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Look to the past for lessons on the news industry showdown with Facebook

News and commentary this week that leading news organizations are close to striking a deal to publish directly to Facebook’s platform reminds me, and others, of an industry faceoff six years ago with Google.

As you may recall, Rupert Murdoch had denounced Google for “stealing” content in its news summaries.  William Dean Singleton, chairman of MediaNews and the Associated Press board, threatened a war to protect newspapers’ copyright at AP’s and NAA’s 2009 conferences in San Diego. Google’s Eric Schmidt spoke to the NAA and faced a number of hostile questions.

We all know how that turned out.  Google won.  They continue publishing Google news summaries and referring traffic via search. Except to the AP itself, Google generally hasn’t paid for news it borrows. An AP-led effort to organize a licensing collective (NewsRight), never found its legs.  Read more

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Reddit rolls out embeddable comments in countermove to BuzzFeed

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On Monday, Reddit announced the unveiling of a new feature that could make life for BuzzFeed and Gawker a little more awkward: embeddable comment threads. From now on, if media outlets want to use content from Reddit, they can embed comments from the site’s users directly in their stories, just as they have been able to do with Tweets.

As Reddit administrators noted in the comment thread following the announcement, this feature could do more than advance the Reddit brand. For years, Reddit users have accused Gawker and BuzzFeed editors of searching Reddit for interesting content, scooping it up, repackaging it, and publishing it without attributing either Reddit or the users who originally posted the content. The new embed feature won’t exactly keep websites from swiping content, but it will make their editors slightly more queasy about swiping content when a simple mouse click will allow them to post Reddit’s work directly onto their own site. Read more

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BuzzFeed gets into the podcasting game

Wall Street Journal | Another Round | Internet Explorer

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed became the latest news organization to begin offering podcasts to its audience. The inaugural editions of “Internet Explorer” and “Another Round,” BuzzFeed’s first two podcasts, went live on iTunes early this morning. The Wall Street Journal’s Steven Perlberg reports:

Both weekly podcasts are hosted by BuzzFeed staffers, and the company hopes to expand the audio offering in the future with things like shorter-run series, news shows and reported pieces, according to Jenna Weiss-Berman, BuzzFeed’s director of audio.

In a post announcing “Internet Explorer,” BuzzFeed staffers described it as a dive into the culture of the Web that examines “all the weird and wonderful rabbit holes of this terrible/fantastic internet that we love so much.” The other podcast, “Another Round,” promises to be an informal look at issues of pop culture, sexuality and race, along with “literally everything” else, according to a BuzzFeed post announcing its launch. Read more

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SXSW report: Washington Post’s digital numbers even better than officials claimed

According to Capital New York, Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron and Chief Information Officer Shailesh Prakash gave a presentation at the South by Southwest Interactive festival on how the technological innovations introduced by Jeff Bezos have changed the newspaper’s fortunes. And they made a remarkable claim: according to numbers produced by comScore, the Post’s number of unique visitors jumped 71 percent in a single year, to roughly 42.6 million in December.

But according to comScore, the Post’s numbers are even better if you look at what happened in February. comScore Vice President of Marketing and Insights Andrew Lipsman claims that in February, The Washington Post’s number of unique visitors jumped to more than 48 million, a 63 percent increase over the same month last year. Read more

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Journalism and public shaming: Some guidelines

Public shaming has been in style for a while and journalism plays a significant role. It’s time to examine the ethics of this.

Public shaming, or openly humiliating someone as punishment for a certain behavior, is inherently a form of intimidation. It’s a strategy where we shine a light so hot and bright on a subject that he or she suffers, or at the very least shuts up and goes away.

It’s often perceived as positive because it exposes what many people consider bad behavior such as when BuzzFeed aggregated a bunch of racist tweets after an Indian-American woman won the Miss America crown.

To be sure, there is a certain nobility in shaming public officials who try to keep public documents from the public, or in exposing a greedy corporation that abuses its lowest paid workers. Read more

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Tech blog Gigaom shuts down

Good morning. Here are 9 media stories.

  1. ‘This hurts more than I can say’

    Gigaom, the tech blog founded in 2006 by journalist Om Malik, has shut down due to apparent financial problems. Several staffers, including senior writer Mathew Ingram, tweeted about the news Monday. "This hurts more than I can say: I was just told Gigaom is shutting down -- it has run out of money. We tried our best, but it wasn't enough." (@mathewi) | Malik published a statement about the closure. "Gigaom is winding down and its assets are now controlled by the company’s lenders. It is not how you want the story of a company you founded to end." (Om.co) | The site posted a terse explanation about the closure: "Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time.

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Brian Williams reportedly lobbied to succeed David Letterman

Good morning! Here are 10 media stories.

  1. More tales of tumult from inside NBC News

    Gabriel Sherman's much-anticipated longread about the turmoil surrounding Brian Williams' suspension from the anchor chair dropped Sunday. Among the juiciest tidbits: Williams asked CBS CEO Les Moonves to be considered as a replacement for David Letterman upon the comedian's retirement from "Late Show," according to "a high-level source"; Four NBC and NBCUniversal officials visited Williams at his apartment to notify him he was being taken off the air; Richard Esposito, the investigative producer at NBC News conducting a review of Williams, "delivered a 45-minute presentation at [NBCUniversal CEO Steve] Burke’s apartment" that unearthed "more issues" with Williams' disputed claims; Williams can't talk to the press under the terms of his suspension and "can’t wait until he can speak" publicly about the situation, according to "a close friend." (New York) | "If Brian Williams proposed to CBS that he take over when Letterman retires, that alone is reason he should not return" (@jayrosen_nyu) | "Last weekend, workers at NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters briefly wiped away promotional photos of Brian Williams." They went back up the next day.

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The lesson from the dress color debate that every journalist needs to know

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Yesterday’s insane Internet debate over the color of a dress offers a critical lesson that every journalist must incorporate into their daily work.

This lesson has nothing to do with viral content, fashion, BuzzFeed, social media, the future of media, Tumblr, or audience engagement.

Many of us looked at a very simple photo of a dress and saw something different. This had nothing to do with intelligence, experience, fashion sense or any other personal characteristic.

We are all at the mercy of our brains and its cognitive processes. Our eyes took in the information in front of us, our brains processed it, and in many cases it gave us the wrong answer. But the fact that it was coming from our brain meant that it seemed like exactly the right answer. Read more

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Career Beat: John Paczkowski hired by BuzzFeed

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

  • John Paczkowski is joining BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau. Previously, he was deputy managing editor at Re/code. William Alden is joining BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau. Previously, he was a reporter for The New York Times. Caroline O’Donovan is joining BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau. Previously, she was a staff writer for Nieman Lab. Nicole Nguyen is joining BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau. Previously, she was assistant tech editor at Popsugar. (VentureBeat)
  • Shira Toeplitz Center will be a political editor at The Boston Globe. Previously, she was politics editor for Roll Call. (Email)
  • Tim Molloy will be editor at Boston.com. Previously, he was digital engagement editor at “Frontline.” Kaitlyn Johnston will be deputy editor at Boston.com. Previously, she was executive digital editor at Boston Magazine.
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Bill O’Reilly to NYT reporter: ‘I am coming after you with everything I have’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Bill O’Reilly threatens jounalist

    In an interview with The New York Times Monday, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly warned reporter Emily Steel there could be consequences for inappropriate coverage surrounding disputed claims about his reportage of the Falklands War. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.” (The New York Times) | Politico's Dylan Byers followed up with Steel, who told him "the story speaks for itself." (Politico) | Here's Steel's tweet. (@emilysteel) | O'Reilly continued defending his coverage Monday and sought to end the controversy. (CNN Money) | Meanwhile, the author of a New York Times story that O'Reilly cited in his defense said the anchor "cut out an important phrase" while reading it on air.

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