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BuzzFeed’s new editorial standards tout traditional news values

BuzzFeed Friday published its Editorial Standards And Ethics Guide, and most of the guidelines will look familiar to journalists.

Spanning traditional topics like conflict of interest and newer media guidelines like selfie-snapping, BuzzFeed’s ethical standards look like those upheld by many journalism organizations, with a few twists. Here are some excerpts:

On the deletion of stories:

Editorial posts should never be deleted for reasons related to their content, or because a subject or stakeholder has asked you to do so.

On paying for interviews:

We do not pay sources for interviews. If an interview incurs costs to a source through travel or work compensation lost, we may be able to reimburse them, but check with your editor before agreeing to do so.

On providing advance questions:

Giving a subject a general sense of the direction of the interview is fine, but we should decline to provide questions to subjects in advance of an in-person interview.

On the use of graphic content:

Generally speaking, we will embed or link to the graphic content we are writing about. We have technical tools that give our readers the opportunity to opt in to view graphic content.

Swearing is OK:

Profanity: We speak the language of the internet — which is often hilarious and often profane. As such, profanity is permitted on BuzzFeed; but see the BuzzFeed Style Guide for more information on how to style it responsibly.

Don’t snap selfies with celebrities:

Selfies are fantastic and you should take them as often as possible with friends and loved ones. But when celebrity visitors come to a BuzzFeed office, please don’t ask for photographs unless the staffer who brought them in has checked that it’s OK.

On public activism:

But when it comes to activism, BuzzFeed editorial must follow the lead of our editors and reporters who come out of a tradition of rigorous, neutral journalism that puts facts and news first. If we don’t, it makes it harder for those reporters to do their jobs.

On political speech:

While we understand that many BuzzFeed editorial staffers are passionate and thoughtful and hold personal views on policy issues or candidates, we must maintain one blanket rule for all of editorial: Political partisanship may not be expressed in public forums, including Twitter and Facebook.

On potential conflicts of interest:

Our investors have no influence on our reporting, and reporters should not take any special note of investors’ views or interests.

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Australian obit that called an author ‘plain of feature, and certainly overweight,’ leads to #myozobituary

The Guardian | The Daily Dot | The Mary Sue

Colleen McCullough, the late author of “The Thorn Birds,” died on Thursday, Elle Hunt reported Friday for The Guaridan. Her obituary on Friday in The Australian resulted in the hashtag #myozobituary.

In Friday’s edition of the Australian, the bestselling author of The Thorn Birds – which sold 30m copies worldwide – is remembered as “plain of feature, and certainly overweight, [but] nevertheless a woman of wit and warmth” in the first paragraph.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw wrote Friday for The Daily Dot about the hashtag.

Some of these hashtag obituaries are pretty funny, but they expose a grim truth: If you’re a woman, it’s practically impossible to escape being judged by your appearance.

Sam Maggs reported on it as well for The Mary Sue.

The incredible classiness and inarguable misogyny of the obituary did not go ignored by the internet, and #MyOzObituary has been trending on Twitter to some fairly hilarious results.

All three pieces include some tweets, and here are a few more, from journalists and writers.

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AP style tips for the Super Bowl: Avoid ‘Hail Mary’

The Lombardi Trophy at a news conference for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Lombardi Trophy at a news conference for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

If you’re covering the Super Bowl on Sunday instead of watching it (or just watching the commercials), you probably know the correct style to use for every player and play. In case you’re not a sports reporter and may end up writing about the game, the fans or the players anyway, here’s a quick look at some common football terms from the Associated Press Stylebook.

Some football positions:

Cornerback, defensive end, defensive tackle, fullback, halfback, left guard, linebacker, lineman, running back, quarterback, tailback, tight end and wide receiver.

In a 2012 Super Bowl style guide, the AP advises:

Spell out a player’s position on first reference. In follow-ups, mix in QB for quarterback, RB for running back, FB for fullback, WR for wide receiver, TE for tight end, DE for defensive end, DT for defensive tackle, LB for linebacker or CB for cornerback (though never just corner).

Some game terms:

Blitz, out of bounds, end line, end zone, pitchout, fair catch, place kick, field goal, play off (verb), playoff (noun, adjective), goal line, goal-line stand, halftime, handoff, kick off (v.), kickoff (noun, adjective), touchback and touchdown.

According to the AP on phrasing: “yards passing, yards receiving, touchdowns rushing, etc. Not passing yards, receiving yards, rushing touchdowns.”

Years vs. Roman numerals:

Use the year the game is played.

Except in formal reference as a literary device, pro football Super Bowls should be identified by the year – not the season – played, rather than the Roman numerals: 1969 Super Bowl, not Super Bowl III.

Also, use figures for yardage and yard lines.

Don’t use ‘fumblerooski:’

Finally, from 2012, a few more distinctions:

A field goal clears the crossbar, not the goal posts.
Avoid “Hail Mary.” Use desperation pass instead.
Don’t use “fumblerooski” for a strange turnover. Describe the play.
It’s end zone, not pay dirt.
No such thing as a “forward lateral.” A lateral is tossed sideways or backward.
Only a quarterback gets sacked. Other ball carriers are tackled for a loss.

Related: What you can learn about video storytelling from the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial Read more

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A Dutch man tried to get on air with a fake gun

TV Newser | Associated Press

On Thursday night, a 19-year-old Dutch man carrying a gun tried to get on the air in Hilversum, Netherlands, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Chris Ariens wrote about the incident for TVNewser, reporting that the young man was led into an empty studio by a security guard while the rest of the NOS newsroom was evacuated. Once police arrived, they learned the gun the man was carrying was fake.

According to the AP, the incident took the news program off the air “for the first time in 60 years.”

NOS director Jan de Jong told his broadcaster’s radio network that he would meet with police and the local mayor in Hilversum to discuss whether security — already beefed up since the Charlie Hebdo attack — needs to be further strengthened.
De Jong paid tribute to the security guard who led the teenager into an empty TV studio and kept speaking to him throughout the ordeal, which forced the 8 p.m. news off the air for the first time in 60 years.

Here’s the video:

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Mitt Romney isn’t running, despite reports to the contrary

Both Bloomberg and The Daily Beast reported this morning that perennial GOP hopeful Mitt Romney was making a third run for the presidency.

Earlier in the day, Bloomberg Politics published a story by “Game Change” scribe Mark Halperin titled “Why Mitt Romney Thinks He Can Win (and Jeb Bush Can’t),” that indicated Romney would make an announcement Friday morning.

Hours later, The Daily Beast trumpeted an exclusive on Twitter:

And then again:

Before reversing itself:

Bloomberg followed The Daily Beast’s lead, citing its inaccurate report:

BloombergHed

Shortly afterward, Bloomberg reversed itself and appended the following correction:

Correction: This story was based on an article from The Daily Beast, which contained inaccurate information. A statement released by Mitt Romney today clearly states he is not exploring a 2016 presidential bid.

Mitt

The Daily Beast has changed the headline of its original story and notes that the most recent news contradicts its earlier story. But the URL of the story remains the same:

DailyBeastURL Read more

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Video news app Watchup partners with SB Nation

Watchup added SB Nation to its list of channels Friday, making the sports site the third Vox Media property to partner with the video app.

The channel, which is already live on Watchup, features a Super Bowl preview edition of “Uffsides,” SB Nation’s weekly NFL podcast, and a video explaining why Arizona is a good fit for the Super Bowl.

Watchup, a free app that aims to be “Hulu for news junkies,” has gained momentum among news outlets since it won a 2012 Knight News Challenge grant. Early last year, CEO Adriano Farano announced a partnership with The Washington Post to display its video content. And earlier this month, the app began running content from Vox.com, The Verge, Fusion and AJ+.

In November, the app raised $2.75 million from investors including Tribune Media and The McClatchy Company. Read more

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Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.07.59 AM

Outsports will cover the Super Bowl from the press box

Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler will cover the Super Bowl from Arizona on Sunday in what Outsports reports is the first time a gay media outlet has been credentialed to cover the Super Bowl.

Outsports readers are probably used to seeing co-founder and manager Jim Buzinski’s annual “Gay Guide to the Super Bowl,” but this year they’ll also see more in-depth coverage, including an exploration of “how a gay player would fit in the aftermath of Michael Sam coming out and why people think he’s not in the league,” Buzinski said in an email. As the SEC defensive player of the year in 2013 and a St. Louis Rams 2014 draft pick, Sam was widely expected to be on an NFL roster when the season began. He was cut by the Rams and was not on any team’s active roster at any point this season.

This was Outsports’ first try at getting credentials to sit in the press box, and Buzinski calls this first Super Bowl an Outsports “milestone.”

Without the press credentials, Outsports would have been writing about the game only minimally because the cost of attending would have been prohibitive. Reuters puts the average cost of a resold ticket at around $3,000.

There was no problem getting credentials from the NFL this year, Buzinski said. Outsports’ story about the credentials emphasized that the NFL administration is “incredibly supportive” of LGBT issues and Outsports in particular. The story notes that perhaps the lack of credentialed gay media at previous Super Bowls was simply a result of media not requesting credentials.

The fact that this is the first time the NFL has credentialed an LGBT publication may be more a factor of the publications than the NFL. Out magazine editors Aaron Hicklin and Jerry Portwood said they weren’t sure the magazine had ever submitted a request. Though one other LGBT publication said they had requested a credential but never heard back. So it may be more – or as much – a function of lack of requests than lack of granting said requests.

In the past, when they’ve been denied credentials to cover a game in another sport, Outsports has given “The Powers That Be” the chance to reconsider by employing the classic technique of promised future transparency, favored by FOI-requesters everywhere. “A few times some events have temporarily denied us,” Buzinski said. “And when I said I wanted to write a story on their reasons for rejecting us when we’ve been credentialed in the past by the NFL, NBA and Major Leaue Baseball, the credential magically is approved.”

You can follow Outsports as they follow the big game here, and on Twitter, here and here. Read more

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Career Beat: The Economist gets 2 deputy editors

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Tom Standage is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was digital editor there. Edward Carr is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was foreign editor there. (@tomstandage)
  • Ross Gagnon is now insights director at Forbes. Previously, he was a senior quantitative analyst for J.D. Power and Associates. (Email)
  • John Judis will be a senior writer at National Journal. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (Email)
  • Brendan Banaszak is now director of collaborative news strategy at NPR. Previously, he was a producer there. Lynette Clemetson is now senior director of strategy and content initiatives at NPR. Previously, she was director of editorial initiatives there. John Stefany will be director of strategic projects at NPR. Previously, he was manager of new content projects there. (Poynter)
  • Melinda Henneberger is now a senior writer at Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she wrote about politics and culture for The Washington Post. Jennifer Epstein will be a correspondent for Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she was a White House reporter for Politico. (Capital New York)

Job of the day: The Tampa Bay Times is looking for a business reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more

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How white is your public radio voice?

Good morning and a very happy Friday to you. Here are 11 media stories.

  1. ‘Challenging The Whiteness Of Public Radio.’

    On Thursday evening, NPR's CodeSwitch held a Twitter chat about Chenjerai Kumanyika's essay "Challenging The Whiteness Of Public Radio." (NPR) | Here's a Storify of the chat. (Storify) | "#pubradiovoice People freak out about my name." (@Maria_Hinojosa) | "My favorite, the backhanded compliment -- 'You sound more American on the radio.' #pubradiovoice" (@asmamk) | "A woman in Detroit asked me why ppl on @NPR sound white when they're reporting & then say their names with an accent." (@CelesteHeadlee)

  2. A political cartoonist's site is being hacked

    Daryl Cagle has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $85,000. Hosting DarylCagle.com has gotten more and more expensive as hackers try (and sometimes succeed) to take the site down. (DarylCagle.com) | Cagle has made a collection of Charlie Hebdo cartoons from many cartoonists available to print and display as an exhibit for free through the College Media Association. (NYC15)

  3. TechCrunch's illustrated response to Newsweek's cover includes a middle finger

    The URL for the piece is also a good read. http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/29/ethics-in-cursor-molestation-journalism/ (TechCrunch) | Related: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/style/this-story-is-funny-you-should-read-it.html?_r=1 (The New York Times)

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 9.43.25 AM

  4. Threats to journalists around the world

    Journalist Khadija Ismayilova's jail sentence has been extended by two months in Azerbaijan. Ismayilova reported on the financial activities of the president's family. (RFE/RL) | Rinko Jogo issued a public statement calling for the release of her husband, Kenji Goto. Goto, a Japanese journalist, is being held in Syria by the Islamic State. (Reporters Without Borders) | Hashim al-Khalidi and Seif Obeidat of Saraya News have been arrested in Jordan. The news site's owner and editor-in-chief are accused of aiding terrorists. (Committee to Protect Journalists) | Mexican journalist José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo was found dead last weekend. The journalist, who owns La Unión, had been missing since the start of the year. (Committee to Protect Journalists)

  5. The media and Marshawn Lynch

    The Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch appeared at a press conference on Thursday. He didn't say much. (ESPN) | Bryan Curtis wrote Thursday about what it's like to be one of the reporters trying to get Lynch to say something (other than "You know why I'm here.") (Grantland) | "If we’ve learned one thing from the enigmatic running back over the years, he’s on to our game. He understands full well that one sound bite or one word is what’s going to define the entire media session." (Forbes)

  6. 'Links offer your readers reasons to leave.'

    De Correspondent, a Dutch news site, has three alternatives to the traditional links -- info cards, side notes and featured links. (Medium) | Previously: De Correspondent is more than a year old and started from a crowd-funding initiative. (Nieman Lab)

  7. The Reno Gazette-Journal has made Burning Man a beat

    Jenny Kane is the paper's first full-time Burning Man reporter. (CJR)

  8. It's Friday. Here are some broadcast journalism bloopers

    This TV journalism blooper reel is 10 minutes. I bet you watch the whole thing. (The Daily Dot)

  9. You could win a bowler hat

    The deadline for The Eddie, from the Edwin Gould Foundation, is Feb. 15. The Eddie honors "works of journalism that help to further the national conversation about low-income college completion." And the first place prize comes with $10,000 and a bowler hat. (Edwin Gould Foundation) | The deadline for IWMF's Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award is Feb. 1. (IWMF) | The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy has announced finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Finalists come from The Boston Globe, the Miami Herald, The Post and Courier, ProPublica and NPR, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. The winner will be announced on March 3. (Shorenstein Center)

  10. Front page of the day, selected by Seth Liss

    From the Pensacola News Journal, the city's airport has been temporarily renamed Pensacola Intergalactic Airport in honor of the city's Comic Con. (Courtesy the Newseum)
     

    FL_PNJ

  11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Tom Standage is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was digital editor there. Edward Carr is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was foreign editor there. (@tomstandage) | Ross Gagnon is now insights director at Forbes. Previously, he was a senior quantitative analyst for J.D. Power and Associates. (Email) | John Judis will be a senior writer at National Journal. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (Email) | Brendan Banaszak is now director of collaborative news strategy at NPR. Previously, he was a producer there. Lynette Clemetson is now senior director of strategy and content initiatives at NPR. Previously, she was director of editorial initiatives there. John Stefany will be director of strategic projects at NPR. Previously, he was manager of new content projects there. (Poynter) | Melinda Henneberger is now a senior writer at Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she wrote about politics and culture for The Washington Post. Jennifer Epstein will be a correspondent for Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she was a White House reporter for Politico. (Capital New York) | Job of the day: The Tampa Bay Times is looking for a business reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Corrections? Tips? Love listening to Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, too? Please email me: khare@poynter.org. Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here. Read more

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P-Audiotex

Today in Media History: It wasn’t mobile, but in the ’80s and ’90s audiotex brought news to your phone

You could hear a newspaper on your phone in the ’80s and ’90s.

It was easy. Just dial a local audiotex number and you were connected to news and other features.

On January 30, 1984, The Miami News published a New York Times news service article called, “Move Over, Videotex; Here Comes Audiotex.”

Videotex, in which people retrieve information using computers or specially equipped television sets, has not really caught on, partly because most people do not have computers. But virtually everyone has a telephone. So now many companies are trying to offer information services using electronic voices.”

The technology was new in 1984, but during the following decade audiotex became a key new media and information service, at least until something called the Web came along.

Audiotex faded away long before smartphones, however, there were portable phones in the 1980s and 1990s.

Perhaps someone listened to audiotex on one of those phones.

If so, I guess this commercial shows an example of 1990 mobile news technology:

The Los Angeles Times described audiotex, and imagined the future of newspapers, in 1991:

“Newspapers, wire services and broadcast networks are unlikely to be replaced as the primary news-gathering agencies in America; what will change will be the means of delivering that news and how that news is integrated into the broad information mix of the future. The news organizations that survive — and thrive — will be those that adapt best to the new technologies.

The ‘new’ technology used by the most newspapers so far is not terribly radical; it’s the telephone.

More than 300 newspapers, including The Times, have (900) area code telephone numbers that require users to pay a fee, part of which goes to the paper, to get recorded information. About 50 other newspapers offer such telephone services free to users but sell time on the telephone announcements to advertisers.

The Times has (900) numbers for stock market reports, crossword puzzle clues and a horoscope. The paper is considering (900) numbers for weather reports, restaurant reviews, soap opera updates, sports scores and recipes, as well as travel, entertainment and real estate information.

….Few newspapers are making a profit on audiotex so far — Atlanta hopes to break even within the next year — but newspapers see the service as a means of recycling information they already have and an opportunity to build extra bridges to their increasingly elusive readers and advertisers.”

— “Newspapers And The Future
Los Angeles Times, June 3, 1991

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Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

Dean Baquet still unsure about future of national race beat

New York Times

New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet hasn’t yet decided what will become of The New York Times’ national race beat now that Tanzina Vega has been reassigned to cover the Bronx courthouse, public editor Margaret Sullivan reported Thursday:

At this point, he said, “I haven’t decided what to do about the beat, but I know that it has to be covered paper-wide.

Baquet told Sullivan that although the future of Vega’s beat is uncertain, The New York Times will provide “paper-wide” coverage of race. Deputy Executive Editor Susan Chira told Sullivan that because issues of race are of critical importance, covering them shouldn’t be confined “to one reporter or beat.”

Sullivan also called the timing of Vega’s reassignment “odd” in light of the recent news surrounding the death of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. Read more

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Al Jazeera English news director tells employees to continue leaking memos

Al Jazeera English has a plan to deal with the recent leaks that have aired the organization’s preferences regarding style and usage: invite its employees to keep leaking.

Salah Negm, director of news at Al Jazeera English, sent a memo to employees Thursday with the subject line “TO BE LEAKED.” In it, Negm thanks the employee or employees who have leaked memos about the news organization’s attitude toward events such as the Charlie Hebdo shooting and decisions not to use the words “terrorist” and “Islamist”:

Whoever forwarded these emails on to their friends, I personally thank you for offering a huge service to our channel. I have always been in favour of being transparent and open we have nothing to hide.

In the future we will put all our style guide and editorial guidelines online for public consumption, because there is nothing that we hide and nothing that we are afraid of. I hold dear that our newsrooms are transparent, whether on why we use certain terms on our platforms and why we give certain stories certain treatments, to the extent I even have entertained the idea of putting our editorial meetings live on air for all to see ,don’t take this as a promise. On a second thought as it might be informative , it also can be not of so much interest for everyone to see

The news was first reported by Capital New York’s Jeremy Barr.

On Wednesday, Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark wrote in support of a recent memo which articulated Al Jazeera English’s preference not to use “Islamist,” arguing that it brought a nuanced approach to commonly used labels.

Here’s Negm’s full memo, which was, naturally, leaked to Poynter.

Dear All,

Another day and another leak from within, showing our vibrant editorial discussions inside the Al Jazeera newsroom. This latest leak follows a previous leaked email discussion about Charlie Hebdo and how our diverse newsroom of fifty nationalities were discussing on how best to take the story forward.

I would like to state that our style guide and our editorial discussion is no secret, so these so called ‘leaks’ don’t in my opinion prove anything sinister within the newsrooms of Al Jazeera Media Network . We thrive in broadcasting to the world in its diversity, our editorial discussions is a proof that we aspire to be as objective as possible in our coverage, language and tone.

I as Director of News advocate that we never leave a point of view out, while we also reach any editorial decisions which are editorially correct and not necessarily politically correct. I of course believe that to be really objective we will not satisfy all, specially people who are parties in a conflict or hold die hard ideologically driven views partisans who are also our audiences, but a small part of the 220 million households we reach around the world.

Others may interpret these leaks as an attempt from one of the above mentioned to spread the false notion that we as Al Jazeera are creating fear or self-censoring amongst our journalists and journalism or try by these leaks to intimidate and create the self-censorship or fear amongst them . However I personally find these leaks a blessing as people can see for themselves the logic and explanation behind our decisions of our commitment for objectivity and the aspiration to convey news without bias.

Whoever forwarded these emails on to their friends, I personally thank you for offering a huge service to our channel. I have always been in favour of being transparent and open we have nothing to hide.

In the future we will put all our style guide and editorial guidelines online for public consumption, because there is nothing that we hide and nothing that we are afraid of. I hold dear that our newsrooms are transparent, whether on why we use certain terms on our platforms and why we give certain stories certain treatments, to the extent I even have entertained the idea of putting our editorial meetings live on air for all to see ,don’t take this as a promise. On a second thought as it might be informative , it also can be not of so much interest for everyone to see

Attemps have been made to distort and intimidate media organisations in some countries have been successful and it sadly resulted in the real self-censorship and polarisation of journalism and journalists, it is as I call it a new form of subtle Macarthyism of our age, over the past twenty four hours I have seen various news outlets who it seems have their own agendas to discredit Al Jazeera with their over analysing of a simple email which laid down the facts. I advocate our newsroom and editorial staff continue to deal with pure facts, balanced coverage and clear terminology and of course please raise your voice with queries or concerns in our vibrant and open discussions every day in our editorial meetings, as after all Al Jazeera stands for the opinion and the other opinion.

So please, Mr or Ms Unknown leaker, continue to leak this…. and more :)

Salah Negm
Director of News
Al Jazeera English

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Indiana governor cancels controversial news site

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has told the Indiana press corps that he plans to cancel “Just IN,” a proposed state-run news source that some feared would be used as an end-around the press.

Maureen Hayden, Indiana statehouse bureau chief for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., tweeted that Pence ordered the website shut down.

News of the proposed site, which was reported by The Indianapolis Star earlier this week, sparked controversy among journalism organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists, which said it would be following the development of the proposed site.

In place of the site, Pence will “update the current public calendar website” run by the state of Indiana, Tim Swarens reports for the Indianapolis Star. Read more

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HuffPost’s Ferguson Fellow is working out of the St. Louis American

Stewart.

Stewart.


Before last week, Mariah Stewart didn’t have much of a commute.

Stewart, the crowdfunded scribe who was catapulted to national prominence when she became The Huffington Post’s Ferguson Fellow, would work from anywhere with Internet access: her home, the local library, a café. But starting last week, Stewart became a part of the newsroom at the St. Louis American, St. Louis’ historically black newspaper.

There, she has an office and will receive assignments, instruction and guidance from editors. The new digs are a welcome change for Stewart, who says she missed the chit-chat and camaraderie that permeates newsrooms every day.

“I have a lot more help now,” she said.

Now, Stewart’s commute consists of a 35-minute drive from her residence in Florissant to St. Louis, where the American’s offices are. She works there during the day and arrives home around the same time her 6-year-old daughter gets back from school.

The idea for the placement came from Stewart’s editor, Huffington Post justice reporter Ryan Reilly. He says he remembered how much knowledge he absorbed from his colleagues working out of a newsroom early in his career and realized that Stewart was missing out on that experience because she was working from home.

When he started brainstorming solutions, Reilly recalled an existing relationship he had with St. Louis American managing editor Chris King.

“I had thought of a couple of potential partners, but really the one that stuck out was the St. Louis American because they’ve done some great coverage of the Ferguson protests,” Reilly said.

The St. Louis American and HuffPost each get something out of the arrangement, said Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for HuffPost. The American is getting a reporter who can help cover the community. And The Huffington Post, in turn, is getting training for a journalist who will continue to file copy to its bureau in D.C. Both outlets will share Stewart’s stories.

“It’s kind of a win-win, she gets more mentoring and they get more resources,” Grim said.

The St. Louis American, which offered its assistance to out-of-town reporters to help cover the Michael Brown story when it broke during the summer, sees Stewart’s help as a reward, King said. So far, the two outlets have not competed over Stewart’s time or stories, and they don’t intend to.

“We’re in kind of a blissful, blessed moment at the beginning where there’s no friction,” he said.

The Huffington Post, which raised more than $40,000 in partnership with Beacon Reader this summer, continues to fund Stewart’s fellowship. It will continue as planned for the rest of the year while Stewart continues working and learning out of the St. Louis American, Reilly said. Read more

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Robot-writing increased AP’s earnings stories by tenfold

Since The Associated Press adopted automation technology to write its earnings reports, the news cooperative has generated 3,000 stories per quarter, ten times its previous output, according to a press release from Automated Insights, the company behind the automation. Those stories also contained “far fewer errors” than stories written by actual journalists.

The Associated Press began publishing earnings reports using automation technology in July for companies including Hasbro Inc., Honeywell International Inc. and GE. Appended to those stories is a note that reads “This story was generated automatically by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Full GE report: http://www.zacks.com/ap/GE.”

The stories include descriptions of each business and contain “forward-looking guidance provided by the companies,” according to the release.

AP managing editor Lou Ferrara told Automated Insights that the news cooperative’s customers are happy to be receiving more stories, and that automation has freed up reporters to work on more difficult stories, according to the release. No jobs have been cut as a result of the automated earnings reports.

Automation has been used to generate content before. In June, Poynter reported that AP had been using the technology to produce a “good chunk” of its sports agate for years. Turning data into stories, by comparison, is recent territory for The AP.

Here’s the release:

Durham, NC: Automated Insights, (Ai), the world leader in producing personalized narrative content from Big Data, announced today that its Wordsmith platform is automatically producing 3,000 stories per quarter for The Associated Press – a tenfold increase over what AP reporters and editors created previously. In addition, the stories contain far fewer errors than their manual counterparts.

Since automaton began in July, Ai has worked with AP to add a number of enhancements to the stories. Descriptions of businesses have been included and the stories now contain forward-looking guidance provided by the companies.

“Our customers tell us they are thrilled to be getting more content about companies in their states and regions,” said Lou Ferrara, the AP vice president and managing editor who oversees business news. “Automation has allowed us to free reporters to focus on less data processing and put more energy into high-level reporting.”

Ferrara added that automation hasn’t taken anyone’s job at AP. “Automation was never about replacing jobs,” he said. “It has always been about how we can best use the resources we have in a rapidly changing landscape and how we harness technology to run the best journalism company in the world.”

Starting with data from Zacks Investment Research, Wordsmith uses natural language generation algorithms to write earnings stories.

While the majority of the companies covered by Wordsmith are based in the United States, Automated Insights CEO Robbie Allen says the scope will expand. “We hope to offer reports on some Canadian and European companies soon,” he says. “Automation allows for quality reporting on a global scale.”

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