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.

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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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Death and writing short – the missing SXSW session

I once heard the great Francis X. Clines of the New York Times tell a group of journalists never to apologize for writing about death.  “We tell the morbid truth,” he said.

I was scheduled to deliver a workshop on “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times” on St. Patrick’s Day at SXSW.  But on Friday the Thirteenth my mother, Shirley Clark, died at the age of 95.  I cancelled my trip to Austin and turned my writing skills to crafting her eulogy.

Here are some of the things I would have said at SXSW if I had been able to make the trip.  It riffs off my handout for the session, which you can access here.  When I picked the selections of short writing for study, I didn’t realize how many of them were about death:  dying, almost dying, fear of dying, recovering from a death, remembering a death, the legacy of death.  Read more


6 questions raised by Facebook’s reported deal with publishers

If Facebook is able to persuade media organizations to go along with its newest idea, it will be, no kidding, a game-changer.

The New York Times reported last night that Facebook is talking with the Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed and others about a plan that would have the news organizations hosting their mobile content on Facebook rather than linking back to their own sites.

When I teach newsrooms how to smartly use Facebook, I tell them that it is vital that most posts push the reader back “to the mothership.” By that I mean get the reader onto the newsroom’s website. The reasons are simple: That’s where the ads are, that’s where the metrics are and that’s where the other content that publishers want people to read, watch and listen to is posted. Read more


News orgs may sign on to an even closer partnership with Facebook. Like?

Good morning. Here are eight media stories.

  1. Update status

    The New York Times reports that Facebook is in talks with several news organizations, including BuzzFeed, National Geographic and the Times itself, to host content on Facebook. "Such a plan would represent a leap of faith for news organizations accustomed to keeping their readers within their own ecosystems, as well as accumulating valuable data on them." (The New York Times) | Facebook "isn’t just another platform," Joshua Benton writes for Nieman Lab. "It’s dominant in a way no other platform is, which makes it understandable that publishers might be weighing the cost-benefit — or control-benefit — analysis differently than it does for, oh, WhatsApp or Snapchat." (Nieman Lab) | John Battelle has five questions for organizations considering the partnership, including "Do you have any proof that publishers using another company’s proprietary platform have ever created a lasting and sustainable business?" (Medium) | On Monday, Poynter's Ben Mullin wrote "How Vox Media gets readers to share on Facebook." (The answer is that Vox creates content just for Facebook.) (Poynter) | Vox also wrote about its approach to Facebook.

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How Vox Media gets readers to share on Facebook


Vox Media

Before and after Vox released its interview with Barack Obama in February, the outlet teased viewers with a series of video previews. Each a couple of minutes long and seasoned liberally with swooping graphics, the videos were uploaded directly to Facebook and contained excerpts of the president’s conversation with Vox journalists Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein.

The videos — some of which contained a link to the full interview — drove traffic back to Vox’s website. But that wasn’t their purpose. The previews were self-contained pieces of content that lived exclusively on Facebook, designed primarily to entice readers to share. The most popular video was published a day before the interview went live, and racked up 4,606 shares, more than the other three previews combined. Read more

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New study finds millennials are strong news consumers, but take an indirect path

Millennials are getting a bad rap as a newsless and disengaged generation, according to a new study of their news habits. But print newspapers and digital home pages are not their main way of finding what they are looking for.

Rather social media and search are the two top avenues for finding news, according to a report released today by the American Press Institute, Associated Press and NORC center at the University of Chicago.  Facebook is the top way of encountering news, used by 88 percent of those who do.

Eighty-five percent of 1,000 millennials surveyed said that news is at least somewhat important to them. News is their third top digital activity after e-mail and check of weather and traffic. Games and keeping up with friends came in fourth and fifth. Read more


Here’s what Facebook knows about ethnic minorities on social media

There were a few relevant insights for journalists in a SXSW session Friday that was primarily designed to motivate advertisers and marketers to target Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians on Facebook.

If you want to get relevant content in front of a diverse audience on social media, you have to understand the nuances of how that audience is different from the general population, the presenters argued.

Christian Martinez, head of U.S. multicultural sales for Facebook, described a study that Facebook and Ipsos MediaCT performed last August on 1,600 Facebook users.

Where ethnic minorities used to see their physical neighborhood as the primary way they connect to their culture and heritage, now it’s through social media, said Virginia Lennon, senior vice president of partnerships for Ipsos. Where minorities used to connect in person and on the telephone, now social media provides a constant connection to their family and friends, especially for those who are separated by physical distance and even national borders. Read more

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Facebook is purging fake news stories, but The Onion probably won’t be affected


Social networking giant Facebook announced Tuesday that it’s taking steps to stamp out malicious fake news stories while leaving funny fake stories unaffected.

The company is tweaking its inscrutable News Feed to cut down on the number of “stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news,” Facebook software engineer Erich Owens and research scientist Udi Weinsberg write in a post on the company blog.

The change isn’t intended to remove stories that people report as false or allow Facebook to decide what’s factual and what isn’t, they explain:

To reduce the number of these types of posts, News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false. News Feed will also take into account when many people choose to delete posts.

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