Articles about "Social media"

Facebook and Twitter Applications on Ipad

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:

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

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Newspaper asks staffers to refrain from tweeting other outlets’ stories


Editors at India’s The Hindu asked staffers to “exercise restraint while tweeting or sharing news stories from other competing news publications,” Vidhi Choudhary reports in Mint.

“We need particularly to ensure that in our enthusiasm and urge to participate in an on-line discussion or debate, we do not end up doing a favour to the competition,” the note from Managing Editor P. Jacob and Senior Managing Editor V. Jayanth reads.

Hindu Editor-in-Chief N. Ravi told Choudhary the guidance was “in line with the social media policies of other international media organizations like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reuters among others.” Mint notes the Journal, with which it has an exclusive content-sharing partnership in India, “actually doesn’t prohibit its reporters from sharing or retweeting stories by journalists in other media organizations.”

The New York Times doesn’t have a formal social media policy; “in general our message is that people should be thoughtful,” standards editor Phil Corbett told Poynter in 2012. Reuters says the intention of its social media policy is “not to muzzle anyone“:

Journalists are people too, with all the rights of citizens. If we want to tweet or post about a school play, a film or a favorite recipe, we are free to do so.

Poynter’s Ellyn Angelotti wrote last July about ways to create effective social media policies; “overreaching rules can stifle speech and creativity, harm morale and even expose your organization to legal trouble,” she said. Sam Kirkland wrote this summer about news organizations that consider retweets to be endorsements. Read more

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3 tips from BBC News’ Chris Hamilton for battling rumors on social media

On Sunday and Monday, BBC News social media editor Chris Hamilton spent some time batting down a rumor on Twitter that said the BBC had pulled Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen from Gaza. The reports started with this tweet, from Raajje News:

Hamilton replied within an hour:

That original tweet was retweeted more than 1,000 times. Hamilton replied to a lot of people who passed on the news. (On Aug. 1, Bowen tweeted that he was on vacation.)

Here are three tips we can take from Hamilton on dealing with rumors on social media.

  1. Take the time to do it:

    “I look at it is an important part of my role, to do what I can to set the record straight, if needed, when there’s an issue that lots of people are talking about, for an extended period of time,” Hamilton said in an email.

  2. Don’t take too much time, though:

    “It’s not rocket science, but the key is to focus on where you might make a difference,” Hamilton said. “For example, tweeters that have large numbers of followers and/or their tweets are driving the conversation. It doesn’t always work but I think it’s important to get the word out and not throw your hands up and say there’s nothing to be done.”

  3. Don’t work alone:

    “Being able to point to a credible place where the facts are clearly and simply laid out always helps,” Hamilton said. “For example, a press release. In this situation, our head of Newsgathering, Jonathan Munro, tweeted unequivocally about the situation.”

Poynter also has some good and related tips on how to deal on social media.

In 2013, Poynter’s Ellyn Angelotti wrote “How to handle personal attacks on social media.”

Poynter’s News University also has courses on using social media, including “Getting It Right: Accuracy and Verification in the Digital Age.” Read more


Retweets are endorsements at NPR and AP, but not at NYT

NPR is still worried that retweets can easily be misconstrued as endorsements, according to a memo from standards and practices supervising editor Mark Memmott obtained by Jim Romenesko.

According to Memmott, “despite what many say, retweets should be viewed AS endorsements.” He quoted from NPR’s ethics handbook:

“Tweet and retweet as if what you’re saying or passing along is information that you would put on the air or in a ‘traditional’ news story. If it needs context, attribution, clarification or ‘knocking down,’ provide it.”

The reiterated policy of treating every retweet as a message that could be dangerously misconstrued comes in light of an education blogger lamenting on an official NPR account that “only the white guys get back to me” on deadline. She later said it should have gone out on her personal account:

But that incident presents a separate issue from retweeting, say, a politician with an offensive viewpoint, so the fact that Memmott took this opportunity to reiterate the dangers of retweeting is a little puzzling. Besides, the policy doesn’t seem to give readers much credit for understanding how Twitter works. And it’s probably a little scary if you’re an NPR reporter trying to make the most of social media.

That said, NPR’s reiterated rules of the road are similar to what the Associated Press recommends in its social media guidelines [PDF]:

Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day. A retweet with no comment of your own can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you’re relaying.

These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements. Many people who see your tweets and retweets will never look at your Twitter bio.

In other words, AP seems to be saying, don’t avoid the infamous “RTs ≠ endorsements” disclaimer because it’s unnecessary hand-holding; avoid it because it’s insufficient hand-holding. Sree Sreenivasan has called the disclaimer a “useless crutch,” making a similar point: “RTs are implied endorsements. … The only way to make sure your tweets aren’t misconstrued is to add a few words before the material you’re retweeting.”

(An NPR spokesperson tells Poynter “there is no policy specifically regarding what to include or not in Twitter bios.” AP social media editor Eric Carvin has said the AP doesn’t require it: “I personally prefer to use the limited space in other ways.”)

The New York Times, meanwhile, has always offered a nice example of how to encourage smart social media use in the newsroom without codifying a long list of proscriptions and warnings. Here’s what Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at the Times, told Poynter in an email:

In general, I think Twitter users by now understand that a retweet involves sharing or pointing something out, not necessarily advocating or endorsing. We just encourage our staffers to be mindful of the overall impression people will get from their tweets, so that their feed does not undermine their impartiality as journalists. That doesn’t mean they can’t pass along links and retweets that reflect a range of viewpoints.

That’s really not miles apart from NPR’s standard in essence: Just be smart. The Times’s Patrick LaForge, who launched the “RTs ≠ endorsements” craze, says the phrase makes him cringe now. But even the most ardent “RTs ≠ endorsements” haters realize retweets can sometimes send the wrong message; rejecting the notion that retweets imply endorsement unless you specify otherwise doesn’t mean it’s impossible to mislead.

As LaForge told BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel: “If I think a retweet is likely to confuse people about my viewpoint, or if there is some doubt about the accuracy of the original tweet, I add attribution, skepticism or other context. Or I skip it.”

Twitter might be full of land mines, but too many reporters still haven’t taken their first steps into the field. A scary memo about how easy it is to make a mistake on Twitter doesn’t really encourage the use of Twitter. And as PJ Vogt pointed out at On The Media, making a mistake on Twitter can sometimes be educational anyway — for you and your readers.

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Correction: A previous version of this post misspelled Mark Memmott’s last name. Read more

Facebook and Twitter Applications on Ipad

Social media roundup: Gawker, USA Today, LA Times open up with tips and insights

Automated tweets get less engagement than handcrafted ones, WhatsApp is making inroads at a USA Today sports site, and sometimes all you can do when a years-old piece takes off on Facebook is shrug.

It’s been a good week for gleaning insights from media outlets, which seem increasingly willing to share which social strategies are working for them. Here’s a rundown of recent social media news you might have missed:

Human tweets RSS tweets

Los Angeles Times social media editor Stacey Leasca shared some tips on Twitter’s media blog this week.

Among her insights was the fact that moving from RSS tweets improved engagement. It’s no surprise that a human touch makes a difference, but it’s interesting to see how much the change seems to have increased the rate at which the newspaper’s accounts are gaining new followers:

A perfect example of this is, again, @LANow. We moved @LANow off of an automated feed in the summer of 2013. The account was then staffed by editors and reporters working in the section. They are our real local experts and the Twitter account quickly became richer with information and much more personal for Angelenos. @LANow quickly went from averaging about 1,500 fans a week to more than 2,500 fans a week.

Few big news outlets use automated tweets

Late last week, Nieman Lab’s Joseph Lichterman gathered a few paragraphs from seven major news outlets about how they manage their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Only one, The New York Times, indicated much reliance on automation. Here’s Daniel Victor, social media staff editor:

By most measures — including clicks, retweets, favorites, and responses — handwritten tweets outperform autotweets. But there are some not-insignificant areas where autotweets win: speed, reliability, and lesser time invested by staff. We aim to have a balance of the two that gives us the benefits of both; it allows us to be both timely and engaging, while still being able to spend time on additional newsroom priorities.

I’ve noticed Times tweets generally seem very by-the-book, to the extent that the occasional tweet with a human flair seems jarring (the tell is that they’re written down-style instead of up-style, as Times headlines are). The Wall Street Journal, perhaps its chief competitor, has embraced pictures and charts on Twitter, and is much more conversational at times. The Journal also liberally retweets its reporters. It’s fascinating to see how much the two newspapers — still somewhat staid in print and on their websites — diverge when it comes to social media.

Ryan Osborn, NBCUniversal News Group vice president of innovation and strategic integration, echoed most of the other outlets’ reasons for choosing not to automate social media posts: “While scaling a strategy 24/7 has taken time, we’ve found that engagement is greater when the accounts are manually curated.”

What’s up with WhatsApp?

After Facebook’s acquisition of the messenger platform in February, I wrote that WhatsApp could become a useful tool for “dark social” content sharing — in other words, an alternative to email for sharing links privately rather than publicly. BuzzFeed had already started experimenting with a WhatsApp button in stories on the mobile Web.

Now, Digiday’s Ricardo Bilton reports that USA Today’s viral, mobile-friendly sports site, FTW, saw 18 percent of its mobile sharing activity come from WhatsApp in its first week of using the WhatsApp share button. That’s more than Twitter:

Sites with sizable youth audiences and content built to be shared should take heed.

The mystery of evergreen Facebook stories

Finally, Gawker editor-in-chief Max Read explored a question today about his site’s traffic: “Why Is Gawker’s Top Story a Four-Year-Old Post About Vajazzling?” Of the post’s near-million page views this week, 96 percent came from Facebook, Read shows in charts and tables. And the traffic pattern for this type of second-life virality differs from what Gawker sees for its daily posts:

Regular, diversified traffic on a decent hit is a quick burst immediately after publication, tapering off throughout the day, a smaller peak for the next day, another valley and on until it flatlines. It hits its peaks around midday and early afternoon, when office workers are at the computers.

Facebook traffic, on the other hand, is a steady rise that doesn’t peak until around 10 p.m. eastern time (and drops off immediately). Weirder still, it gets bigger: Wednesday night, the post was receiving around 7,000 hits an hour at its peak; Thursday, it was hitting 8,000.

Tweets are ephemeral, disappearing from timelines almost as quickly as they appear. But Facebook posts often hang around, and some brands, like Mental Floss, have observed longer shelf lives for posts since the latest News Feed shakeup.

As far as determining what “patient zero” launched Gawker’s four-year-old viral sensation goes, Read wrote that all he could was shrug: ¯\(°_o)/¯

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social media _ depositphotos

How Muck Rack’s social media tool lets journalists track content sharing

Muck Rack

Here’s a handy social media tool you might not be aware of: Muck Rack’s Who Shared My Link feature. Simply paste any link, and it shows you how many times it was shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. There’s even a button for your bookmarks bar so you can instantly see social shares for whatever page you’re on.

Sara Morrison wrote about the feature last year for CJR. As Muck Rack CEO Gregory Galant told her: “Since pageviews are known only to the publishers, who usually embellish the numbers before releasing them, ‘shares’ is one of the few metrics that are public and equal across the Web.”

Muck Rack announced on Tuesday that it added the ability to generate PDF summaries of how a link performed on social media (you have to be a Muck Rack Pro member or a verified journalist to access the PDF reports — and a list of Muck Rack users who shared your link). The new PDF reports are potentially a useful way to pass the data on to a boss or coworkers, provided your newsroom doesn’t already track social shares closely — and PDF attachments and shameless bragging won’t annoy your boss.

More interesting is that Who Shared My Link allows you to check out your competitors’ social performance, too. For instance, as of about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, The New York Times obituary for Maya Angelou was much more widely shared than The Wall Street Journal’s, according to Muck Rack:

The feature is also fascinating when it comes to tracking how media organizations differ in terms of where their audiences discover content. The vast majority of people who shared BuzzFeed’s story about Angelou passed it along on Facebook, while Vox’s take was actually shared more frequently on Twitter than on Facebook:

It’s a useful tool for social media editors (not to mention media reporters) who want an easy, one-click way to track sharing activity.

// Read more

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Report: readers more loyal to large news sites

The latest report by analytics firm indicates large news sites see a greater percentage of visitors return within 30 days than small news sites do.

That finding runs counter to the company’s internal hypothesis that niche sites would have higher return rates, the company said in an email. Sites with more than 10 million monthly visitors saw a 16 percent return rate, while sites with fewer than 1 million monthly visitors saw a 9 percent return rate.

The company’s March sample included 500 million visitors and over 2 billion page views. Across’s entire network, an average of 11 percent of visitors returned to a site within 30 days.

Last month, Poynter wrote about Chartbeat and New York magazine’s effort to track what converts one-time visitors into loyal, returning readers. Read more

Twitter IPO

Who owns your Twitter followers?

This is the latest in a series of articles by The Poynter Institute and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on legal issues affecting journalists. Poynter’s Ellyn Angelotti is an attorney and teaches social media issues.

Social media regularly blurs lines when it comes to journalists’ personal and professional lives. We often post pictures of our pets and children alongside posts related to our work. One unintended consequence is this can create ambiguity about who ultimately owns your Twitter account.

Organizations and brands seek employees who can effectively build an audience using social media. However, once an employee builds a healthy community of followers and then leaves the organization, who do the followers belong to?

Some instances are clearer than others.

Journalists who create an account associated with a beat and then exit the organization often leave their account and start a new one.

However, when Jim Roberts, who was the assistant managing editor of The New York Times at the time, accepted a buyout last year, he took his 75,000 followers with him. He tweeted from his (then) handle @nytjim, “My feed is my own.”

After leaving, he revised his handle, @nycjim, which endured his stint as executive editor at Reuters. Now as the executive editor and chief content officer at Mashable, his base has grown to 134,000 followers.

Legal issues of ownership are still in their infancy.

PhoneDog v. Noah Kravitz is the most notable case involving Twitter followers. Kravitz, an employee for the technology news and review site PhoneDog created the account @PhoneDog_Noah to post updates about his work. He built an audience of 17,000 Twitter followers. When he left the company, he changed his Twitter handle to @noahkravitz and took his followers with him. PhoneDog sued him for misappropriation of trade secrets, among other related issues.

The case settled out of court in 2012 for undisclosed terms and Kravitz kept the account. While PhoneDog provided little direction on ownership of Twitter followers, the discussion on this issue helps to identify several factors that the courts would likely examine to determine ownership of a social media account, including:

  • Who initiated the creation of the account?
  • Who directs and creates the content?
  • Did the employee have the account before taking the job, or create it because of the job?
  • Who has access to the passwords?
  • Is the account associated with the brand or the employee?

So journalists or employers can better protect their interests by showing their involvement in the account has been significant. But experts have suggestions for resolving Twitter account disputes before they end up in court.

Jasmine McNealy, an attorney and assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, recently published a law review article, “Who owns your friends?: PhoneDog v. Kravitz and business claims of trade secret in social media information.” McNealy explores the ownership of Twitter followers and offers useful suggestions for how businesses can avoid conflicts in this area by creating non-disclosure agreements, assigning the rights to social media content created, and encouraging employees to maintain separate personal and professional accounts.

Twitter followers are now valued as work capital, McNealy said. Some job candidates are hired based on their existing social media following. So it is important for both employers and employees to discuss the areas of potential dispute and work them out before disputes arise. Here are some suggestions:

  • Seek Clarity — When you take a job or when you create a potentially work-based social media account, have a conversation with your boss about your work on social media. Is that work part of your role with the company and therefore property of the company? Or, does your boss see your work on social media as outside of the scope of your employment. Come to an agreement regarding who owns the followers. This conversation will help you and your boss arrive at rational decisions at the outset rather than later when emotions may be running high.
  • Put it in writing – If you lead an organization or manage employees who use social media, create a social media policy that addresses specific questions about social media use. Update this document regularly to accommodate the changing technologies and remind everyone of the agreed upon expectations.

Even if you are not a manager, if you happen to be somewhat social media savvy, ask your boss if you can help draft an agreement that more clearly indicates who has ownership of you and your colleagues’ social media following. This could be an opportunity for you to help your organization understand the technology and the issues involved.

  • Strategically separate accounts — Maintaining separate personal and professional accounts may seem counterintuitive to the nature of social media. McNealy suggests a fundamental question to ask yourself if you have an account you use both professionally and personally — “why are people following you?” Is it because they want to engage with you personally, or because you represent an extension of the brand or company you work for?

This could be an opportunity to segment your social media audiences more effectively. If people follow you because you represent your company, consider creating an account that is more focused on that aspect of your work. You can still find a way to interject your own voice into your work-related tweets, and potentially feel less awkward about posting selfies with your friends.

  • Be Smart — McNealy said she tells her students not to censor themselves, but to keep in mind there are sometimes consequences for what they say on social media. “The First Amendment doesn’t necessarily protect you from getting fired for not representing your company in a way that they’d like you to,” she said. Remember Justine Sacco who was fired as a result of an offensive tweet she sent just before departing on a flight to Africa?

Unfortunately, we don’t really know how the courts are going to apply laws related to trade secrets, privacy and intellectual property to the issues we may encounter regarding our social media followings.

However, we can create some clarity and ground rules to help us avoid legal land mines in this area.

Related: Hyperlinking could help journalists in defamation lawsuits | How to use FOIA laws to find stories, deepen sourcing Read more


Americans twice as likely to believe news organizations than social media

Associated Press | American Press Institute

No matter how old they are, people surveyed for a new study by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute were “more than twice as likely to express high levels of trust about what they learn directly from a news organization (43 percent say they trust it mostly or completely) as they are to trust what they discovered through social media.”

15 percent of those who get news through social media “say they have high levels of trust in information they get from that means of discovery,” the study says. 13 percent of people under 30 said social was their preferred source for news. 3 percent of all other age groups said the same thing.

The study has lots of other interesting findings about news consumption, among them that people change their behavior depending on what the news is. Read more

Shown are the main offices of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper in San Francisco, Friday, March 13, 2009.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

S.F. Chronicle social ‘boot camp’ changing culture, practices

The 148-year-old San Francisco Chronicle has invested in an off-site incubator for its journalists to learn about and experiment with a variety of digital tools, including social media. PBS Media Shift explored goals of the “boot camp” in January.

Now that the effort is underway, I reached out to Marcus Gilmer, newsroom social media manager at the Chronicle and (He and I worked together at the Chicago Sun-Times last year.) Gilmer joined the Chronicle in December and has spent time at the incubator teaching social media skills and tools to reporters and editors. (This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.) Read more