News outlets to ramp up publication of Instant Articles

Weeks after the initial furor surrounding the publication of the first news stories within Facebook, the Instant Articles program went dormant.

Last week, Business Insider’s Jillian D’Onfro reported that the news organizations that had signed up to pilot the Instant Articles program — including The New York Times, NBC News, National Geographic and The Atlantic — hadn’t yet published any stories within Facebook beyond their initial efforts.

But that is going to change soon. Multiple news organizations within the pilot program plan to increase the volume of the Instant Articles they publish as the next phase of the initiative begins sometime before the end of the month.

Kinsey Wilson, executive vice president for product and technology at The New York Times, told New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan last week that the paper was preparing to publish “about 30″ Instant Articles per day. Read more


The new campaign trail for presidential candidates: Facebook

National Journal

Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Florida are all part of the traditional route to the White House.

But the 2016 race may be blazing a new trail for the contenders, namely Facebook.

In fact, says A-list politics reporter Shane Goldmacher, the “path to the presidency will run through new territory—your Facebook news feed.”

Goldmacher is best known for great campaign finance work for National Journal. But he does a lot more, as displayed by his analysis of the changing, distinctly digital terrain of the most arduous of campaign races.

His bottom line is pretty succinct:

“As the race begins in earnest, the world’s largest social network is emerging as the single most important tool of the digital campaign, with contenders as different and disparate as Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, all investing in the platform already.”

This is all about data and how Facebook, with 190 million U.S. Read more


Does the rise of ephemeral content spell the death of archives?

archiveAs news sites negotiate with Facebook to publish material directly on the platform, Facebook’s role in determining what news to surface, what news to censor, and how original content published on the platform is archived should be examined more closely.

Trevor Timm tackled the first two points nicely in a Columbia Journalism Review editorial. I’m equally concerned about the last point — about archiving original content published on the Facebook platform — particularly after I asked folks how AOL archived original content by news organizations back when they did it and was told that in some cases, it just didn’t happen.

It would be short-sighted and foolish for publishers to ignore third-party distribution platforms, both for revenue reasons and the much-needed audiences they provide. But publishers must also think about workflows for archiving their original content published on these platforms – ranging from captions on brand pages and Instant Articles on Facebook to ephemeral Snaps posted on Snapchat — for the benefit of future audiences, journalists, and historians. Read more


Here’s why NBC News took Facebook’s Instant Articles deal

NBC News' launch story on "Instant Articles" includes tilt-to-view photos, autoplay videos and an interactive map of a California almond farm. (Image credit: NBC News)

NBC News’ launch story on Facebook’s Instant Articles includes tilt-to-view photos, autoplay videos and an interactive map of a California almond farm. (Image credit: NBC News)

After Facebook’s Instant Articles program went live Wednesday morning, many media commentators wrote about its potential drawbacks for publishers.

Over at Fortune, Mathew Ingram called the deal a “Faustian bargain,” saying it allowed the social networking giant to tighten its grip on news consumers; David Nield at Readwrite warned the program was symptomatic of the continued consolidation of the Internet; writing for The Awl, John Herrman observed that news outlets were likely to clash with Facebook by running afoul of its content standards.

But Julian March, the senior vice president of editorial and innovation at NBC News, isn’t wringing his hands over Facebook, or the deal it extended to his network. Read more

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Fear and loathing greet the Facebook-New York Times deal

Image by Deposit Photo

Image by Deposit Photo

Fear and loathing.

That’s an initial response to Facebook partnering with nine content companies, including the New York Times and BuzzFeed. Many in the media echo chamber are wondering, “What’s this mean for us?”

No shortage of editors and publishers took a pass Wednesday in speaking on the record. But Larry Kramer, president-publisher of USA Today and a onetime tech luminary, underscored his curiosity and qualms.

“I think all of us in the media need to pay attention to this experiment with Facebook,” he said in an email.

“On the one hand it is definitely a publishing platform that we all have to pay attention to, because so many people are spending so much time consuming content on it. On the other hand, in publishing here we are further de emphasizing our role as editors who influence what you should be spending your time on.”

“And, we are acknowledging that the reader is more a customer of Facebook’s than ours. Read more


Publishing news direct to Facebook is a big step — but the Apocalypse is not upon us

Sceeenshot from Facebook

Sceeenshot from Facebook

My read on Facebook’s deal with nine news publishers to post some material direct to the platform: yes, it’s a significant business development but by no means apocalyptic, as some commentators are suggesting.

Here’s why:

Good company: It was artful of Facebook and the publishers to assemble nine prominent brands to launch the experiment  — including new media exemplar BuzzFeed, magazine-based National Geographic and four international titles.

Were this just The New York Times, for instance, one would wonder whether the opportunity and deal terms were a one-off match to their business situation.  Not so with this roster.

Favorable revenue split:  The publishers will (for now at least) get 100 percent of revenue for ads they sell and 70 percent of those Facebook sells.  Read more

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Report: NYT will begin publishing within Facebook tomorrow

New York | The Wall Street Journal | The New York Times

A much-anticipated publishing partnership between Facebook and major news outlets such as The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic is on the eve of its debut, according to a report published Tuesday in New York.

On Wednesday, The New York Times is expected to begin publishing articles within Facebook as part of the social network’s “Instant Articles” program, a major shift that has been on the horizon since October, when late New York Times columnist David Carr described the initiative’s contours in his weekly column.

The partnership, which has gradually come into focus with successive media reports as its launch date approached, will purportedly reduce the amount of time readers have to wait for articles to load. Read more


Society for News Design named Facebook ‘World’s Best Designed’ in digital competition

Society for News Design

To close out its annual workshop on Saturday, the Society for News Design named four winners as the “World’s Best Designed Newspapers” and one site, Facebook, as “Best Designed Digital.” Saturday, Kenney Marlatt wrote about the results for the Society of News Design.

For the “Best Designed Digital” winner, judges from Vox, the Center for Investigative Reporting and Sueddeutsche Zeitung chose Facebook from among 10 finalists. In SND’s post, Fernando Diaz explained the judges findings, noting that we’re at a crossroads.

From desktop to mobile to app, this year’s winner works. Everywhere. On anything. It provides a richer news experience than any one “site.” It is redefining “community,” by evolving our relationships with the news and each other. We must not only embrace this shift, but learn from it and evolve our organizations accordingly.

Read more

How publishers are using Facebook interest targeting to reach niche audiences

To target your posts for readers with specific interests, go to your page on Facebook and click the target icon. Then, select "interests" and type in the selected topic. (Screenshot from Facebook)

To target your posts for readers with specific interests, go to your page on Facebook and click the target icon. Then, select “interests” and type in the selected topic. (Screenshot from Facebook)

In today’s unbundled media landscape, where news organizations slice and dice their audiences with newsletters, apps, social media accounts and verticals, Facebook has given publishers another tool to segment their followers: interest targeting.

In December, Facebook began allowing page owners to target different segments of their audiences with posts based on their readers’ interests. Interest-based targeting, which was previously made available to advertisers, is now being used for free by news publishers to find specific niche audiences among their respective readerships. The tool allows publishers to increase the likelihood that users who follow their page will see a post that’s aligned with their stated interests. Read more


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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