Articles about "Facebook"


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Cue the outcry — more big Twitter changes on the way

Friday. Good morning (or good evening, if you’re reading this at night). Andrew Beaujon is back next week.

  1. Let’s freak out about Twitter changes: Sayeth Twitter: “in many cases, the best Tweets come from people you already know, or know of. But there are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you’d enjoy.” Noooooooo! (Twitter) | Stuart Dredge weighs in: “The difference between the two social networks is that Facebook is taking stories out of its news feed – it prioritises around 300 a day out of a possible 1,500 for the average user – while Twitter is only adding tweets in. For now, at least.” (The Guardian) | Previously: I wrote about the Facebookification of Twitter and the Twitterfication of Facebook. (Poynter)
  2. More Twitter changes: Now with audio! “Notably, Twitter is teaming up with Apple to let users listen to certain tracks and buy the music directly from the iTunes store,” Yoree Koh reports. Twitter is also partnering with Soundcloud. (Wall Street Journal) | “Throughout your listening experience, you can dock the Audio Card and keep listening as you continue to browse inside the Twitter app,” product manager Richard Slatter writes in a blog post. (Twitter)
  3. The media kinda sucks at covering Ebola: Just look at how it covered #ClipboardMan, Arielle Duhaime-Ross writes. (The Verge)
  4. Liberian media really sucks at covering Ebola: The Daily Observer newspaper “has become a feeding ground of phony conspiracy,” Terrence McCoy reports. “The top three news stories on the website all allege medical professionals purposely infected the country with Ebola, ideas that have drawn the conspiratorial from across the planet.” The bad journalism is leading to a debate over press freedom in the country. (Washington Post) | From yesterday: The BBC is using WhatsApp to spread accurate information about the virus in Africa. (Journalism.co.uk)
  5. Correction of the week: Deadspin retracted its story claiming U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner didn’t actually play high school football, as he claimed, after the primary source changed his mind. “As serial collectors of media fuck-ups, we add this self-portrait to the gallery,” editor Tommy Craggs writes. (Deadspin) | Earlier, Craggs told Erik Wemple, “If you’re looking for someone to blame here, blame me for getting way too cocky about my site’s ability to prove a negative.” (Washington Post)
  6. Whisper vs. The Guardian: A damning report in The Guardian on Thursday claimed Whisper, “the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be ‘the safest place on the internet’, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.” (The Guardian) | Whisper editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman angrily denied the report, and wrote on Twitter that the piece “is lousy with falsehoods, and we will be debunking them all.” (Washington Post) | Here’s a good explainer from Carmel DeAmicis: “The two sides disagree over what constitutes ‘personally identifiable information,’ whether rough location data tied to a user’s previous activity could expose someone.” (Gigaom) | And here’s a take from Mathew Ingram, who says Whisper’s problem is that it “wants to be both an anonymous app and a news entity at the same time.” (Gigaom)
  7. American journalists detained in Russia: Joe Bergantino, co-founder of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and Randy Covington, a professor at the University of South Carolina, are in Russia to teach an investigative journalism workshop. They were found guilty of “violating the visa regime” and will return to the U.S. on Saturday as scheduled. “Russian authorities have used visa issues in the past as a pretext to bar the entry for certain individuals to the country,” Nataliya Vasilyeva reports. (AP via ABC News)
  8. Good times at High Times: Subscriptions and advertising pages are growing for “the magazine about all things marijuana” as it celebrates its 40th birthday. Dan Skye, High Times’ editorial director, tells Michael Sebastian, “I think the legalization has everything to do with the boom.” (Ad Age)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Daily News (see it at the Newseum).NY_DN
  10. No job moves today: Benjamin Mullin has the day off. But be sure to visit Poynter’s jobs site. Happy weekend!

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Barack Obama

Obama joins Medium, finds another route around the press

mediawiremorningGood morning. The weekend is in sight. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Peace Prize: The former BBC blogger turned activist “has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee writes. Indian children’s advocate Kailash Satyarthi shares the prize with her. (Nobelprize.org)
  2. Back in St. Louis: During protests last night following an officer-involved shooting in the city’s Shaw neighborhood, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Valerie Schremp Hahn saw people “slamming a brick on the ground to break it in two.” One “asked what I was tweeting and I said nothing. He basically but me in a headlock and asked to get my phone. I said no,” she tweeted. Then, this: “I screamed ‘get away from me! Get away from me!’ And ran towards the crowd. My press pass fell off but I still have my damn phone.” She adds: “If it makes him feel better I didn’t get his picture.” | Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery tweeted a photo of the Ferguson, Missouri, McDonald’s earlier on Thursday: “@ryanjreilly wish u were here :( ” | I noticed some other Ferguson vets and national outlet reporters on the scene: L.A. Times reporter Matt Pearce, New York Times reporter Alan Blinder and USA Today reporter Yamiche Alcindor were among those tweeting about the protests last night. | Never stops being useful: Kristen Hare‘s Twitter list of journalists covering STL, Ferg. | The cover story of the new issue of the NPPA’s News Photographer magazine is about the Post-Dispatch’s photo staff. (NPAA)
  3. President Obama finds another route around the press: “Over at the White House, we aim to connect with people where they are and engage with citizens on the issues they care about most. That’s where Medium comes in — and why you can find us on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and more sites, too.” (@WhiteHouse) | Obama’s first post uses scare quotes! “History has dubbed you the ‘Millennials.’” (Medium)
  4. Great advice for beat reporters: Wall Street Journal fashion-biz reporter Teri Agins tells Lauren Indvik how to get big scoops on a competitive beat. “I always tell young journalists, when you’re trying to do a story, go for a story that’s doable.” Also: “People love to talk, they won’t stop talking, they’ll tell you more than you’re asking.” (Fashionista)
  5. Chuck Todd makes a good case for reporting bullshit: The “Meet the Press” host says, “We in the so-called MSM should be willing to report what is not true, rather than ignoring and claiming that ‘well, we didn’t deem it worthy’ and therefore don’t have a responsibility for debunking someone else’s rumor,” in a fascinating interview with Jay Rosen. “I’m not sure we can defend not sharing publicly what we know is true and false.” (PressThink)
  6. Deadspin wants to hire Bill Simmons: Among the incentives, according to Drew Magary: “KINJA! It makes you a better writer by erasing your posts suddenly and forcing you to start from scratch!” (Deadspin)
  7. The hazards of working in a British-American newsroom: “I use Ss almost exclusively in place of Zs, which look too harsh to me now,” Maraithe Thomas writes. “I catch myself saying ‘Give us a bite’ or ‘It was quite crowded, actually’ instead of ‘Give me a bite’ and ‘It was packed.’” (The Guardian)
  8. The economic imperatives of first-person essays: They’re multiplying, maybe because of “the slashing of budgets for in-depth reporting and the necessarily more superficial coverage that results,” Eve Fairbanks writes. “An essayist giving a personal take on an event in the news … may not result from a month of reporting with a big budget, as in the older days, but instead brings a whole lifetime of experience to the story.” (WP)
  9. Why can’t Facebook crack apps? It’s planning an anonymous sharing app, but “every standalone app Facebook has created thus far has been a flop,” John McDermott writes. “The only reason anyone downloads Messenger is because they’re forced to, and it has one star in the App Store,” Neetzan Zimmerman tells McDermott. (Digiday) | Related: Mathew Ingram on the frenmity between media orgs and Facebook. (Gigaom)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Jonah Freedman is now editor-in-chief of StubHub. Previously, he was managing editor of mlssoccer.com. (Pando Daily) | David Plotz is now CEO of Atlas Obscura. Previously, he was editor of Slate (Washington Post) | Brie Dyas is now senior work life editor at The Huffington Post. Previously, she was executive home editor there. (The Huffington Post) | Jordan Chariton will be New York media editor at The Wrap. He’s editor of TVNewser. Mark Joyella will be a co-editor for TV Spy and TVNewser. Previously, he was a TV editor at Mediaite. Brian Flood is now co-editor of TVNewser. Previously, he had written for Sports Illustrated and RotoExperts. (TVNewser) | Job of the day: WBEZ is looking for a midday anchor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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Free Press designer ‘cared about every single word, every comma, every period’ on 1A

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Free Press designer dies: 25-year veteran Steve Anderson was 59. Remembers Amy Huschka, assistant editor/social media: “He was so proud of his Twitter account and loved sharing historic images and daily 1A’s with his followers.” From Jason Karas, a designer and colleague: “He cared about every single word, every comma, every period that he placed on a 1A.” (Detroit Free Press) | A collection of memorable front pages designed by Anderson. (Detroit Free Press) | A Storify of Anderson’s tweets that anyone who loves newspaper design should check out. (Storify)
  2. Freelance cameraman contracts Ebola: The unidentified man was working for NBC News on a team in Liberia with medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The production team has been ordered by NBC News “to return to the United States and enter quarantine for 21 days,” Bill Carter reports. (The New York Times)
  3. More arrests in Ferguson: Our Kristen Hare is on the beat, of course. (Poynter) | And she’ll be updating her list of journalists arrested in Ferguson, Missouri since protests over the killing of Michael Brown began. (Poynter)
  4. How to cover Hong Kong protests: “The police sometimes use the excuse of a lack of media credentials as their reason to prevent access. Freelancers and journalism students seem to be their favorite targets.” Good list of resources here. (Committee to Protect Journalists) | Poynter’s Kristen Hare has a Twitter list of journalists covering the chaos in Hong Kong. It’s up to 173 members this morning. (Twitter)

  5. No more coffee at the Houston Chronicle: Because it’s better than cutting other things. (Houston Press) | Good timing: The Press published a list of the 10 best coffee shops in Houston on Wednesday. (Houston Press) | The Chronicle’s move to eliminate free newsroom coffee comes the week of National Coffee Day, which we celebrated by having readers “mug” for the camera. (Poynter) | And it comes the month after a study indicated coffee was even more important to us journalists than to cops. (Poynter)
  6. WaPo runs native ad in print: “It’s a godsend that the Washington Post made it look as horrible as it is, because no one will mistake it for editorial.” (Digiday)
  7. More layoffs at NYT: Between 20 and 25 people on the business side were laid off from The New York Times on Wednesday, sources tell Joe Pompeo. (Capital New York) | On Wednesday, the Times announced it plans to cut 100 of 1,330 newsroom jobs through voluntary buyouts or, if necessary, layoffs. (Poynter)
  8. Everything you need to know about the Facebook algorithm: Haha, just kidding. At ONA, Liz Heron took some tough questions but tried to reassure journalists that Facebook isn’t playing favorites with the News Feed. (Poynter)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The ever-innovative Virginian-Pilot tracks Ebola cases. (Courtesy the Newseum)

     
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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: James Nord is now a political correspondent for The Associated Press. Previously, he was a political reporter at MinnPost. (AP) | Evan Berland is now global news manager for weekends at the AP. Previously, he was deputy editor for the eastern United States. (AP) | Mitra Kalita is now an adjunct faculty member at Poynter. She is Quartz’ ideas editor. (Poynter) | Catherine Gundersen is now managing editor of Marie Claire. She was editorial business manager at GQ. (Fishbowl NY) | Jacob Rascon is now a correspondent at NBC News. Previously, he was a reporter for KNBC in Los Angeles. (TV Spy) | Job of the day: The Wall Street Journal is looking for a banking editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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Facebook is more important to news distribution than you think, and journalists are freaked out

Facebook’s Liz Heron answered for a litany of perceived sins and slights last week during a conversation with The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal and attendees at the Online News Association conference in Chicago. Journalists are anxious about being left out of the loop about how Facebook works, and they want answers.

Does Facebook play favorites in the News Feed Algorithm? Nope, according to Heron, the company’s head of news partnerships:

Does Facebook decide what news you see? No, your past behavior does, because the News Feed is very personalized:

What’s the best way to get my posts seen on Facebook? Are there any tricks I should know? Do I need to write “congratulations” in my post to get it boosted?

Nah, just post good content and everything will be fine:

In other words: If you want to be successful on Facebook, don’t get caught up in the nuts and bolts of what it favors or disfavors about posts (and it won’t tell you much about those nuts and bolts anyway, so that works out). Madrigal said to applause that Facebook could put an end to rampant speculation about the News Feed by just telling us how it works, but Heron said that would make it too easy to game the system.

Ultimately, Facebook says, it just wants you to post great content so it can surface it for its users, and “greatness” is determined by various measures of how users interact with the content. It’s a process that requires lots of honing, and Facebook wants you to believe the algorithm is an earnest effort to give users what they value most.

The problem: What if the posts that users value most aren’t always what news organizations value most?

Existential fear of the algorithm

Facebook is in the business of serving individual users, Heron said, and the algorithm is so nuanced that specific gaming strategies — like adding “congratulations” to a post — don’t make sense. But there’s so much at stake here for news organizations that it’s difficult for them to accept Facebook’s just-trust-us approach to its algorithm. Our traffic — our livelihood — depends on figuring this out.

Madrigal opened the session by talking about “dark Facebook,” mobile traffic with no specific referral source but that he discovered through experimentation could mostly be attributed to Facebook’s mobile app (which is how 80 percent of Facebook users access the service, Heron said). So you might be two to three times more dependent on Facebook than you think, Madrigal said.

At ONA, anxiety about Facebook’s increasing control over our traffic revealed itself in lots of questions: If I have 250,000 fans of my page, why don’t they all see everything I post? Why does my journalism seem to reach fewer people than it used to? Is Facebook trying to pressure my news organization to spend money to boost my posts or take out ads?

But there are more existential fears behind this conversation, too: If Facebook isn’t interested in exposing users to content that might be important but won’t result in high engagement like softer news and quizzes do, what will happen to news literacy? What will happen to civic engagement? What happens to The News That Matters, if only Facebook gets to decide what matters?

Facebook would say they’re not really deciding what news matters — they’re just revealing what news really resonates with each individual user. And that’s how you end up with Ice Bucket Challenge videos dominating your News Feed instead of the latest information about Ferguson protests. Why should Facebook serve you vegetables when it knows you’d rather have the 8 Most Insanely Unhealthy Restaurant Meals In America?


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Facebook: More timely News Feed on the way

Facebook

It doesn’t refer to Ferguson, Ice Bucket Challenge videos or a solemn responsibility to bring you news that really matters, but Facebook does seem to be addressing concerns about the service’s ability to surface timely, important news stories.

Here’s what software engineer Erich Owens and engineering manager David Vickrey wrote in a post today outlining more changes to the News Feed:

Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. We’ve heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show. There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore.

They say they’ll fix these problems and surface more relevant posts by emphasizing two factors: whether a topic is trending, and how soon people like and comment on a posts after they’re published.

So if lots of people are posting about a breaking news story, presumably Facebook will recognize that as trending and bring more stories about it to users (testing has shown that this results in 6 percent more engagement, Owens and Vickrey note). And if all the activity surrounding that story takes place at night and then drops off completely, presumably Facebook will better recognize that it might not be relevant to people the following afternoon.

“We will be rolling out these changes gradually and do not expect posts to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update,” Owens and Vickrey say.

Facebook took some criticism during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police shooting of Michael Brown. This latest News Feed tweak seems designed to reduce the usefulness chasm between Twitter and Facebook during breaking news.


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Related: On the Facebookification of Twitter and the Twitterfication of Facebook Read more

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How to crop photos for Facebook and adapt to the News Feed’s latest algorithm change

Lost in the noise over Facebook’s crackdown on clickbait last week was another change to the social network that could impact all news organizations: the News Feed algorithm will now favor link posts over photo posts and status updates.

When you paste a link to an article on your news organization’s page and Facebook automatically generates a preview box containing the story’s headline, a photo and other information, that’s a link post (here’s documentation on making sure the Facebook Crawler identifies the right information for the link preview). Alternatively, Facebook says, “Some publishers share links in status updates or in the text caption above photos.”

Here’s an example of a link post:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

 
And here’s an example of a photo post:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

 
Facebook explains why it’s prioritizing link posts:

We’ve found that people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions. The link format shows some additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through. This format also makes it easier for someone to click through on mobile devices, which have a smaller screen.

With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.

It’s easier to click link posts because the entire link preview box is an active link, not just the URL. But link posts have another advantage: the photo window is much wider than it is tall, allowing more stories to fit on vertical smartphone screens at once. It takes longer to scroll through the News Feed if it contains lots of vertical images, so Facebook makes photos attached to links very horizontal. Vertical images are automatically cropped by Facebook to fit the horizontal requirement in link posts.

The advantage of uploading images directly to Facebook is that vertical images aren’t automatically cropped, and users can expand them and zoom in on them for a closer look. But sharing visual content that way might not be a good idea any more unless you have an important editorial reason for doing so.

What size should Facebook images be?

The News Feed tweak means it’s a good time for a reminder that Facebook recommends a specific image size and aspect ratio for images appearing in link posts:

Use images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels for the best display on high resolution devices. At the minimum, you should use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images.

Images smaller than 600 x 315 pixels appear as a thumbnail next to the headline instead of above the headline. For non-thumbnail images, Facebook recommends sticking as close to the 1.91 aspect ratio as possible. That’s how you avoid awkward automatic crops by Facebook. If you don’t like the photo Facebook automatically pulls from the article you’re linking to, you can always upload another one with a different crop after the link preview has been generated.

Sometimes, news organizations have a compelling reason to post a story as a photo post instead of a link post. Here’s an example of The Wall Street Journal uploading a picture with a link in the caption so that the graphic isn’t bound by the 1.91 aspect ratio requirement. This graphic would be unreadable cropped down to fit Facebook’s 1200 x 630 window for link posts, but as a standalone, vertical image it looks great:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

 
Facebook says it still recommends “that you use the story type that best fits the message that you want to tell – whether that’s a status, photo, link or video.” But if you notice photo posts start to underperform on your news organization’s page, you might want to think about tailoring more of your images and graphics to meet Facebook’s dimension requirements for link posts and maximize your potential reach.


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Diane Sawyer

After Sawyer’s final ABC World News broadcast, all 3 nightly anchors are now white men

mediawiremorningYo. Here are some media stories.

  1. Is the Yo app ridiculous or revolutionary? That’s the question Cory Blair asks. It’s definitely the former, but it has potential to be the latter, especially now that users can send links and not just notifications with no content. Robert Hernandez has an interesting idea for what news organizations like The Washington Post could use Yo for: “whenever an unarmed person dies at the hands of the police, or every time somebody is killed with a gun.” (American Journalism Review)
  2. Diane Sawyer anchors her final ABC World News broadcast: But she’s staying with the network. David Muir is her successor. “Now, all three nightly news anchors are once again white men,” Brian Stelter notes. (CNN)
  3. NPR’s Michel Martin heads to Ferguson: The former “Tell Me More” host will lead a town hall meeting today. (Poynter) | Yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Lynden Steele and Gary Hairlson spoke with Poynter’s Kenny Irby in a live video chat. (Poynter) | Kristen Hare’s ever-fluctuating list of journalists in Ferguson is down to 109. It peaked at 148 last week. (Twitter) | Related: Twitter was widely celebrated for breaking news during the protests, but Nick Bilton writes that “while those live streams were seen as an unfiltered window into events as they unfolded, they often bore little resemblance to reality.” (The New York Times) | Related: The first Ferguson dispatch paid for by Huffington Post’s controversial crowdfunded fellowship. (Huffington Post) | Previously: HuffPost’s Ferguson Fellow Mariah Stewart: “This is huge for me.” (Poynter)
  4. Playboy.com goes SFW: The new site will have a “safe-for-work look and editorial focus,” Ricardo Bilton reports. “More classic nude fare can be found on Playboy Plus, Playboy’s digital subscription service.” Sixty percent of Playboy’s traffic is social. (Digiday)
  5. A Sopranos saga: Is Tony Soprano dead? Vox.com wrote that “David Chase finally answers the question he wants fans to stop asking” in a story Wednesday. (Vox.com) | Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge (also a Vox Media site) was pissed that @SavedYouAClick tweeted the reveal of the story and “stole an experience” from readers. (The Verge) | And now Sopranos creator David Chase says the Vox.com story by Martha P. Nochimson misconstrued his remarks about the show’s finale. (NYT/ArtsBeat)
  6. Facebook’s ‘algorithmic censorship’: Here’s Alex Hern on the frightening power Facebook wields when it tweaks its News Feed algorithm: “The lack of transparency around this isn’t just worrying for media types: it should be concerning for everyone.” (The Guardian)
  7. NYT subscriptions still have room to grow: A Re/code story this week by Edmund Lee indicated New York Times digital-only subscriptions have plateaued; Ryan Chittum argues otherwise: “On a year-over-year basis, digital subs were up 19 percent in the second quarter and paywall revenue was up 13.5 percent. That’s hardly hitting a wall.” But he emphasizes growth in digital ad revenue will of course be crucial for medium- to long-term success. (Columbia Journalism Review)
  8. Who’s the most evasive press secretary of them all? BuzzFeed’s John Templon tracks the number of “weasel phrases” used by White House press secretaries in 5,000 press briefings since 1993. (BuzzFeed)
  9. Newspaper front page of the day: The Duluth (Minnesota) News Tribune, selected by Kristen Hare. (Newseum)
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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Noah Chestnut will be the lead developer for BuzzFeed’s news app. He’s currently director of labs at The New Republic. (Capital) | Rob Mennie is now senior vice president of Gannett Broadcasting and general manager for WTLV/WJXX in Jacksonville, Florida. Previously, he was senior vice president of news for Gannett Broadcasting. (Gannett) | Ben Walsh will be a business reporter at The Huffington Post. He’s currently a writer for Reuters. (‏@BenDWalsh) | Kimberly Leonard will be a healthcare reporter for U.S. News and World Report. Previously, she was a health producer there. (@leonardkl) | Larry Abramson is now dean of the journalism school at the University of Montana. Previously, he was a correspondent for National Public Radio. Eric Whitney is now director of news for Montana Public Radio. Previously, he was a health reporter for National Public Radio. (The Missoulian) | Job of the day: KFSN in Fresno, California is looking for a news photojournalist and live truck operator. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would you like this roundup each morning? This week, please email me: skirkland@poynter.org. You can reach your regular roundup guy at: abeaujon@poynter.org


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Correction: The headline in this post originally misspelled Diane Sawyer’s last name. Read more

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Times of India publisher to staffers: Give us your social media passwords if you’re posting news

mediawiremorningHey, it’s Tuesday. Media stories coming your way!

  1. Strict, strange social-media policy at Times of India: Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd staffers have been told not to post news stories from their personal social media accounts; instead, they must create company-authorized accounts, according to Quartz India. Even weirder: the company — which publishes The Times of India and The Economic Times — “will possess log-in credentials to such accounts and will be free to post any material to the account without journalists’ knowledge,” Sruthijith KK reports. (Quartz India) | Quartz-related: How often should a site launch a redesign, like Quartz just did? Mario Garcia: “The answer varies, and there is a basic principle I follow: redesign (and/or rethink) when you need it.” (Garcia Media)
  2. NYT’s controversial Michael Brown profile: New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan writes that calling Michael Brown “no angel” in a profile of the 18-year-old killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was “a blunder.” (Public Editor’s Journal) | Times national editor Alison Mitchell told Erik Wemple that the phrase derived from the story’s lead, which told an anecdote about Brown seeing a vision of an angel. (Erik Wemple) | The Times has used the term “no angel” in the past to refer to Al Capone, Whitey Bulger and one of the Columbine killers. (Vanity Fair) | The profile was written by John Eligon. (The New York Times) | Austin Kleon’s “newspaper blackout” poem from Monday:
  3. Facebook cracks down on clickbait: How does Facebook define clickbait? It’s “when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see.” (Facebook) | “Algorithm tweaks don’t change the bottom line: Facebook is in charge of what you see,” Mathew Ingram writes. (GigaOm) | Upworthy’s Adam Mordecai is “stoked” about the news. (Twitter) | “We welcome a focus from Facebook on engaged time,” an Upworthy spokesperson told John McDermott. (Digiday) | Previously: Upworthy released code for its “attention minutes” metric meant to go beyond clicks. (Poynter) | Previously: Facebook’s Mike Hudack famously — and ironically? — ranted against the shallowness of U.S. news in May. (Poynter)

  4. How American journalist was released in Syria: Before Peter Theo Curtis was freed on Sunday, Qatar “had been working on the case for months at the request of the Obama administration.” David Bradley, chairman and owner of Atlantic Media Co., and a former FBI agent had traveled to Doha to meet with the Qataris, Adam Goldman and Karen DeYoung report. Officials insist no ransom was paid. (Washington Post)
  5. An ‘emotional cauldron’ after James Foley’s death: “When the press isn’t panicked about the Islamic State, it’s confused,” Jack Shafer writes. “Enemies exist, of course. But boogeymen don’t.” (Reuters)
  6. Ken Doctor on Gannett’s “newsrooms of the future”: “It’s easy to paint the laying off/buying out of veterans as simply getting rid of the digitally clueless. There’s some of that, of course, but this is mainly a financial exercise, as is most of the change we see sweeping the American news industry this year.” (Nieman Lab) | Previously: Gannett exec: Goal of reshuffled newsrooms is to invest “fewest resources necessary in production.” (Poynter)
  7. AP expands food columns: “Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian will join AP’s team of kitchen authorities, taking over ‘The Healthy Plate,’ a weekly column aimed at helping home cooks discover the healthier side of everyday ingredients,” according to a press release. (AP)
  8. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: John Batter will be CEO of Gracenote. Previously, he was CEO of M-GO. (Tech Crunch) | Mark Jurkowitz is the owner of the Outer Banks Sentinel in Nags Head, North Carolina. Previously, he was the associate director of Pew Research Center’s journalism project. (Romenesko) | Jon Ward is a senior political correspondent with Yahoo News. Previously, he was a political reporter for the Huffington Post. (Politico) | Shauna Rempel is now a social media strategist for Global News. Previously, she was social media and technology editor at the Toronto Star. (Muck Rack) | Chris Tisch is now business editor for the Tampa Bay Times. Previously, he was assistant metro editor there. (Tampa Bay Times) | Nathan Lump is now editor of Travel and Leisure. Previously, he was director of branded content at Condé Nast. (Time Inc.) | Job of the day: The San Antonio Express-News is looking for a web producer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would you like this roundup each morning? This week, please email me: skirkland@poynter.org. You can reach your regular roundup guy at: abeaujon@poynter.org


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Facebook and Twitter Applications on Ipad

On the Facebookification of Twitter and the Twitterfication of Facebook

Twitter lately has been full of journalists critical of Facebook for not being more like Twitter — and critical of Twitter for being too much like Facebook.

Throughout the clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Missouri, Twitter users have noted that their timelines are blanketed by Ferguson coverage. But their News Feeds on Facebook have been slow to reflect breaking news as it erupts:

Chartbeat’s chief data scientist, Josh Schwartz, weighed in with a traffic referral observation:

Photos, links to livestreams, and breaking-news updates were rapidly spreading on Twitter on Sunday night, while Facebook users were catching up on the day’s Ice Bucket Challenge videos. By morning, more Facebook posts about Ferguson were surfacing for Zeynep Tufekci, according to a Medium post, but by that point they clearly weren’t as impactful:

Many of those posts seem to have been written last night, but I didn’t see them then. Overnight, “edgerank” — or whatever Facebook’s filtering algorithm is called now — seems to have bubbled them up, probably as people engaged them more.

But I wonder: what if Ferguson had started to bubble, but there was no Twitter to catch on nationally? Would it ever make it through the algorithmic filtering on Facebook? Maybe, but with no transparency to the decisions, I cannot be sure.

Lots of news isn’t minute-by-minute breaking news, and Facebook still delivers news to far more people than Twitter does (30 percent of Americans get news on Facebook, according to Pew, while just 8 percent get news on Twitter).

So why can’t Facebook, with nearly five times as many users, compete with Twitter when it comes to giving stories a place to develop and lighting a fire under news organizations that previously weren’t committed to covering a story? Why doesn’t Facebook have the “visceral quality… that can bring stories to a boiling point,” as David Carr of The New York Times put it?

Will Facebook add Twitter-like features?

In a Facebook post, Circa’s Anthony De Rosa said “Facebook is virtually useless for trying to follow updates on ‪#‎Ferguson‬”:

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Twitter, of course, is virtually useless for trying to do lots of things Facebook is good for, like uploading an album of photos or a lengthy video, or carrying out conversations — like the one De Rosa had — that are easy to follow without compiling and sorting each comment with Storify.

But his point is that Facebook, with 1.3 billion users — a billion more than Twitter’s 271 million — could marshal content generated on the platform into something more useful and timely for journalists and readers alike. The company doesn’t widely promote its interest lists, and the News Feed’s “most recent” mode is difficult to find, as commenters on De Rosa’s post mentioned. The news team has made some progress with the Storyful-powered FB Newswire, but that’s just one account. So Facebook still feels like a good place to discover stories, but not a good place to watch stories happen and evolve in real time.

The Washington Post’s Tim Herrera adds some numbers to the widespread anecdotal evidence that news has a long shelf life on Facebook. About half of the posts Herrera viewed over a 5 to 6 hour span were old news, he writes. That’s because of the News Feed’s emphasis on personalization; newness doesn’t seem to be a crucial factor in the mysterious algorithm. Often, that’s a big advantage over the reverse-chronological rigidity of Twitter timelines, where stories can drop off the screen in seconds. On Facebook, it’s easier to discover stories relevant to you that you may have missed on the fast-flying Twitter.

Pundits seem to suggest Facebook has an opportunity — even a moral imperative — to bring important breaking news to its readers and stop sacrificing timeliness for personalization when stories like Ferguson happen. Facebook’s Mike Hudack jumped into De Rosa’s post to say “We are actually working on it.” Maybe that could mean a separate feed with a more Twitter-like stream, or more robust ways of filtering content related to trending topics.

What about a Twitter that’s more like Facebook?

Also in the news: Twitter is experimenting with displaying tweets favorited by someone you follow — even if you don’t follow the account whose tweet was favorited. That upends a core feature of the Twitter experience: You only see what you choose to see.

Quartz’s Dan Frommer explains how significant such a change would be:

This automatic insertion of new tweets into your feed, however, represents a fundamental shift in how Twitter works. Removing some control could be a good thing—the best tweets you’re not seeing are probably more interesting than many of the ones you can see. (Notably, this algorithmic filtering seems to have worked well for Facebook, which has an active user base almost five times the size of Twitter’s.) But it’s still a shift.

The specter of Facebook-style algorithms on the horizon for Twitter has Twitter aficionados worried. As GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram put it, “Facebook has become like a digital version of a newspaper, an information gatekeeper that dispenses the news it believes users or readers need to know, rather than allowing those readers to decide for themselves.” If Twitter becomes a gatekeeper, too, or even offers that as an alternative for its users, will stories like Ferguson make it through?

Frommer argues Twitter has no choice but to experiment with ways of delivering tweets beyond the real-time stream we’re used to:

The bottom line is that Twitter needs to keep growing. The simple stream of tweets has served it well so far, and preservationists will always argue against change. But if additions like these—or even more significant ones, like auto-following newly popular accounts, resurfacing earlier conversations, or more elaborate features around global events, like this summer’s World Cup—could make Twitter useful to billions of potential users, it will be worth rewriting Twitter’s basic rules.

Meanwhile, there’s also clearly an audience on Twitter — an influential one consisting of members of the media — that Facebook wants to better serve by writing some new rules, too. Both companies are trying to muscle in on the other’s territory, and that could have a major impact not only on how news spreads, but how news happens.


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AP journalist and translator killed in Gaza

Simone Camilli in Beit Lahiya on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Simone Camilli in Beit Lahiya on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. AP journalist and translator killed, photographer injured in Gaza: Simone Camilli and translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash “died Wednesday when Gaza police engineers were neutralizing unexploded ordnance in the Gaza town of Beit Lahiya left over from fighting between Israel and Islamic militants.” AP photographer Hatem Moussa was seriously injured in the explosion. (AP) | Moussa got AP’s “Beat of the Week” nod last month. (APME)
  2. Is there a second Snowden? James Bamford writes that he got “unrestricted access to [Edward Snowden's] cache of documents in various locations. And going through this archive using a sophisticated digital search tool, I could not find some of the documents that have made their way into public view, leading me to conclude that there must be a second leaker somewhere.” (Wired) | Related: What it’s like to do a photoshoot with Snowden. (Wired)
  3. Gawker covers BuzzFeed: BuzzFeed has removed nearly 5,000 old posts, some of which “clearly veered into plagiarism territory,” J.K. Trotter writes. (Gawker) | Yowch: “BuzzFeed divorces its first wife.” (@pbump) | Kelly McBride: “Taking articles down is a rare phenomenon among trustworthy institutions, and it should be executed in the full light of day.” (Poynter)
  4. BuzzFeed covers Gawker: In response to staff complaints about violent porn posted in comments, Gawker Media banned images from its Kinja platform. Kinja, Myles Tanzer reports, “is still mystifying employees and creating tensions between the company’s editorial staff and top executives.” (BuzzFeed) | Jezebel EIC Jessica Coen calls the image-banning move an insufficient “temporary band-aid.” (Poynter) | Nicholas Jackson suggests Gawker Media should “Shut down Kinja completely.” (It’s important to note here that Kinja is also Gawker Media’s CMS.) Comments, he writes, “just don’t belong at the end of or alongside posts … They belong on personal blogs, or on Twitter or Tumblr or Reddit, where individuals build a full, searchable body of work and can be judged accordingly.” (Pacific Standard)
  5. Alt-weeklies benefit from Advance’s changes: Publishers of Willamette Week, Lagniappe and Syracuse New Times have staffed up and seen growth in the wake of changes at daily papers in their cities. (AAN) | Related: Readership, alliances up at other New Orleans news outlets in last year (Poynter)
  6. MoJo’s Facebook mojo: Mother Jones engagement editor Ben Dreyfuss decided to “double down on Facebook,” Caroline O’Donovan writes, and has seen notable returns. “From what we hear, Facebook is privileging certain kinds of content-rich sites,” MoJo publisher Steve Katz says. (Nieman) | Related: “While many people now find their news on Facebook, it’s easy to forget that very recently they found it on Google, and will surely find it somewhere else in the not-too-distant future.” (NYT) | Also related: Facebook has seen many more publishers embed its posts since it launched FB Newswire. (Poynter)
  7. More BS television: Bill Simmons plans to launch “The Grantland Basketball Show” on ESPN. (The Big Lead)
  8. Journalists injured in Iraq: New York Times reporter Alissa J. Rubin, Adam Ferguson, a photographer freelancing for the Times, and Moises Saman, who was on assignment for Time, were injured in a helicopter crash in northern Iraq Tuesday. The pilot was killed. (NYT) | Saman’s pictures from the crash. (Time)
  9. Jobs still available in journalism: Dale Eisinger says he worked for “the New York office of a conservative media company based in the South,” where his charge was “to trawl Twitter, and the rest of the internet, for conspiracy and evidence of liberal malice. Then, to repackage these stories or posts or memes for the target demo.” (The Awl)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Adam Serwer will be national editor at BuzzFeed. Currently, he’s a reporter at MSNBC (Poynter) | Edith Zimmerman has been named senior staff writer for Matt Taibbi’s as yet unnamed magazine. She founded The Hairpin. Laura Dawn, former creative and cultural director for moveon.org, will be the magazine’s executive director of multimedia. (Poynter) | Dominic Rushe, Alex Needham and Oliver Laughland will each take different jobs at Guardian U.S. Rushe, a business correspondent, will be East Coast technology editor for Guardian U.S. Needham, formerly a culture editor for theguardian.com, will be arts editor for Guardian U.S. Laughland will join Guardian U.S. as a senior reporter. He’s currently a reporter for Guardian Australia. (The Guardian) | Jeanne Cummings will be head of operations for Bloomberg’s forthcoming politics vertical. Previously, she was a deputy editor at Bloomberg News. (Politico) | The Denver Post is looking for a features writer to cover food and lifestyle. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org. Read more

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