Uber’s plan to alienate the news media seems to be going well

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Uber’s plan to completely alienate the news media is going well

    The company says it is investigating why Uber New York GM Josh Mohrer tracked BuzzFeed reporter Johana Bhuiyan. It uses something called "God View" to track people. (BuzzFeed) | Ellen Cushing: "While I was reporting my recent cover story on Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick, several current and former Uber employees warned me that company higher-ups might access my rider logs." (San Francisco Magazine) | Uber once used its data to show where and when people took "Rides of Glory." (Uber blog) | Kalanick apologized for an executive's remarks that it would like to dig up dirt on reporters via "tweetstorm," a "series of thoughts that give the illusion of substance and circumspection because they are presented in a numerical order." (Valleywag) | "I'll let you in on a secret.

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New York Times Slim

NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia

mediawiremorningGood morning. 10-ish, anyone?

  1. NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia: Part of a July 25 column “used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution; it should not have been published in that form,” a grisly editor’s note reads. (NYT) | Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Ravi Somaiya “editors have dealt with Carol on the issue.” (NYT) | “It seems to me that there can be little dispute about the claim,” Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote Wednesday. “Anyone can see the similarity.” (NYT)
  2. E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications will combine broadcast properties, spin off newspapers: The companies “are so similar and share the deep commitment to public service through enterprise journalism,” Scripps Chairman Richard A.
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Tulsa World’s new sports sites link prominently to competitors

When Jason Collington suggested that the Tulsa World feature sports content from other news outlets in the region, the idea was met with a little hesitation from some people in the newsroom. Why would the paper promote articles and commentary it didn’t create?

But then he explained it using a simple analogy. The paper’s die-hard sports fans, like careful shoppers, would never be satisfied with a lack of variety. Their news diet demanded more content, and they would go elsewhere to get it if they had to.

“One thing I realized is, we would never go to a grocery store with one kind of tomato sauce,” Collington, the World’s Web editor, said.

So he started sketching “like a madman,” trying to come up with ideas for the site. Read more


Joel Achenbach writes about a revelation he had when interviewing a source:

But now I’m wondering if what I consider “reporting” is just a form of aggregating, of skimming, of lifting the best parts of a scientist’s work and repurposing it for my own interests. These scientists have spent many, many years doing research, much of it at the very edge of the knowable, where finding a new piece of solid data is a laborious process that may require long nights at the computer or the laboratory bench, or mulling a bust of Galileo, and this work has to be slotted among other obligations, including grant applications, peer-reviewing papers, teaching, advising graduate students, holding office hours, serving on faculty committees and schmoozing at the faculty club. And here I am calling up and saying: “Give me the fruit of your mental labors.” Asking for the ripest fruit, as it were. Asking not just for information but for wisdom. Give it to me! For free. And they did, because they always do, because we have a system of sorts.

Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post

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3 ways Facebook’s Paper app outperforms other news aggregators (and 3 ways it doesn’t)

Paper, the first app from Facebook’s Creative Labs available now for iPhones, could challenge Flipboard, Zite and Feedly in the business of aggregating news on mobile devices. Not only does it beautify your Facebook newsfeed, but it also links to content from major news sources in various sections like Headlines (news), Score (sports), Exposure (photos) and Planet (science and sustainability). Here are some reasons Paper might be the news reader for you (or not):

Pictures feel bigger (but not always better)

Almost all screens, from movie theaters to TVs to computers to tablets, are horizontal for a reason (tablet users seem to prefer the landscape orientation to portrait, but of course it’s used both ways). So it’s often frustrating to view our horizontal world through the tiny vertical window of a phone. Read more

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Has ‘curate’ replaced ‘aggregate’ as the default term for summarizing other people’s news?

While exploring the new app, which collects content from a variety of news organizations and summarizes stories in a maximum of 300 characters, I wasn’t surprised to see the term “curators” in its App Store description.

But I was a little surprised to see the term regurgitated without question in so many news stories about Inside — at Time, at TechCrunch, at Capital New York, at the Next Web, at CNET.

Curation’s a lofty term for summarizing other journalists’ reporting — even for high-level summarizing from multiple sources, which doesn’t seem to be Inside’s M.O. So let’s call it what it is, even if the term comes with some baggage: aggregation. Read more


BuzzFeed nemesis says site ripped off his trend story

Death and Taxes | BuzzFeed

Joe Veix says BuzzFeed “posted essentially the same article” he did without crediting him prominently enough.

His Oct. 2 story was about people tweeting photos of themselves falling down stairs. Ryan Broderick wrote a story published the same day called “Teenagers Are Obsessed With Tweeting Photos Of Each Other Falling Down The Stairs” that linked to Veix’s story, but not obviously enough, he argues: “Most bloggers have come to an unspoken agreement that you generally cite your sources in the first paragraph with an obvious link, and/or at the bottom of the article (i.e., “via ‘site name’”). BuzzFeed did neither.”

BuzzFeed’s story received more than 100,000 views, and Veix says his original “received 115 clicks back.” Read more

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Two questions that guide aggregation etiquette

Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey was getting a little tired of Business Insider aggregating his site’s best work and reaping big traffic from it. So he ran some numbers.

Morrissey writes that over the past year his website received 8,713 visits and 14,379 pageviews from Business Insider aggregated posts, while the BI site reaped over 90,000 views. Roughly a 5:1 pageview ratio from aggregator to creator.

“Is this a fair trade?” he asks.

What ensued was a long back-and-forth on Twitter between Morrissey and Business Insider founder Henry Blodget. You should read it for all the context, but basically this dispute (and the others that arise over aggregation from time to time) seems to pivot on two major questions. Read more

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Why publishers should follow the Verge-HuffPost aggregation dustup

Techdirt | BuzzFeed

It might be hard to understand why staffers at tech site The Verge complained so loudly about a Huffington Post “linkout” that sent readers to a Verge feature. After all, isn’t the Web built on such selfless acts of curation?

I’m sort of at a loss as to how anyone might think that the HuffPo snippet and link takes away from the original,” Techdirt Editor Mike Masnick wrote Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Huffington Post Senior News Editor Whitney Snyder roared to the defense of his organization’s linking practices. Read more

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HuffPost trims aggregated post after The Verge complains

Miles to go…
The Huffington Post aggregated a Verge enterprise feature on videogame arcades, reproducing the first 239 words of Laura June’s Jan. 16 story and directing readers to it via a prominent link on Jan. 21.

That doesn’t seem to be the point of friction between the two news orgs, if I’m reading this reconstruction of the feud correctly: Verge Editor-in-Chief Joshua Topolsky lays into HuffPost for “its theft of our SEO on title and text.”

Huffington Post Communications Director Rhoades Alderson tells Poynter his news organization calls such posts “linkouts,” and passes along some words he sent to The Verge. Read more

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