👓 The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world | Columbia Journalism Review

Read The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world by Mathew Ingram (Columbia Journalism Review)

Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programs and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.

The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model—largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue—has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a lifeline. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, are happy to oblige, flush with cash from their ongoing dominance of the digital ad market.

The result is a somewhat dysfunctional alliance. People in the media business (including some on the receiving end of the cash) see the tech donations as guilt money, something journalism deserves because Google and Facebook wrecked their business. The tech giants, meanwhile, are desperate for some good PR and maybe even a few friends in a journalistic community that—especially now—can seem openly antagonistic.

A stunning and relatively detailed overview of where we’ve been in the last several years on the journalism front with too many questions about where we may be going.

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👓 This Is How a Newspaper Dies | Politico

Read This Is How a Newspaper Dies by Jack Shafer (POLITICO Magazine)
It’s with a spasm of profits.

This article outlines an intriguing method for plundering the carcass of a dying business to reap as much profit from it as it dies as one can. I suppose that if one is sure a segment is on its way out, one may as well exploit its customers to turn a profit.

I wonder how long it will take for traditional television and cable related businesses to begin using this model as more and more people cut the cord.

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I just submitted a workshop/presentation proposal to WordCamp for Publishers: Chicago (Aug 8-10) on the topic of applying IndieWeb principles and new W3C recommended open web standards to publishing. I’m particularly excited because their theme is “Taking Back The Open Web”!

Fingers crossed!

Call for Speakers

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👓 Opinion: Silicon Valley Can’t Be Trusted With Our History | Buzz Feed

Read Opinion: Silicon Valley Can't Be Trusted With Our History by Evan HillEvan Hill (BuzzFeed)

We create almost everything on the internet, but we control almost none of it.

As time passes, I fear that more and more of what happened in those days will live only in memory. The internet has slowly unraveled since 2011: Image-hosting sites went out of business, link shorteners shut down, tweets got deleted, and YouTube accounts were shuttered. One broken link at a time, one of the most heavily documented historical events of the social media era could fade away before our eyes.

If Edward McCain (t) hasn’t come across this article yet, it might make an interesting case study for this year’s Dodging the Memory Hole conference. Definitely an interesting case of people archiving their online content.

cc: Journalism Digital News Archive (t); Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (t)

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👓 Twitter Pushing More News Links In The Home Timeline | BuzzFeed

Read Twitter Pushing More News Links In The Home Timeline by Alex Kantrowitz (BuzzFeed)
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the new Twitter feature to BuzzFeed News. Twitter's aggressive move into news continues.
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🔖 Identifying Modes of User Engagement with Online News and Their Relationship to Information Gain in Text by Nir Grinberg

Bookmarked Identifying Modes of User Engagement with Online News and Their Relationship to Information Gain in Text by Nir GrinbergNir Grinberg (dl.acm.org)
Prior work established the benefits of server-recorded user engagement measures (e.g. clickthrough rates) for improving the results of search engines and recommendation systems. Client-side measures of post-click behavior received relatively little attention despite the fact that publishers have now the ability to measure how millions of people interact with their content at a fine resolution using client-side logging. In this study, we examine patterns of user engagement in a large, client-side log dataset of over 7.7 million page views (including both mobile and non-mobile devices) of 66,821 news articles from seven popular news publishers. For each page view we use three summary statistics: dwell time, the furthest position the user reached on the page, and the amount of interaction with the page through any form of input (touch, mouse move, etc.). We show that simple transformations on these summary statistics reveal six prototypical modes of reading that range from scanning to extensive reading and persist across sites. Furthermore, we develop a novel measure of information gain in text to capture the development of ideas within the body of articles and investigate how information gain relates to the engagement with articles. Finally, we show that our new measure of information gain is particularly useful for predicting reading of news articles before publication, and that the measure captures unique information not available otherwise.

Bookmarked to read as result of reading The five ways we read online (and what publishers can do to encourage the “good” ones).

[.pdf] copy available on author’s site.

👓 The five ways we read online (and what publishers can do to encourage the “good” ones) | Nieman Lab

Read The five ways we read online (and what publishers can do to encourage the “good” ones) by Laura Hazard Owen (Nieman Lab)
New metrics specifically for news articles.

I love that there’s research1 going on in this area and it portends some potentially great things for reading, but the devil’s advocate in me can also see a lot of adtech people salivating over the potential dark patterns lurking in such research. I can almost guarantee that Facebook is salivating over this, though to be honest, they’ve really pioneered the field haven’t they, just in a much smaller area of use. Of course I’m also curious if they did or are planning any research in how people read content on social media?

I wonder what it would look/feel like to take each of these modalities and apply them individually for long periods of time to everything one read? Or to use them in rotation regardless of the subject being read? Or other permutations? I suppose in general I like to read how I like to read, but now I’m going to be more conscious of what and how I’m doing it all.

References

1.
Grinberg N. Identifying Modes of User Engagement with Online News and Their Relationship to Information Gain in Text. WWW ’18 Proceedings of the 2018 World Wide Web Conference. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3186180. Published April 23, 2018. Accessed April 27, 2018.
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👓 Why Are Newspaper Websites So Horrible? | City Lab

Read Why Are Newspaper Websites So Horrible? by Andrew Zaleski (CityLab)
Blame Google, for a start.

Nothing great or new here. Also no real solutions, though knowing some of the history and the problems, does help suggest possible solutions.

h/t to @ajzaleski, bookmarked on April 19, 2018 at 01:17PM

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🎧 Gillmor Gang 05.13.17: Doc Soup | Tech Crunch

Listened to Gillmor Gang: Doc Soup by Steve Gillmor, Doc Searls, Keith Teare, Frank Radice from TechCrunch

Recorded live Saturday, May 13, 2017. The Gang takes nothing off the table as Doc describes a near future of personal APIs and CustomerTech.

Keith outlines an excellent thesis about media moving from “one to many” to increasingly becoming “one to one”. It points out the issue for areas like journalism, which can become so individualized, and democracy which often rely on being able to see the messages that are given out to the masses being consistent. One of the issues with Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica problem is that many people were getting algrorithmic customized messages (true or not) that had the ability to nudge them in certain directions. This creates a lot more control on the part of major corporations which would have been far less likely when broadcasting the exact same message to millions. In the latter case, the message for the masses can be discussed, analyzed, picked apart, and dealt with because it is known. In the former case, no one knows what the message was except for the person who received it and it’s far less likely that they analyzed and discussed it in the same way that it would have been previously.

In the last portion of the show, Doc leads with some discussion about identity and privacy from the buyer’s perspective. Companies selling widgets don’t necessarily need to collect massive amounts of data about us to sell widgets. It’s the seller’s perspective and the over-reliance on advertising which has created the capitalism surveillance state we’re sadly living within now.

In the closing minutes of the show Steve re-iterated that the show was a podcast, but that it’s now all about streaming and as such, there is no longer an audio podcast version of the show. I’ll have something to say about this shortly for those looking for alternatives, because this just drives me crazy…

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👓 Building a Text Editor for a Digital-First Newsroom | Times Open (Medium)

Read Building a Text Editor for a Digital-First Newsroom by Sophia Ciocca (Times Open | Medium)
An inside look at the inner workings of a technology you may take for granted

A topic which is tremendously overlooked in the CMS world, but which can provide a lot of power.

h/t Jorge Spinoza

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IndieWeb Journalism in the Wild

Some tidbits I really appreciate about John Naughton's website

I noticed a few days ago that professor and writer John Naughton not only has his own website but that he’s posting both his own content to it as well as (excerpted) content he’s writing for other journalistic outlets, lately in his case for The Guardian. This is awesome for so many reasons. The primary reason is that I can follow him via his own site and get not only his personally posted content, which informs his longer pieces, but I don’t need to follow him in multiple locations to get the “firehose” of everything he’s writing and thinking about. While The Guardian and The Observer are great, perhaps I don’t want to filter through multiple hundreds of articles to find his particular content or potentially risk missing it?  What if he was writing for 5 or more other outlets? Then I’d need to delve in deeper still and carry a multitude of subscriptions and their attendant notifications to get something that should rightly emanate from one location–him! While he may not be posting his status updates or Tweets to his own website first–as I do–I’m at least able to get the best and richest of his content in one place. Additionally, the way he’s got things set up, The Guardian and others are still getting the clicks (for advertising sake) while I still get the simple notifications I’d like to have so I’m not missing what he writes.

His site certainly provides an interesting example of either POSSE or PESOS in the wild, particularly from an IndieWeb for Journalism or even an IndieWeb for Education perspective. I suspect his article posts occur on the particular outlet first and he’s excerpting them with a link to that “original”. (Example: A post on his site with a link to a copy on The Guardian.) I’m not sure whether he’s (ideally) physically archiving the full post there on his site (and hiding it privately as both a personal and professional portfolio of sorts) or if they’re all there on the respective pages, but just hidden behind the “read more” button he’s providing. I will note that his WordPress install is giving a rel=”canonical link to itself rather than the version at The Guardian, which also has a rel=”canonical” link on it. I’m curious to take a look at how Google indexes and ranks the two pages as a result.

In any case, this is a generally brilliant set up for any researcher, professor, journalist, or other stripe of writer for providing online content, particularly when they may be writing for a multitude of outlets.

I’ll also note that I appreciate the ways in which it seems he’s using his website almost as a commonplace book. This provides further depth into his ideas and thoughts to see what sources are informing and underlying his other writing.

Alas, if only the rest of the world used the web this way…

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Reply to Justin Heideman on Twitter

Replied to a tweet by Justin Heideman (Twitter)

There are some interesting thoughts here about archiving news pages online. It also subtly highlights the importance of having one’s own domain to be able to redirect pages from their originals to archived versions, possibly containing different technological support. This article is sure to be of interest to folks in the Journalism Digital News Archive/Dodging the Memory Hole Camp (#DtMH2017)

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Taking Over Local News | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Taking Over Local News by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

On local TV stations across the United States, news anchors have been delivering the exact same message to their viewers. “Our greatest responsibility,” they begin by saying, “is to serve our communities.”

But what they are being forced to say next has left many questioning whom those stations are really being asked to serve.



On today’s episode:

• Sydney Ember, a New York Times business reporter who covers print and digital media.

• Aaron Weiss, who worked several years ago as a news director for Sinclair in Sioux City, Iowa.

Background reading:

• Anchors at local news stations across the country made identical comments about media bias. The script came from their owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

• David D. Smith, the chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, said his stations were no different from network news outlets.

• The largest owner of local TV stations, Sinclair has a history of supporting Republican causes.

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🔖 CNN Lite

Bookmarked CNN Lite (lite.cnn.io)
An uber low bandwidth and text only version of CNN. View the latest news and breaking news today for U.S., world, weather, entertainment, politics and health at CNN.com.

I just ran across a text-only version of CNN and I’m really wishing that more websites would do this. It’s like AMP, but even leaner!

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👓 Congrats, Jeff Goldberg. You Just Martyred Kevin Williamson | POLITICO

Read Congrats, Jeff Goldberg. You Just Martyred Kevin Williamson. by Jack Shafer (POLITICO Magazine)
The <i>Atlantic</i> climbed out on a limb by adding Williamson to its staff. Then they proceeded to saw off the branch.

I noted the hire of Williamson with curiosity when it happened, but I expected it might last a tad longer than this. At least he managed longer than Quinn Norton did at the New York Times, but both seemingly gone for relatively similar reasons.

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