“Da steht das Internet vor einer der wichtigsten Debatten seit seiner Entwicklung, und dann klingt das Wort dafür so spannend wie “Steuererklärung”.”—Warum das Thema trotzdem wichtig ist, erklärt die Süddeutsche.
Craig Silverman at Poynter argues we shouldn’t keep waiting for a Twitter feature to help us deal with misinformation in case of big events such as the Boston marathon bombings. His most useful tip is the first one:
"It’s not the kind of news product the vast majority of the public grew up with. People now see the sausage being made, and receive conflicting information. In many cases, I imagine, they feel overwhelmed, confused and frustrated."
One of the solutions: transparency, transparency, transparency. We need to get better at telling people what we know, how we know it, how sure we are of it, and what we’re still trying to figure out. The challenge is not on Twitter, but on all of us spreading news through their network.
"On the one hand, social media has become so central to a newsroom’s mission that dedicated functionaries may be obsolete. On the other, doesn’t every outlet need a boy or girl wonder to lend a human touch to the Twitter handle?"
Read the story for a great summary of the changes in social journalism from the tactical questions of what to tweet when to the strategic ones, which are much more fun to think about anyway.
“As Samsung has risen, others have failed, often in spectacular fashion: Motorola was split up and its handset business sold to Google. Nokia watched its long-standing No. 1 position erode when it got blindsided by smartphones. The Sony-Ericsson partnership dissolved. Palm disappeared into Hewlett-Packard. BlackBerry continues to be on a 24-hour watch and has had its belt and shoelaces confiscated. When it comes to mobile hardware, today there’s only Apple, Samsung, and a desperate crowd of brands that can’t seem to rise above being called “the rest.””—How Samsung became the world’s number 1 maker of smartphones. Weekend longread from Businessweek.
“We’re having a conversation about something that we both witnessed, and that forces me to work harder and think more seriously.”—Graydon Gordian (who’s a Medill classmate of mine) on his basketball blog, 48 Minutes of Hell. Applies to other types of journalism as well, don’t you think?
“If you recognize something as a fake or untrue, not correcting it can sometimes be as bad as repeating it.”—
David Cohn, serial entrepreneur and founder of journalism startup Circa, to Poynter. A cites fake images circulated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy last year as an example. The Atlantic did some stellar work then, debunking doctored photos.
Fake images, twitter accounts and rumors accompany almost every major news story by now. Seeing how fast news spins, they can be transported widely and take hold in peoples’ minds. Cohn has a point in saying journalists shouldn’t just ignore false alarms, they should actively spread the word about what’s fake along with what’s real.
“When a newspaper moves online, the bundle falls apart. Readers don’t flip through a mix of stories, advertisements, and other bits of content. They go directly to a particular story that interests them, often ignoring everything else.”—
Nicholas Carr in a 2008 column, as quoted by Jay Rosen, who adds:
"That’s a power shift. And it leads directly to: Sources said the website (AllThingsD) is receiving a lot of “inbound interest” from potential buyers…”
“It turns out that instead of Reading About Foreign Policy and Thinking Deeply About the Future of the Economy, we are watching videos of cats hitting walls.”—And we’re talking about it. On the Internet. Great funny read on Jennifer Lawrence and falling down from Washington Post.
“All too often, we see protesters or rebels as just a person carrying a sign or a gun, but we don’t know what motivates them and what they hope to accomplish. By connecting my followers with them, I hope they get to see the world through their eyes, even if it’s just for a few moments.”—
NPR’s Arab Spring storyteller Andy Carvin talks about how he collects, shares and verifies information on Twitter in real time, the differences between Egypt and Libya and why it’s fair to criticize his work.
When he would tell his story, “It made people walk away wanting to be better people, to care more, to remember not only the Holocaust but to remember that we can never be indifferent,” a friend remembers.
“Some students would circle Africa and indicate that it’s Europe, and if asked to locate England and Ireland, they would put them in Africa. I have had students that aren’t able to correctly label the Atlantic Ocean, even though we are on it.”—Some Canadian university students are lost without a map.
“Herein lies one of the most useful, but also saddest, lessons of Hillary Clinton’s career: The best defense against being labeled a raging bitch is to convince people you’re an underdog. The ability to eat shit, to suck it up and earn the affection of skeptical voters or older male colleagues or your cheating husband, again and again, is an essential skill for successful women of Hillary’s generation. A skill that is becoming less essential, sure, but one that few women would declare irrelevant.”—
To me, the two-year experiment at The Daily — which we should all applaud — signals a bigger challenge. Mobile is not merely another form factor, but an entirely new ecosystem that rewards utility. To succeed, companies must solve consumers’ problems.
“In the books sector, in the cold, in the winter dryness, made worse by the fans and all the paper, I jet across the floor in my rubber-soled Adidas, pant legs whooshing against each other, 30 seconds according to my scanner to take 35 steps to get to the right section and row and bin and level and reach for Diary of a Wimpy Kid and “F***!” A hot spark shoots between my hand and the metal shelving. …
In the first two hours of my day, I pick 300 items. The majority of them zap me painfully.”—
Many of us will order holiday gifts over the Internet, with online orders making up the majority of some retail sectors. What we often don’t know is how the items get from that button click to our front door.
“Ein reines Zeitungsunternehmen kann heute nicht mehr erfolgreich sein.”—
Horst Röper, Zeitungsforscher und Geschäftsführer des Formatt-Instituts in Dortmund, auf Zeit Online. Angesichts der Insolvenz der Frankfurter Rundschau und des drohenden Endes der Financial Times Deutschland fragen sich die Autoren, “wer sterben und wer überleben wird” in der deutschen Zeitungslandschaft.
"Die Werbekunden sind das größte Problem für die Zeitungsbranche", schreiben sie. Das ist nicht ganz korrekt, denn das größte Problem der Zeitungsbranche ist die Digitalisierung, die alles durcheinander wirbelt, althergebrachte Geschäftsmodelle auf den Kopf stellt und besonders Tageszeitungen zwingt, ihre Aufgabe ganz neu zu denken.
Darauf kommen die Autoren am Schluss des Textes auch zu sprechen - und machen sogar ein wenig Hoffnung. Hier lesen.
(The linked articles notes that the Israeli army’s Twitter account was briefly suspended. However, this is based on a report in the Daily Dot that does not cite sources for its claim, so I would treat it with caution.)
“GIFs are like the political cartoons of our generation.”—Tumblr’s executive editor Jessica Bennett talks about the blog network’s growing role in the media business and trying to sort through thousands of blog items a day.
I’ve followed UpWorthy for awhile (particularly after a friend said it was a viral startup that actually got news). I read Buzzfeed, too.
What strikes me about it, and this aligns with this Nieman article, is that it’s not about the easy viral story, it’s the viral story that matters to people. And the social bit here is that they plan social.
It’s not ”We wrote this story, now make it go viral via social media.” There is no false ploy to the audience for engagement to make something hopefully resonate with that audience. In an age of digital-first, I think Upworthy (and Buzzfeed) aims to be social-first.
I realize Upworthy is not writing stories. But they are taking stories, making photos, infographics, etc that make the story social without taking away the meaning of it.
I will argue until I am blue in the face that while it is fun to do Storifys about where the best taco in LA is (something I actually did), the opportunity has always been to figure out what about tacos resonates with your audience and write the story with that in mind.
This is the reverse of how many newsrooms operate. We do not produce meaningful content on social. We produce content, and then tack some strange engagement piece onto it to make it social. A thoughtful story about the history of cherry trees is D.C becomes “show us your cherry blossoms.”
Just because people enjoy posting photos of their cat on Instagram does not mean that we must make cat photos on Instagram into news. We should figure out what makes those cat photos do well and apply that lesson to things that matter.
Really, in a way, this is what makes Upworthy different than Buzzfeed. Now the question is, why can’t the rest of us do that?
“So why do journalists spend so much energy talking about [poll results with significant margins of error] like this, as if there’s anything at all to learn from such a roll of the dice? One possibility is a widespread misunderstanding of the limitations of statistical methods and how to interpret measures of uncertainty. But I suspect there’s also a deeper cultural force at play here: Journalists are loathe to admit that the answer cannot be known. “Unexpected Reversal in Polls” is a great headline; “Magic Eight Ball says ‘Sorry, Ask Again Later’” is a story no one wants to write - or read.”—What can be learned from statistician Nate Silver’s election coverage, and why the increased focus on the latest poll numbers is a bad thing.
Memes are all over the election campaign and are changing who gets to define a candidate’s message. “Local reporters and national reporters thought [the phrase ‘You didn’t build that’] was pretty minor, or nothing,” commentator Dave Weigel told Amanda Hess at Poynter. Then it went viral - and became a monthlong talking point.
Now campaigns don’t have to worry about their own gaffes and misspeakings alone, but also about to the hive mind of Internet users everywhere to seize on one phrase and keep passing it along in hundreds of iterations.
Part of the reason these short-lived jokes get so much attention, Hess argues, is that many highly engaged voters and journalists are multitasking while following debates and rallies. That makes it more likely that they’ll notice and grab onto something superficial and funny, however irrelevant that is on the grand scale.
There’s another reason memes spread so far and wide into news coverage, though. It’s really easy to find them. One look at Twitter’s “trending topics” gives you at least two or three highly discussed phrases on any debate night or rally.
Twitter claims that more than half of the messages sent during the third Presidential debate were about the economy. But even millions of messages about the same topic are very difficult to track if they all happen disparately, using different terms and phrases. One catchphrase like “horses and bayonets” however, is highly visible. Both users and reporters will therefore continue to spread the memes.
Twitter would do well to get better at surfacing the more in-depth conversations happening on the service if it doesn’t want to be associated only with an insidery meme culture. Journalists, too, need to wonder whom they’re serving by covering these viral jokes.
Because the question is, do memes swing any votes? Hess is not so sure.