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


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

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

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

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

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The last email sent to Foley’s family

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

  1. James Foley’s last months: Cassandra Vinograd tells how James Foley‘s family communicated with his captors. (NBC News) | “Some messages were political and some were financial.” (CNN) | The last email sent to his family (GlobalPost) | Shane Bauer: “Like my family, [Foley's family] probably sometimes thought they should do more to try and convince his captors to let him go. Other times they likely reasoned they should stay quiet, hoping that silence would give the hostage takers the opportunity to quietly release him. It’s a hideous position to be in.” (Mother Jones) | NYT editorial: “There is no simple answer on whether to submit to terrorist extortion.” (NYT) || Foley’s family establishes journalism scholarship at Marquette.
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Why newspaper photo cliches make for great Tumblrs

“I feel sorry for local news photographers,” begins the About text on a blog dedicated to newspaper photos.

That’s understandable, given the heavy workload of the photographers lucky enough to have survived rounds of layoffs.

The site says newspaper photographers are “hugely skilled and poorly paid.” Again, no argument there.

But then there’s this: “[they're] sent out to photograph miserable people pointing at dog turds. Here, we celebrate their work.”

So begins the U.K.-based Angry people in local newspapers blog, one of a handful of websites that collect cliched shots from overworked photographers lacking job security.

Similar sites in the genre include a U.K.-based Tumblr dedicated to Daily Mail photos of people “looking sad while holding, or standing close to, the thing that has made them feel sad.” And, in the U.S., there’s the more recent Tumblr from American journalist Jeremy Barr, “Local People With Their Arms Crossed.”

Barr’s site sports the tagline: “The pose that says, ‘Hey, look at me. Read more

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A journalist’s guide to using Tumblr

This morning I wrote about how some newsrooms use Tumblr, but getting to know the site can take awhile. So here’s a quick guide to using Tumblr, with Poynter’s Tumblr page as a reference.

This is the Tumblr Dashboard, the first thing Tumblr users see when they visit the site. This is Poynter’s Dash, but each user’s Dash will look a bit different, depending on what blogs each user follows.

From the Dashboard, users can access most of the key Tumblr functions — it’s the hub for making and sharing posts. Users scroll down — and can keep scrolling down — to read posts from the Tumblrs they follow. As you can see, the first post in our feed (when the screenshot was taken) was from the Pulitzer Center’s Tumblr. Read more

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Tumblr Chief Executive David Karp.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

How some news orgs use Tumblr

What do you do with a blog service full of cat GIFs and memes? If you’re Yahoo, you buy it for $1.1 billion. If you’re a media outlet, you use Tumblr as an extension of your brand.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Tumblr Chief Executive David Karp. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The platform, founded by David Karp in 2007, is home to more than 108 million blogs and more than 50 billion individual posts. Tumblr pages take seconds to set up, and users range from individuals like John Green to companies like IBM. Even the White House has a Tumblr.

Tumblr makes it easy for users to post quickly, and those posts can be just about anything, like a long text post, a photo with a link or a video. Read more

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Yahoo buys Tumblr, DOJ targeted another reporter: Morning links

YAHOO WILL BUY TUMBLRPer the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business,” a Yahoo announcement this morning says. The acquisition cost Yahoo $1.1 billion, “substantially all of which is payable in cash.”

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Report: Yahoo in talks with Tumblr

All Things D | Adweek | GigaOm | TechCrunch

Yahoo is discussing “strategic alliance and investment in or outright buy of” Tumblr, Peter Kafka and Kara Swisher reported Thursday evening.

Any such deal “could certainly bring Yahoo a big, young audience,” they write.

[Tumblr's] worldwide traffic was at 117 million visitors in April, according to comScore. On its home page, Tumblr claims it has 107.8 million blogs and 50.6 billion posts. U.S. desktop traffic to Tumblr was 37 million in April, close to LinkedIn and Twitter, although Twitter obviously has much more via mobile.

The blogging service “has positioned itself as one of the few players in the digital ad world that is well suited for brand advertising,” Mike Shields writes, saying a deal between the companies could be worth $1 billion. Read more


Tumblr dissolves its editorial team

Tumblr | Betabeat | AllThingsD | TechCrunch

“A year ago, Tumblr did something unprecedented,” Tumblr founder David Karp writes about the editorial team the blogging service assembled, which fed its “Storyboard” project.

Tuesday night Tumblr did something not unprecedented in the world of publishing: It got rid of its editorial team.

“What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on,” Karp writes.

Tumblr told Kelly Faircloth it’s laying off three of the team’s four members. Peter Kafka and Catherine Shu both say Tumblr is focusing on profitability, a possible motivation for the layoffs. Read more


Meet the lady behind the ‘Said to Lady Journos’ Tumblr

The woman who created the new “Said to Lady Journos” Tumblr was taken aback when a male labor union representative recently told her: “You’re pretty smart for a young lady.”

“It knocked me sideways,” said the creator, a West Coast newspaper reporter who wishes to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize her job. “I was shocked that someone would say something like that to me.”

She posted the comment online and heard from several female journalists who had experienced similar situations.

“I was surprised that so many people had quotes and anecdotes to share,” she said in a phone interview. “I wanted to create some place where people could feel comfortable talking about some of these issues and what happened to them.”

That same night, she created the “Said to Lady Journos” Tumblr and posted the comment there. Read more

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‘Said to Lady Journos’ Tumblr is ‘depressingly relatable,’ female journalists say

A new Tumblr, Said to Lady Journos, highlights comments (mostly sexist) that female journalists hear on the job.

Here’s a sampling:

  • “Are you sure you know the game well enough to keep score?” — a father at a high school baseball game
  • “If you got shrapnel in your ass, I’d be happy to take it out.” — Contractor to a female journalist at a US military base in Iraq
  • “You, me and that camera could do some dirty things.” — Said to a freshman photojournalist at a local bar as she shot a school assignment
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