikely to change anyone’s mind about Snowden”—but Snowden tells The Guardian that he thinks public hostility toward him has softened in the US. Today, Snowden is slated to join CBS This Morning and The 11th Hour With Brian Williams from Russia, where he still lives in exile.
  • David Cameron, the former prime minister of Britain who resigned following the country’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016, is also part of the new-book club; Cameron uses his memoir, in part, to express his regrets over Brexit, and to slam his eventual successor Boris Johnson for behaving “appallingly” in campaigning for it. The Guardian was criticized for writing, in an editorial, that Cameron has only known “privileged pain”; his son died in 2009, aged six. The paper apologized. (Also in the UK, Johnson used an interview to compare himself to the Hulk; Mark Ruffalo, who played the Hulk, shot back.)
  • Yesterday, Slate launched “Who counts?”, a new project that seeks to center questions around voter suppression and distrust in our electoral processes, among other issues of representation. “Far too often, voting rights are a dormant topic up until the week before a general election,” Dahlia Lithwick writes. “But if you still believe that democracy matters—as I want to—then we must be focused on the right to vote, right now.”
  • New York’s Reeves Wiedeman assesses what be might next for Vice, as the company grapples with declining revenue and web traffic, and reported cash-flow issues. “The lawlessness that characterized an earlier era of Vice, which remains a key component of the brand’s appeal, has also given way behind the scenes to the kind of rigid human-resources apparatus of a company looking to be taken seriously.”
  • Last year, Elon Musk emailed Ryan Mac, a reporter at BuzzFeed, doubling down on his claim that a cave diver who helped rescue a trapped Thai soccer team was a pedophile. Mac published the email; the diver sued Musk for defamation. On Friday, BuzzFeed pushed back on Musk’s efforts to force Mac to testify in the case: Musk, it said, “clearly harbors personal animosity against Mac,” and is trying to retaliate against his reporting.
  • Late last week, the singer Sam Smith, who came out as nonbinary in March, said on social media that they will use the pronouns “they/them” going forward. The Associated Press detailed the announcement in a story—but used he/him pronouns throughout when referring to Smith. The article was subsequently corrected.
  • For CJR, Karen K. Ho reports from the Toronto International Film Festival, which pledged to give a fifth of its press passes to journalists from under-represented backgrounds. “But to walk the red carpet at TIFF with critics of color is to see how, even with new diversity programs in place, there are still gates closed,” Ho writes.
  • And an appeals court in Turkey ordered five staffers for the newspaper Cumhuriyet released from jail. Turkey is the world’s most prolific jailer of journalists. Last year, Shawn Carrié and Asmaa Omar profiled Cumhuriyet, “the last independent newsroom in Turkey,” for CJR.

ICYMI: Malaysian sex-tape scandal poses a challenge for Muslim reporters

Posted: September 16, 2019, 11:44 am

New York Times grapples with Brett Kavanaugh allegations, while ‘She Said’ authors continue to shine and Rush Limbaugh gets judgy

This is the Poynter Institute’s daily newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Monday morning. A new book about Brett Kavanaugh will be released Tuesday, and it’s already at the center of a controversy. Burying the lead? The allegations are new and shocking. New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly […]

The post New York Times grapples with Brett Kavanaugh allegations, while ‘She Said’ authors continue to shine and Rush Limbaugh gets judgy appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 16, 2019, 11:30 am

A new beginning for climate reporting

Could it be that the press, especially the US press, is finally waking up to the climate story? It’s been 30 years since Bill McKibben rang the warning bells about the threat of man-made climate change—first in a piece in The New Yorker, and then in his book, The End of Nature. For most of […]
Posted: September 16, 2019, 10:59 am

A film festival increases press diversity, but challenges remain

Last year, the Toronto International Film Festival made a pledge that at least 20 percent of its media passes would go to under-represented journalists—women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ writers, and people with disabilities. It also created a media mentorship program, aimed at increasing access for critics and reporters who fall under that umbrella. But to […]
Posted: September 13, 2019, 10:15 pm

Podcast: One hyperlocal reporter and 400,000 NYCHA residents

Public housing is one of the most undercovered stories in New York. But every day, Monica Morales of PIX11 News answers calls from residents of city-owned buildings and fixes their problems. Kyle Pope, the editor and publisher of CJR, speaks with Morales and Emma Whitford, who profiled her this week. They discuss the difference a […]
Posted: September 13, 2019, 9:43 pm

Can a science escape room livestreamed on Twitch help bring viewers to public media?

Twitch. An escape room. YouTube influencers. Outer space. And public media. You never know what concoction of trends will make an experiment successful. And that’s the job of WGBH’s emerging platforms initiative: finding mixes that help the Boston-based public media station reach younger audiences (Gen Z and millennials) through newer platforms (Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, Snapchat...
Posted: September 13, 2019, 1:03 pm

ABC wins the Democratic debates, plus a sportswriter’s troubling Twitter rant and a media critic’s mea culpa

This is the Poynter Institute’s daily newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Friday morning. Another Democratic debate is in the books and it might have been the most productive of this year’s sessions. ABC had something to do with that. Plenty of interesting media news today, including a what-was-he-thinking tweet […]

The post ABC wins the Democratic debates, plus a sportswriter’s troubling Twitter rant and a media critic’s mea culpa appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 13, 2019, 12:29 pm

The third Democratic debate has more substance, less fodder for pundits

Even by the standards of such events, the reaction to the third Democratic presidential primary debate, on ABC and Univision last night, has been tired. There was nothing unusual in the clichéd post-game chyrons (“GLOVES COME OFF IN THIRD DEMOCRATIC DEBATE”) or the contradictory accounts of who won and lost. Major outlets seemed to be grasping for anything exciting. “Biden fails to step up or fall down,” Politico’s banner headline screamed this morning (is that news?). The debate “was the best of Biden, and the Biden of Biden,” The New York Times wrote, cryptically. We saw the Democratic candidates “clash over how far to push their ideas” (per the Times); “argue over core issues—and the direction of the party” (per The Washington Post); “spar over health care” (per The Wall Street Journal). In other words, we saw them do exactly what they did in the first and second rounds of debates.

Debate fatigue is real: much of what the candidates said on stage was predictable and repetitive. Journalists didn’t help by playing up expectations. Readers were told to look out for fireworks: between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; between Joe Biden and everyone else. But we hardly saw that. The night’s most conflictual moment—in which Julián Castro made repeated, thinly veiled jabs at Biden’s age—was poorly reviewed by members of the press. “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked him during an exchange on healthcare. (Later, Castro said he wasn’t insinuating senility, but his denial wasn’t convincing.) On ABC, after the main event, Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago, called Castro mean. “The debates are set up to stoke conflict,” The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani tweeted, “but when a candidate actually bites many pundits lose it.”

ICYMI: Malaysian sex-tape scandal poses a challenge for Muslim reporters

ABC repeated some of the mistakes of earlier debates: climate change was way down on the agenda again. Given that the debate was held in Houston, which was battered by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, it felt like a sorely missed opportunity. But the hosts also seemed to have heard the criticisms thrown at CNN, in July; this time, candidates were given more time to answer and rebut each other. There were some nice touches to the production, too, including a pop-up definition of “filibuster” to aid viewers at home. And the moderators—Jorge Ramos, Linsey Davis, George Stephanopoulos, and David Muir—mostly performed their roles judiciously. Ramos, in particular, won praise for his sharp interrogation of Biden’s immigration record and distinctive questions on Venezuela and veganism. The Nation’s John Nichols wrote afterward, “¡Viva Jorge Ramos!”

As a result, the debate was reasonably substantive. And that, it seems, is what media outlets are least equipped to react to. If it didn’t really move the horse race and it wasn’t conventionally “entertaining,” what’s a pundit to say? ABC, for all the credit it deserves, isn’t innocent here: the minute the debate ended, the network jumped into a breathless post-game that hyped the Castro-Biden moment: “It looks like they might not be shaking hands!”

Still, there were a lot of candidates to cover. Ideally, we’d have fewer on stage, to allow for more intimate, substantive exchanges. We might see what that looks like next month: as things stand, 11 candidates have qualified for the fourth debate; thus far, no single debate night has featured more than 10 candidates, so a 5-6 split looks likely. In that context, moderators should take the opportunity to focus more deeply on a few key subjects—most pressingly, the climate crisis. If the candidates are asked roughly the same questions every few weeks, it shouldn’t be surprising when they give the press the same old answers to chew on.

Below, more on the third debate:

  • The good news: The New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells argues that last night’s event shows the debates are working. “The Democratic candidates turned out to have some more interesting, and idiosyncratic, ideas than they’d aired,” he writes. “By around 9pm Central, you could look at the field and think that they were, as a group, somewhat enjoying themselves, for the first time in months.”
  • Beto on guns: One of the most significant moments of the debate was Beto O’Rourke’s answer on gun laws: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said. Commentators credited O’Rourke with shifting the conversation on guns; Carlos Maza praised him for flipping the script on a “gotcha” question. While the debate was ongoing, Briscoe Cain, a state representative in Texas, tweeted, “My AR is ready for you” at O’Rourke, who later called the tweet a death threat, and said he would report it to the FBI.
  • “Life is weird”: Also during the debate, ABC aired an ad, cut by a convervative PAC, showing Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s face burning away to reveal skulls. “Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Life is weird!”
  • Avoiding the subject: As the Times points out, the debate featured no questions at all about women’s health or finance: “abortion and the gender pay gap never came up.” Irin Carmon, of New York magazine, tweeted, “I assume they haven’t asked about abortion because of an assumption that there aren’t contrasts there, but I assure you that’s wrong!”
  • Biden to nothing?: Ahead of the debate, Politico’s Ryan Lizza reported frustrations inside Biden’s camp that the press “just doesn’t get” his campaign. “For a team in command of the Democratic primary, at least for now, they’re awfully resentful of how their man is being covered,” Lizza wrote. “And yet supremely confident that they, not the woke press that pounces on Biden’s every seeming error and blight in his record, has a vastly superior understanding of the Democratic electorate.”


Other notable stories:

  • Time magazine is out with a special issue dedicated to climate change. The cover story, by Bill McKibben, is an imagined dispatch from 2050 on how the world avoided the worst effects of the climate crisis. “Human nature, like journalism, is deadline-­oriented,” Edward Felsenthal, Time’s editor in chief, writes. “Our intent with this issue—only the fifth time in our history that we have turned over every page of a regular issue, front to back, to a single topic—is to send a clear message: we need to act fast, and we can.”
  • Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, is suing CBS for defamation; the lawsuit relates to Gayle King’s interviews, earlier this year, with Meredith Watson and Vanessa Tyson, who respectively accused Fairfax of rape and sexual assault. The allegations surfaced in February after Ralph Northam, Virginia’s governor, was accused of wearing blackface; it looked like Fairfax might replace Northam as governor, but Northam held on. Fairfax claims CBS did not do due diligence around the interviews.
  • Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing talk-radio host, slimed Krystal Ball, a progressive host on The Hill’s digital TV channel, with a false claim that Ball posed nude as a teenager. On Twitter, Ball said she considered ignoring the attack, but that she “won’t stand by when slut-shaming is being used to undermine yet another woman.” Limbaugh conceded his claim “wasn’t quite true,” then referred to Ball as an “infobabe” formerly with “PMSNBC.”
  • CJR’s Zainab Sultan assesses coverage of the crisis in Newark, New Jersey, which has had dangerous levels of lead in its water. “Might there be an advantage to joining Newark’s water crisis to Flint’s in news reports?” Sultan asks. “Overlapping water crises could enable newsrooms to learn from each other, and provide more journalists with examples of what it looks like in practice to hold officials accountable.”
  • A report from Define American and Media Cloud found a recent uptick in dehumanizing language about immigrants in the Times, the Post, the LA Times, and USA Today, coinciding with Trump’s rise. The same outlets often cited the Center for Immigration Studies, which was founded by a white nationalist, without noting its “extremist nature” and ties to the Trump administration. The Intercept’s Maryam Saleh has more.
  • Lawmakers in California passed a bill that will turn contractors across the state’s economy into employees with better rights at work. Newspapers including the LA Times argued that their carriers should be exempt under the law, citing the burdensome costs of compliance; lawmakers eventually granted the newspaper industry an extra year to comply. (For CJR last year, I explored the precarity of some contract carriers’ work.)
  • And Twitter refused a judge’s request that it identify the users behind Devin Nunes’s Mom and Devin Nunes’s Cow, anonymous accounts that Nunes, a pro-Trump California Congressman, is suing for defamation. Kate Irby has more for The Sacramento Bee.

ICYMI: AP sparks linguistic pandemonium with hyphen guidance update

Posted: September 13, 2019, 12:04 pm

Trump’s 9/11 memories aren’t fact-based — and fact-checkers wrote about them again this year

Every time President Donald Trump talks about 9/11, U.S fact-checkers raise their pens. The story of what he did in 2001 right after two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York often changes. And fact-checkers always feel like pointing out the lack of evidence around this topic. 2019 was no different. On Wednesday, […]

The post Trump’s 9/11 memories aren’t fact-based — and fact-checkers wrote about them again this year appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 13, 2019, 11:45 am

Newark, ‘the next Flint,’ and water-crisis coverage

Newark, New Jersey, has had dangerous levels of lead in its water for some time. In 2016, officials turned off water fountains in dozens of public schools there; the same year, a statement from school officials dated lead-contamination concerns to “at least the early 2000s.” Last year, the Natural Resources Defense Council announced a lawsuit […]
Posted: September 12, 2019, 6:02 pm

Good stuff first: Google moves to prioritize original reporting in search

In an effort to put original reporting in front of users, Google’s VP of news Richard Gingras announced Thursday that the company has changed its global search algorithm to “highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting,” and to keep such articles in top positions for longer. After weeks of reporting, a journalist breaks...
Posted: September 12, 2019, 5:00 pm

Researchers analyzed more than 300,000 local news stories on Facebook. Here’s what they found.

The distribution and consumption of news on social media is a central concern for the future of journalism as social media platforms have become a prominent component of the news ecosystem. And, after enduring criticism about their possible role in undermining local journalism, social media platforms have become more active in their efforts to help...
Posted: September 12, 2019, 4:13 pm

How 3 local newsrooms grew exponentially on Instagram

This summer, three young journalists went to work in local newsrooms. But they weren’t there to report, photograph, video or edit — they did it for the gram. University of Missouri Journalism School graduates Emily Dunn, Grace Lett and Magdaline Duncan worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Boston Globe and the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune […]

The post How 3 local newsrooms grew exponentially on Instagram appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 12, 2019, 1:30 pm

Dems will face off while fact-checkers listen in, plus Washington Post’s The Express hits the end of the line

This is the Poynter Institute’s daily newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Thursday morning. We start today by getting you ready for tonight’s Democratic presidential debate. Just the facts, please, in tonight’s debate The Democratic presidential hopefuls will take part in another debate tonight. Most of us will watch and […]

The post Dems will face off while fact-checkers listen in, plus Washington Post’s The Express hits the end of the line appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 12, 2019, 11:53 am

Source hacking: How trolls manipulate the media

Most people are probably familiar by now with the idea that there are “trolls” on the Internet. That is thanks in part to scandals like GamerGate and the rise of Donald Trump, the Troll-in-Chief. Many trolls have an agenda of some kind—as the infamous Russian Internet Research Agency, accused of seeking to sway the 2016 […]
Posted: September 12, 2019, 11:46 am

A fact-checker predicted which hoax would resurface — and beat it by an hour

Maarten Schenk has studied fake news and hoaxes so exactingly that he managed to predict a group of trolls’ next post. The co-founder of the fact-checking site Lead Stories in Belgium keeps several Twitter columns open whenever tragedy strikes so he can study which claims are getting more attention than just a handful of likes […]

The post A fact-checker predicted which hoax would resurface — and beat it by an hour appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 12, 2019, 11:45 am

Print rediscovers a delightful new dimension

Later this year, DC Entertainment will stop regularly publishing Mad magazine, the humor publication founded in 1952. It means, among other things, the end of one of the more unique and beloved innovations in printed media.  In nearly every issue since 1964, the inside back cover has featured the Mad Fold-In, a visual gag drawn […]
Posted: September 12, 2019, 10:50 am

CNN public editor: Daniel Dale’s fact-checking mission checks out

In June, CNN hired Daniel Dale, a reporter who had become—to the extent possible for reporters—famous, specifically for fact-checking. Soon after, when Donald Trump kicked off his re-election campaign, Dale was on air to discuss.  “TRUMP’S RALLY FEATURED 15+ FALSE CLAIMS OVER 76 MINUTES,” the chyron read. Responding to clips from Trump’s rally, Dale—34, with […]
Posted: September 11, 2019, 5:19 pm

Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming Facebook News tab

More details are trickling out about Facebook’s planned News tab, in which Facebook will pay participating news publishers to display their headlines and article previews, and which is reportedly launching sometime this fall. On Tuesday, The Information published details from an internal Facebook memo with guidelines about how stories will be presented. A few tidbits:...
Posted: September 11, 2019, 3:57 pm

Meet the impact editor: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is now paying someone to ensure its journalism makes a difference

It’s what readers want, it’s what funders want, it’s what editors want, it’s even what reporters want: The elusive yet ever-important impact that hopefully comes after reporting a story. Maybe it’s pageviews, engaged time, a policy change, anonymous donors supporting a profiled family in need, readers converted to paying readers. There’s no standard way to...
Posted: September 11, 2019, 2:52 pm

American newsrooms should employ more people of color, annual ASNE survey finds

Fewer people of color are employed in America’s newsrooms than organizers of a well-known newsroom diversity survey had hoped. Unveiled Tuesday in New Orleans, the American Society of News Editors’ 41st annual Newsroom Diversity Survey showed legacy print newsrooms’ diversity numbers have held steady since last year, still trailing the U.S. population with 22% of […]

The post American newsrooms should employ more people of color, annual ASNE survey finds appeared first on Poynter.

Posted: September 11, 2019, 12:56 pm

New hires hint at how Spotify is thinking about sports and news podcasts

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 225, dated September 10, 2019. Platisher, ye cometh. Spotify has made two interesting personnel moves to bolster its podcast development pipeline around two key genres, sports and news, according to a report by The Information that dropped on Friday. First, the company has hired...
Posted: September 10, 2019, 3:18 pm

I create “convincing” manipulated images and videos — but quality may not matter much

Lots of people — including Congress — are worried about fake videos and imagery distorting the truth, purporting to show people saying and doing things they never said or did. I’m part of a larger U.S. government project that is working on developing ways to detect images and videos that have been manipulated. My team’s work,...
Posted: September 10, 2019, 12:00 pm

“The death of the 15-inch story”: What local news leaders see (and don’t) in the future of the industry

The market failure of the local news industry — advertising that has escaped to the digital platforms — is now a national issue. The Associated Press and New York Times have been reporting on the loss of their lesser-financed local counterparts and grants after grants have been deployed to support new and refreshed local journalism...
Posted: September 9, 2019, 3:45 pm

Local newspapers are suffering, but they’re still (by far) the most significant journalism producers in their communities

Local newspapers have always been the epicenter of local news ecosystems. While communities may have other sources of journalism, such as TV and radio stations and online-only outlets, the bulk of the reporting serving local communities has traditionally been provided by local newspapers. Local newspapers have also been hit particularly hard by the economic challenges...
Posted: September 9, 2019, 3:27 pm

How to experiment with local TV news: It’s really about choosing your own adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure books were a big hit. But what about choose your news? This isn’t quite personalizing algorithms on a news site’s homepage or platforms surfacing different items in your feed. One local TV station let its followers decide the stories shown on its evening newscast. It used GroundSource to collect story ideas...
Posted: September 6, 2019, 2:31 pm

The Atlantic (re)joins the metered paywall club, with digital subscriptions starting at $49.99/year

More than a decade after it dropped its paywall, The Atlantic has joined the growing group of magazine publishers with a meter: Like New York and Wired in 2018, the 162-year-old publisher on Thursday announced that it’s enacting a subscription plan across its site. Users will be able to access five articles each month for...
Posted: September 5, 2019, 12:00 pm

KUOW’s events encouraging people to get to know Muslims, Trump supporters, and more seem to actually be having an impact

When’s the last time you actually talked with someone who was different from you, rather than talked about them? The social fabric of the U.S. has been, in the understatement of the decade, significantly strained over the past few years. People retreated to their social tribes and groups of people they felt comfortable with, repeating...
Posted: September 5, 2019, 11:55 am

The journalism industry needs to invest in childcare, especially for conferences

Both of us are working parents whose jobs demand a good deal of travel, much of which includes conferences and workshops to present our work to peers. Most of these invitations, particularly those in far-flung places, elicit a quick thrill. It doesn’t take long, however, until a cascade of questions emerges: Can my partner rearrange...
Posted: September 4, 2019, 4:55 pm

Unprepared for unpublishing? Here’s how some newsrooms are rethinking what lasts forever

The Internet doesn’t last forever, for everyone. News outlets are notoriously bad at saving their work. Archiving the journalism that you pour blood, sweat, and whatever else into is a crucial step to having a lasting impact. But 19 news organizations out of 21 in a study conducted earlier this year weren’t taking any steps...
Posted: September 4, 2019, 2:29 pm

Young people may download news apps, but they spend very little time with them

Want to see how under-35s are consuming news? You’ve got to get hold of their phones, and that’s exactly what researchers did for a report released this week by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The research was conducted by consulting firm Flamingo for Reuters; it’s intended to complement Reuters’ previously released qualitative...
Posted: September 3, 2019, 4:07 pm

Book publishers are suing Amazon over text captions for audiobooks. What might that mean for podcasts?

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 224, dated September 3, 2019. What happens in the absence of recognition? “I’ve achieved a peculiar sort of success,” said Nate DiMeo, creator of The Memory Palace, when we spoke over the phone last week on the occasion of the podcast being featured as...
Posted: September 3, 2019, 1:00 pm

“At 7,000 members our lives are already changed for the better”: How the Daily Maverick developed its membership program

On August 15, 2018, we announced to attendees of our Media Gathering event in Cape Town the start of our adventures into membership for Daily Maverick. At the time we weren’t entirely sure how we were going to fund December’s payroll. Now, with more than 7,000 members joining us and a 75 percent growth in...
Posted: August 29, 2019, 1:44 pm

People are lining up on the street to get free copies of The New York Times’ 1619 Project

The New York Times’ 1619 Project magazine issue, which reframes American history in light of how it was and continues to be shaped by slavery, has turned out to be one of the must-read, must-discuss works of the summer; nearly two weeks after its publication, it’s still inspiring both rhapsodic praise and conservative backlash. It’s...
Posted: August 29, 2019, 1:30 pm

How publishers are cutting print days — and not losing (too many) subscribers

Cutting print is going to happen. But what’s the best way to make it happen? It’s now inevitable that many newspaper publishers will slash the frequency of their print product. They won’t necessarily change their online output, but will reduce the number of days they spend setting up the newsprint, paying plant workers to assemble...
Posted: August 28, 2019, 4:15 pm

“We realized Spotify for news was exactly the wrong thing to do.” Here’s what Kinzen is doing instead

When Mark Little and Áine Kerr first began thinking about developing a news product, they started going where many people had gone before: A news app, one that would connect content from multiple publishers with readers. But then — unlike most news app developers before them — they had a realization. After two years of testing,...
Posted: August 28, 2019, 1:30 pm

Podcasters now have three plots of land to prospect for gold, where they used to have just one

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 223, dated August 27, 2019. Supply side. Predicting the future is a fool’s game, but then again, I’m at least half a fool. On that note, here’s a future I’ve been mulling over: one in which Apple is no longer the overwhelming end-all of...
Posted: August 27, 2019, 2:37 pm

How writing off the working class has hurt the mainstream media

In June 1951, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard held a two-day conference for labor reporting. Louis Lyons, the curator of the Nieman Foundation at the time, introduced Louis Stark, the longtime New York Times Washington bureau labor reporter, as “the ringleader of the conference.” Stark’s work assembling the conference might have been an...
Posted: August 27, 2019, 2:00 pm

“The tragedy of digital media…is that the people posing as the experts know less about how to make money than their employees, to whom they won’t listen.”

Times are turbulent across digital media: advertising revenue still sucked up by the tech giants, investors nervous about putting in more cash ahead of a potential recession, layoffs and pivots, and people trying to hop on the digital media money train (if it exists) without having an actual plan for quality journalism. That’s the scene...
Posted: August 26, 2019, 4:24 pm

Every crime map needs context. This USC data journalism project aims to scale it

A bunch of money — check. A bunch of local data — check. Brains galore — check. Future of local news? TBD. When University of Southern California professor and Wall Street Journal alum Gabriel Kahn was given part of a grant made to USC’s journalism school, he sat down with a professor in the computer...
Posted: August 26, 2019, 1:56 pm

Three years into nonprofit ownership, The Philadelphia Inquirer is still trying to chart its future

The Philadelphia Inquirer is trying to both build and be the local newsroom of the future — at the same time. The Inquirer was once arguably the nation’s premier metro daily, with a 700-strong newsroom, bureaus around the world, and a run of 17 Pulitzer Prizes in 18 years. But it suffered through a miserable...
Posted: August 22, 2019, 1:44 pm

People avoid consuming news that bums them out. Here are five elements that help them see a solution

More often than not, the news sucks. It’s depressing and disappointing (but hey, so is real life sometimes), and it’s clear that the negative Nellie Blys of the world help push away potential news consumers who can now easily scroll away from a scary headline or recoil from TV news airing in public. Almost a...
Posted: August 22, 2019, 1:26 pm

The Boston Globe continues its regional expansion experiment, with students in a suburb

Earlier this summer, The Boston Globe officially launched its new section focused on Rhode Island after poaching three veteran reporters there. “This is in many ways kind of a digital-age version of what we did many years ago in the suburbs,” Globe editor Brian McGrory told me in June. But now “you don’t have to...
Posted: August 21, 2019, 7:15 pm

The biggest spender on pro-Trump Facebook ads (besides his campaign) “straddles the line between an ultraconservative news outlet and a conspiracy warehouse”

We at Nieman Lab have gotten the question from readers several times: What exactly is The Epoch Times? It publishes in more than 20 languages, including Slovak, Hebrew, and Ukrainian; it’s attached (or not attached?) to the Falun Gong movement and banned in China; it really seems to like Donald Trump. And it has free...
Posted: August 21, 2019, 4:03 pm

How trans journalists are challenging — and changing — journalism

Kate Sosin and Nico Lang landed in Anchorage in March 2018 and got into a Lyft to their hotel. The Lyft driver asked what the pair was doing in town. “I was stupid enough to say, ‘Oh, we’re reporters,’” Sosin recalls. They told the driver they were there to report on Proposition 1, which would have required...
Posted: August 21, 2019, 3:17 pm

Facebook is trying again with journalists for curating its news content

The journalists are back. For now. In the latest update on the coming-this-fall news tab, which will also include payments to publishers for licensing their content, Facebook will be bringing back its human-moderating style. The original system infamously flamed out in the aftermath of a head-scratching Gizmodo article in 2016 about conservative “suppression” that wasn’t...
Posted: August 20, 2019, 5:11 pm