👓 Crowdsourcing trusted news sources can work — but not the way Facebook says it’ll do it | Nieman Journalism Lab

Crowdsourcing trusted news sources can work — but not the way Facebook says it’ll do it by Laura Hazard Owen (Nieman Lab)
A new study finds asking Facebook users about publishers could "be quite effective in decreasing the amount of misinformation and disinformation circulating on social media" — but Facebook will need to make one important change to its plan.
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👓 Can’t Get Your News From Facebook Anymore? Try These 6 Apps | Wired

Can't Get Your News From Facebook Anymore? Try These 6 Apps by Josie Colt (WIRED)
Now that the social network is changing what shows up in your feed, you’ll have to go elsewhere for current news.

I’ll particularly agree with how good I find Nuzzel to be, though I will say that I do take heavy advantage of a variety of highly curated Twitter lists which I’m sure helps the algorithm for the quality of news I get back out of the system.

I would prefer more transparency about how those that use algorithms are doing so.

Some of these don’t amount to much more than glorified RSS feed readers, and I’m shocked that the state of the art of the area isn’t much further along than it was a decade ago.

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👓 Newsonomics: Inside Tronc’s sale of the L.A. Times (and all the new questions to come) | Nieman Lab

Newsonomics: Inside Tronc's sale of the L.A. Times (and all the new questions to come) by Ken Doctor (Nieman Lab)
Tronc is getting a big premium for its flagship asset, and the Times is getting a return to private, local ownership. But a lot of questions remain about where Patrick Soon-Shiong will take his new prize.

An interesting recap on the goings on at the LA Times over the past few years.

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👓 How Facebook Is Killing Comedy | Splitsider

How Facebook Is Killing Comedy by Sarah Aswell (Splitsider)
Last month, in its second round of layoffs in as many years, comedy hub Funny or Die reportedly eliminated its entire editorial team following a trend of comedy websites scaling back, shutting down, or restructuring their business model away from original online content. Hours after CEO Mike Farah delivered the news via an internal memo, Matt Klinman took to Twitter, writing, “Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.” It was a strong sentiment for the longtime comedy creator, who started out at UCB and The Onion before launching Pitch, the Funny or Die-incubated joke-writing app, in 2017.

This article really has so much. It also contains a microcosm of what’s been happening in journalism recently as well. I have a feeling that if outlets like Funny or Die were to go back and own their original content, there would still be a way for them to exist, we just need to evolve the internet away from the centralized direction we’ve been moving for the past decade and change.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

eliminated its entire editorial team following a trend of comedy websites scaling back, shutting down, or restructuring their business model away from original online content.  Hours after CEO Mike Farah delivered the news via an internal memo, Matt Klinman took to Twitter, writing, “Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.” It was a strong sentiment for the longtime comedy creator, who started out at UCB and The Onion before launching Pitch, the Funny or Die-incubated joke-writing app, in 2017.


“Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.”


The whole story is basically that Facebook gets so much traffic that they started convincing publishers to post things on Facebook. For a long time, that was fine. People posted things on Facebook, then you would click those links and go to their websites. But then, gradually, Facebook started exerting more and more control of what was being seen, to the point that they, not our website, essentially became the main publishers of everyone’s content. Today, there’s no reason to go to a comedy website that has a video if that video is just right on Facebook. And that would be fine if Facebook compensated those companies for the ad revenue that was generated from those videos, but because Facebook does not pay publishers, there quickly became no money in making high-quality content for the internet.


Facebook has created a centrally designed internet. It’s a lamer, shittier looking internet.


The EU has a bunch of laws kicking in to keep this in check — one is algorithmic transparency, where these places need to tell me why they are showing me something.


If someone at Facebook sees this, I want them to know, if they care at all about the idea that was the internet, they need to start thinking through what they are doing. Otherwise, then you’re just like Lennie from Of Mice and Men — a big dumb oaf crushing the little mouse of the internet over and over and not realizing it.


And I want it to feel that way to other people so that when they go to a cool website, they are inspired: They see human beings putting love and care into something.


Facebook is essentially running a payola scam where you have to pay them if you want your own fans to see your content.


It’s like if The New York Times had their own subscriber base, but you had to pay the paperboy for every article you wanted to see.


And then it becomes impossible to know what a good thing to make is anymore.

This is where webmentions on sites can become valuable. People posting “read” posts or “watch” posts (or even comments) indicating that they saw something could be the indicator to the originating site that something is interesting/valuable and could be displayed by that site. (This is kind of like follower counts, but for individual pieces of content, so naturally one would need to be careful about gaming.)


Here’s another analogy, and I learned this in an ecology class: In the 1800s (or something), there were big lords, or kings or something, who had giant estates with these large forests. And there were these foresters who had this whole notion of how to make a perfectly designed forest, where the trees would be pristinely manicured and in these perfect rows, and they would get rid of all the gross stuff and dirt. It was just trees in a perfect, human-devised formation that you could walk through. Within a generation, these trees were emaciated and dying. Because that’s how a forest works — it needs to be chaotic. It needs bugs and leaves, it makes the whole thriving ecosystem possible. That’s what this new internet should be. It won’t survive as this human-designed, top-down thing that is optimized for programmatic ads. It feels like a desert. There’s no nutrition, there’s no opportunity to do anything cool.


Recommending things for people is a personal act, and there are people who are good at it. There are critics. There are blogs. It’s not beneficial to us to turn content recommendations over to an algorithm, especially one that’s been optimized for garbage.


the internet was a better place 3-4 years ago. It used to be fruitful, but it’s like a desert now.


Facebook is the great de-contextualizer.

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👓 Introducing the New Owners of L.A. Weekly | L.A. Weekly

And the New Owners Are ... by Brian Calle (L.A. Weekly)
The L.A. Weekly group is made up of several investors including Brian Calle, formerly of the Southern California News Group; David Welch, an L.A.-based attorney; Kevin Xu, a philanthropist and investor; Steve Mehr, an attorney and investor; Paul Makarechian, a boutique hotel developer; Mike Mugel, a real estate redeveloper; and Andy Bequer, a Southern California–based investor. And Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley’s law school, also plans to invest.

I wonder if the original post asking who the new owners of the L.A. Weekly were was simply a PR stunt now? If so, it was a well planned stunt.

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👓 Who Owns L.A. Weekly? | L.A. Weekly

Who Owns L.A. Weekly? by Keith Plocek (L.A. Weekly)
Who owns the publication you’re reading right now? It’s a question you should ask no matter what you’re reading. In Latin there’s a phrase cui bono, which roughly translates as “who is benefiting?” It’s a good idea to know who is profiting in any situation. Why? So you can make educated decisions.

If things are as potentially as nefarious as they sound here, I’m archiving a copy of this article to the Internet Archive now, just in case the new owners notice and it disappears.

In honor of Dodging the Memory Hole 2017 this week, for free (hosting and domain registration not included) I’ll offer to build one journalist or academic a basic IndieWeb-capable WordPress-based portfolio website to display and archive their personal work.

Preference will be given to those in attendance at the conference, but any who need an “author platform” for their work are welcome. Comment or reply below by 11/25/17 to enter.

 

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👓 Journalists Boycott Disney Films After L.A. Times Snub | Hollywood Reporter

Journalists Boycott Disney Films After L.A. Times Snub (The Hollywood Reporter)
The L.A. Times is currently barred from attending advance screenings of Disney movies.

I’m betting this doesn’t end well for Disney’s corporate image. How shortsighted can they be?

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👓 Aram Zucker-Scharff named Ad Engineering Director for RED | The Washington Post

Aram Zucker-Scharff named Ad Engineering Director for RED (Washington Post)
He will be focused on developing and launching new ad products that will be offered to clients on and off The Washington Post.
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👓 Reply rate of the top 10 journalists on Twitter | Matt Maldre

Reply rate of the top 10 journalists on Twitter by Matt Maldre (mattmaldre.com)
Barkha Dutt of the Washington Post is the most-engaged top journalist on Twitter. 64% of the reporter’s tweets are at-replies. That’s how to use Twitter–as an engagement platform, not a broadcast platform. How do the other most-followed journalists on Twitter rate with their response level? Poynter published a list of the the most-followed journalists on Twitter:

This article has some interesting data, but I’m not sure that the emphasis on the value of replies is necessarily the correct one. Journalists have a specific job and work in specific media, so I don’t think necessarily that their reply rate on Twitter is something that should be gamified this way. First one should look at what the individual’s needs, wants, and aims are for using the platform. Also, are these “corporate” accounts or “personal” accounts? The distinction here can make all the difference.

Other useful questions to ask:
Are they using the platform as a tool to do their work? Are they using it simply for PR? What other avenues do they use to reach their viewers? Are they using it to disseminate actual news? Does their beat dictate specific needs for Twitter? (Tech journalists may be more heavy Twitter users, for example.)

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👓 How Mic.com exploited social justice for clicks | The Outline

Mic's Drop: How Mic.com exploited social justice for clicks, and then abandoned a staff that believed in it. (The Outline)
For about five years, Mic.com was a place where readers could go to get moral clarity. In the Mic universe, heroes fought for equality against villains who tried to take it away. Every day, there was someone, like plus-size model Ashley Graham, to cheer for, and someone else, like manspreaders, to excoriate. Kim Kardashian annihilated slut shamers, George Takei clapped back at transphobes. “In a Single Tweet, One Man Beautifully Destroys the Hypocrisy of Anti-Muslim Bigotry.” “This Brave Woman's Horrifying Photo Has Become a Viral Rallying Cry Against Sexual Harassment.” “Young Conservative Tries to Mansplain Hijab in Viral Olympic Photo, Gets It All Wrong.” “The Problematic Disney Body Image Trend We're Not Talking About.” “The Very Problematic Reason This Woman Is Taking a Stand Against Leggings.”

It’s disappointing to see such a huge disconnect between publishers and their journalistic staff. There’s also a business take away in that things typically won’t bode well in the long term when things like this happen. It’s going to be far more difficult for the publishers to find their way going forward.

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👓 Creating an archive of my online writing, from 2002-2017 | Richard MacManus

Creating an archive of my online writing, from 2002-2017 by Richard MacManus (richardmacmanus.com)
I’ve just spent an inordinate amount of time creating an archive of all my past online writing work, in particular of the tech blog I founded ReadWriteWeb. I thought I’d outline my reasons for doing this, and why I ended up relying heavily on the Internet Archive instead of the original website sources.

Journalists, take note of how Richard MacManus created an online archive of his writing work!

I’m sure it took a tremendous amount of work given his long history of writing, but he’s now got a great archive as well as a nearly complete online portfolio of his work. If you haven’t done this or have just started out, here are some potentially useful resources to guide your thoughts.

I’m curious how others are doing this type of online archive. Feel free to share your methods.

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Dodging the Memory Hole 2017 Conference at the Internet Archive November 15-16, 2017

Interested in Attending https://www.rjionline.org/events/dodging-the-memory-hole-2017
Please join us at Dodging the Memory Hole 2017: Saving Online News on Nov. 15-16 at the Internet Archive headquarters in San Francisco. Speakers, panelists and attendees will explore solutions to the most urgent threat to cultural memory today — the loss of online news content. The forum will focus on progress made in and successful models of long-term preservation of born-digital news content. Journalistic content published on websites and through social media channels is ephemeral and easily lost in a tsunami of digital content. Join professional journalists, librarians, archivists, technologists and entrepreneurs in addressing the urgent need to save the first rough draft of history in digital form. The two-day forum — funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant awarded to the Journalism Digital News Archive, UCLA Library and the Educopia Institute — will feature thought leaders, stakeholders and digital preservation practitioners who are passionate about preserving born-digital news. Sessions will include speakers, multi-member panels, lightning round speakers and poster presenters examining existing initiatives and novel practices for protecting and preserving online journalism.

I attended this conference at UCLA in Fall 2016; it was fantastic! I highly recommend it to journalists, coders, Indieweb enthusiasts, publishers, and others interested in the related topics covered.

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