Articles about "Twitter"


N.Y. tabs met in secret lovenest

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories, then let’s get to the weekend.

  1. A New York Post/New York Daily News collaboration? Joe Pompeo reports the rival papers had unsuccessful discussions about “a number of potential business deals that would have made unlikely bedfellows of enemy combatants.” “Many deal points were on the table,” a source tells him. Another source tells Pompeo talks about a digital-only Daily News are “not about if, they’re about when.” (Capital)
  2. Earnings: Broadcast ad revenues way up, print ad revenues down nearly 8 percent at Meredith. (MediaPost) | McClatchy had “a rocky third quarter,” plus what it called “important events that have sealed our financial flexibility” — some substantial assets sales. “An unfriendly commentator might describe those ‘events’ as a yard sale,” Rick Edmonds writes. (Poynter)
  3. Some less-than-worshipful takes on the Dave McKinney affair: His now-former Sun-Times colleague Neil Steinberg writes: “I sincerely believe that had McKinney managed to just step around this mess and gone back to doing his job, an important life skill in journalism, instead of pouring gasoline over himself, and the paper, and striking a match, the whole thing would be over by now and he’d be back to kicking [Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce] Rauner’s ass, which is what this is supposedly all about.” (Every goddamn day) | Erik Wemple on the “monster ethical issue” underneath all this: “Either the Sun-Times should have bumped McKinney from the race early on, or it should have run disclaimers on his stories.” (WP)
  4. AMC buys half of BBC America: The deal may help the BBC World News channel get on U.S. cable and satellite systems, Brian Stelter reports. (CNN)
  5. Guardian’s lawyer honored: The National LGBT Bar Association will honor Gill Phillips, who runs editorial legal services at Guardian News & Media Limited. The Guardian’s Edward Snowden stories were “one of many challenges the openly lesbian Phillips has faced during her tenure at the paper, which has also included breaking the phone-hacking story, The Trafigura Super Injunction Saga and the Leveson Inquiry.” (PinkNews)
  6. The Queen sent a tweet: “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.” (@BritishMonarchy) | Other tweets by royals. (Twitter UK) | One used an iPad: “Here’s a photo of the man who actually typed the tweet and prepared the iPad for the Queen.” (Business Insider)
  7. National Report defends bogus news reports: “We like to think we are doing a public service by introducing readers to misinformation,” National Report publisher Allen Montgomery (whose name is also fake, but let’s move on) says. Craig Silverman: “They may say this is an educational effort, but all the education has come from the other people debunking their stuff.” (Digiday)
  8. “Sometimes the size is so overwhelming, it’s hard to find a picture”: NYT photographer Ozier Muhammad takes Deborah Acosta with him on assignment as he tries to get (and transmit) photos from last month’s People’s Climate March. He finally gets an image through by hitting a Starbucks and using its WiFi. (NYT)
  9. Front page of the day, not curated by Kristen Hare: A great photo of yesterday’s solar eclipse from The Plain Dealer’s John Kuntz, with a solid headline: “Moon takes a spectacular bite out of the sun.” (Courtesy the Newseum.)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Callie Schweitzer has been named editorial director of audience strategy for Time Magazine and Time Inc. Previously, she was director of digital innovation at Time magazine. (Poynter) | Peter Lattman will be deputy business editor at The New York Times. Previously, he was media editor there. (The New York Times) | Paul Greenberg is chief executive officer at Nylon Media. Previously, he was CEO of CollegeHumor.com. (prnewswire.com) | Stefano Fusaro is now a sports anchor for WTVJ in Miami. Previously, he was sports director at KXLN in Houston. (TV Spy) | Roxane Gay is a columnist at Guardian U.S. She is the author of “An Untamed State” and “Bad Feminist”. Jeb Lund is a columnist at Guardian U.S. He has written for Rolling Stone, GQ and The New Republic. Trevor Timm is a columnist at Guardian U.S. He is executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Steven Thrasher is a columnist at Guardian U.S. He is a contributing editor at BuzzFeed. Jess Zimmerman is a columnist at Guardian U.S. She is a technology essayist. (Email) | Job of the day: Euclid Media Group is looking for an editor-in-chief for the San Antonio Current. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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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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Rainbow Room Reopening

N.Y. publishers mull more layoffs

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. More layoffs may come at New York publishers: “Industry executives are spending the month of October in closed-door meetings as they look for ways to tighten their belts even more.” (WWD) | Related: Time Inc. management “wants the ability to send 160 editorial jobs overseas,” Newspaper Guild of New York President Bill O’Meara says. (Capital) | Meta related: New owner Jay Penske‘s plan for WWD. (Capital) | Related sad trombone: “The joy we get from throwing magazines away seems like a bad sign for their future,” Laura Hazard Owen writes. (Gigaom)
  2. NBC News crew quarantined: They worked with freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo in Liberia and “Officials said the order was issued late Friday after the crew members violated an agreement to voluntarily confine themselves.” No one’s shown any signs of the disease. (Reuters) | “With the Ebola virus, you never relax completely, but we think [Mukpo] has made great progress,” a doctor at the Omaha hospital where he’s being treated said. (Mashable)
  3. Keith Olbermann notifies his bosses about his commentaries: Olbermann gives ESPN execs in Bristol “as much as six hours notice,” he tells Richard Deitsch. “The key people all get the A Block [opening] commentary and the Worst Persons. So the scripts are sitting with them for a couple of hours.” (SI)
  4. NYT kills chess column: Dylan Loeb McClain‘s Oct. 11 column ends with an abrupt note: “This is the final chess column to run in The New York Times.” (NYT) | “Few will mourn, even as a symbolic loss.” (@Kasparov63) | “A chess column has appeared in the NYT since… 1855.” (@DVNJr) | The bridge column is still breathing, Michael Roston notes. (@michaelroston)
  5. Why David Remnick isn’t on Twitter: “I don’t have a Twitter account, [but] not because I’m a dinosaur about it,” the New Yorker EIC tells Alexandra Steigrad. “I have enough of a platform here. People in my position who do it tend to use it in a promotional way or in a hamstrung way. I look at Twitter all the time as a news tool or for cultural conversation. I’ve used it in my reporting. It’s very useful.” (WWD)
  6. Peter Parker’s poor journalism ethics: “That’s exactly how Peter Parker paid the bills in the early Spider-Man comics, taking posed pictures of Spider-Man that no one else could get, then selling them to J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle’s editor-in-chief.” (Salon) | Related: 5 bad journalism lessons from Superman comics (Poynter)
  7. “The network just doesn’t surprise you”: Bill Carter looks at why MSNBC’s ratings “hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows.” (NYT)
  8. YouTube builds a “teaching hospital”: At its new production space in Manhattan, members of the company’s partner program “are given access to better cameras, production spaces and editing facilities as classes train them not just in shooting video, but also in makeup, design and anything else that might make programming pop online.” (NYT)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Chicago’s RedEye fronts a very nicely framed image from this weekend’s St. Louis protests. (Courtesy the Newseum.)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: David Cohn is now executive producer at AJ+. Previously, he was chief content officer at Circa. (Dave Cohn) | Lenika Cruz has been named associate editor at The Atlantic. Previously, she was a contributing editor at Circa. Grace White will be a reporter at CBS Houston. Previously, she was a reporter and anchor at Fox 29 San Antonio. (Muck Rack) | Rick Daniels has been named publisher at The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant. Previously, he was chief operating officer of GoLocal24. Nancy Meyer has been named publisher and CEO of Orlando Sentinel Media Group. Previously, she was publisher of the Courant. (Poynter) | Dana Hahn has been named news director for KTVU in San Francisco. Previously, she was news director for WTTG in Washington, D.C. Sara Suarez has been named news director for WFDC in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was news director for WUNI in Boston. Matt King has been named news director for WCNC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Previously, he was assistant news director at WXIA in Atlanta. Jeff Mulligan has been named news director for WMBD/WYZZ in Peoria, Illinois. Previously, he was assistant news director for WISH in Indianapolis. Lee Rosenthal has been named news director at WFXT in Boston. Previously, he was news director at KTVU. Rick Moll has been named news director at WSLS in Roanoke, Virginia. Previously, he was news director for WMBD/WYZZ in Peoria, Illinois. Brian Nemitz has been named assistant news director at WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. Previously, he was a nightside executive producer at WTVJ in Miami. Martha Jennings has been named assistant news director at WBIR in Knoxville, Tennessee. Previously, she was nightside executive producer at WFLA in Tampa, Florida. Troy Conhain has been named nightside executive producer at KOLD in Tucson, Arizona. Previously, he was morning executive producer at KPHO in Phoenix, Arizona. (Rick Gevers) | Job of the day The Hill is looking for a campaign reporter. 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.

Programming note: I’m going to be off for most of this week and will be at the Creative Belfast conference on Thursday. Sam Kirkland will leave a roundup under your pillow while I’m gone. Read more

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After Schiller exit, an odd tension at Twitter

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Vivian Schiller’s exit could signal tension for Twitter and journalists: Adam Sharp, who is in charge of government partnerships, will return to heading news partnerships as well. (Re/code) | “That puts him in an oddly conflicted position of advising government officials who are seeking to influence public opinion and journalists who are trying to get past that manipulation and explain what they see as the real story.” (NYT)
  2. NBC wanted Jon Stewart for “Meet the Press”: “They were ready to back the Brink’s truck up,” a source tells Gabriel Sherman. (New York) | “The revelation also underscored just how seriously [NBC News President Deborah] Turness thought about blowing up “Meet the Press,” which has fallen from first to third place in the Sunday morning political show ratings.” (CNN) | “If it’s Sunday, it’s your moment of zen.” (@chucktodd)
  3. Readers have always lied about what kinds of stories they like: “We were always ‘Facebook readers’ long before there was a Facebook.” (The Atlantic) | RELATED: Kara Swisher says, “I still think the old media hates the Internet and hopes it will go away.” (Vanity Fair)
  4. Still missing ONA? Here are a bunch of resources to help you remember: Videos. Blog posts. A photo of Poynter’s Ren LaForme with Cookie Monster. (ONA)
  5. Lots of shaved pates at The Denver Post these days: About a dozen people “shaved their heads over the weekend in solidarity with a colleague whose chic blonde hair was stolen by chemo,” Dana Coffield reports. (The Denver Post)
  6. National Press Club defends holding off-the-record events: The “press club’s director of business development, Brian Taylor, defended the defense contractors’ decision to ban press coverage even while benefiting from the prestige of the National Press Club,” Dana Milbank writes. “Sadly, the National Press Club, once a temple to the free flow of information, has been compelled to adopt the rule that drives so much else in Washington: pay to play.” (WP)
  7. NYC school police harass reporters: School safety officers tell journalists to leave “almost every time we cover a school,” Lindsey Christ reports. One broke the lensguard on an NY1 camera and put her hat over its lens. Another refused to ID himself, saying, “Stop it. Stop it, OK? Stop it. That’s who I am.” During a transaction Wednesday, “the safety officers called the local precinct,” Christ reports. “Those officers were able to explain to school safety that public sidewalks are public.” (NY1)
  8. Who is running the Atlantic’s Ello account? “Whoever is running the account is doing a bang-up job.” (The Atlantic) | Some of us are still waiting for an invite. (Sniff)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Health workers in Liberia tend to Ebola patients in safety suits on the front of The International New York Times. (Via Kiosko)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Frédéric Michel will be a consultant for Sky Italia. He is Telefónica’s Europe director of public affairs and communication. (The Guardian) | Bob Mason is now vice president of hosting at NewsCycle Solutions. Previously, he was chief technology officer at Digital First Media. (Poynter) | Gregg Doyel is now a sports columnist at The Indianapolis Star. Previously, he was a columnist at CBSSports.com. (The Indianapolis Star) | Mike Stamm is now a senior design technologist at The Washington Post. Previously, he led design technology at The Wall Street Journal. Jessie Tseng is an interaction designer at The Washington Post. Previously, she was a user experience designer at Adaptly. (The Washington Post) | Sheena Lyonnais will be a freelance writer. Previously, she was managing editor of Yonge Street Media. (Yonge Street Media) | Susi Park is general manager of advertising for GQ. Previously, she was assistant general manager of advertising at Wired. (Email) | Abe Cytryn is now chief technology officer for Magzter. Previously, he was chief technology officer at Time Inc. (Email) | Job of the day: The Washington Post is looking for a religion writer. Get your résumés in! (The Washington Post) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

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Vivian Schiller out at Twitter

Vivian Schiller is no longer Twitter’s head of news. She announced her departure from the post Wednesday night.

Schiller was named to the role in October of last year. She was NPR’s CEO and chief digital officer at NBC before that.

Adam Sharp, who was head of government and nonprofits, will return to his role as the lead for news partnerships as well, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Poynter.

Schiller’s second tweet says Chloe Sladden and Ali Rowghani brought her to the company; both left Twitter earlier this year.

The reorg is “part of a larger consolidation across the media division by its new head Katie Jacobs Stanton,” Kara Swisher reports. Schiller “has creating a framework for Twitter’s partnership with news organizations that is now used by our partner managers the world over,” Stanton writes in a memo Swisher obtained. Read more

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Twitter sues U.S. government for right to disclose info about surveillance requests to users

Twitter | Associated Press

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, “seeking to publish our full Transparency Report, and asking the court to declare these restrictions on our ability to speak about government surveillance as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.”

Ben Lee, the company’s legal VP, writes in a blog post:

It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.

The AP reports:

Twitter’s filing follows lawsuits by Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and others to gain permission to share more information on surveillance requests with the public. The government has said that it will publish the total number of national security requests for customer data annually. But Microsoft and Google maintain that they should be able to break out how often the feds request specific user content, such as email conversations, for example, from how often they demand subscriber data associated with an email address.

The fight for the right to even talk about surveillance requests has proven difficult for tech companies, never mind the fight against those requests in the first place. The Washington Post’s Craig Timberg reported last month that Yahoo was threatened in 2008 with a $250,000-per-day fine “if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications.”

Companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have called for government surveillance reform.


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NYT has more readers, more ad revenue and — soon — fewer journalists

mediawiremorningGood morning. Happy Sting’s Birthday, everybody. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Some perspective on the planned NYT staff cuts: “When the buyouts/layoffs are done, the New York Times will have nearly twice the number of staffers as the Washington Post’s 650-strong operation, instead of more than twice as many.” (WP) | For vets, the buyout deal is much sweeter than what any layoffs will offer. (Newspaper Guild of N.Y.) | Killer Ken Doctor quote: “Doctor describes the current state of newspapers as ‘continuing grimness, but manageable grimness.’” (Text bolded in case you need a name for a Smiths cover band, or maybe a tattoo idea.) (USA Today) | More Ken Doctor: “The big bright spot is obscured by that big layoff number: a 16 percent increase in Q3 digital revenue, compared to 3.4 percent up in Q2 and 2.2 percent up in Q1.” Also: “The Times has more paying readers today than in 1999. That’s a signal accomplishment.” (Newsonomics) | WHAT’S THIS MEAN FOR THE APPS? NYT Opinion is going away. NYT Now users will no longer get a less robust tier of access to the Times website. NYT Cooking will remain free, at least for now. (Nieman) | John Herrman: “NYT Opinion was an interesting piece of software run by talented people but built around an opinion franchise that finished accumulating new fans a decade ago.” (The Awl) | Mathew Ingram: The Times should work on monetizing relationships with readers, not slicing “its existing content into smaller and smaller pieces.” (Gigaom) || Catch up: Ravi Somaiya‘s story about the cuts. (NYT) | Memos to staff from Dean Baquet, Mark Thompson and Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (Poynter)
  2. “Bag Men” cover didn’t really work out for NY Post: It settled a lawsuit with Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi, who it identified as “BAG MEN” during the Boston Marathon bombings manhunt. They were simply watching the race. “Neither side would disclose terms of the settlement.” (AP) | “We did not identify them as suspects,” Post Editor Col Allan said last April. (WP)
  3. Star-Advertiser owner buys more Hawaiian papers: Oahu Publications Inc. is buying the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today on the Big Island from Stephens Media. (Honolulu Civil Beat) | “The @StarAdvertiser now runs ALL the daily newspapers on Oahu, Kauai, Big Island.” (@GenePark)
  4. Vice publishes Ferguson Police Department documents: “It would appear that Ferguson police do not always follow those procedures and instructions.” (Vice)
  5. Egypt steals newspapers: Authorities seized all copies of the newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, which published an interview with a spy. (NYT) | You can read the issue on PressDisplay.com. | Late last month, the parents of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste described visiting him in an Egyptian prison. (The Courier-Mail)
  6. Covering Ebola: Nsikan Akpan wants to raise $1,000 to “interview journalists and bloggers living near the epicenter of an outbreak and compare their views with those covering the situation from abroad.” (Indiegogo) | Lenny Bernstein: “You don’t touch anyone in Liberia.” (WP) | In case you were wondering: Why “Ebola” is capitalized. (Poynter)
  7. Journalists emigrate from Russia: Galina Timchenko, Oleg Kashin and Leonid Bershidsky left because of the current press climate, Stephen Ennis reports. 186,000 people left Russia in 2013, “five times as many as two years earlier.” (BBC)
  8. Scaling the ivory tower: Wired will offer an “online master’s degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology” at the University of Southern California. (Wired) | Twitter has invested $10 million to create a research group at MIT to “better understand how information spreads on Twitter and other social media platforms.” (WSJ)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Epoch Times, with a nice design take on the Dallas Ebola story. (Courtesy the Newseum)

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  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Marjorie Powell is now vice president of human resources at NPR. Previously, she was chief human resources officer at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. (NPR) | Tim O’Shaughnessy is now president of Graham Holdings Company. Previously, he was CEO of LivingSocial. (GraHoCo) | Victor Caivano is now news director for The Associated Press’ “Southern Cone” countries — Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Previously, he was a photojournalist there. (AP) | Ali Watkins will be a reporter at HuffPost Politics. Previously, she worked for McClatchy DC. (Email) | Zach Goldfarb will be policy editor at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a White House and economics correspondent there. (Washington Post) | Job of the day The Washington Post is hiring a video producer. Get your résumés in! (Wash Post PR) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org.

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4 quick Twitter tips from Time, CNN, Mashable and NPR

Four social media experts offered tips from their experiences detecting news, reporting news, publishing news and engaging with audiences at a panel moderated by Twitter’s head of news, Vivian Schiller, at the Online News Association conference in Chicago. Here are four of them.

Get retweeted by telling people stuff they don’t know

Quiz time: Callie Schweitzer, director of digital innovation at Time, asked attendees to guess which of these two tweets received the most retweets:

Schweitzer said the second tweet gave people info that they didn’t already know, accounting for its success. “Thinking for the retweet” is part of Time’s larger strategy for boosting social traffic.

The second tweet above contains a factoid that’s useful to readers even if they don’t click the link. More retweets means potential for more impressions, but remember that sharing doesn’t always correlate with clicking. The most shareable tweets aren’t always those that are most likely to compel followers to click a link.

Even on social media, it’s possible to have difficult conversations

Engaging with audiences on Twitter can go much deeper than asking for opinions on the news. Kat Chow, a blogger/social media producer for NPR’s Code Switch, highlighted how she cultivated conversation around topics that wouldn’t ordinarily be broached on social media.

One such topic: interracial relationships. Check out a Storify of tweets on the topic that Chow put together here.

Use geolocation to find and verify content

Searching for tweets by location is an advanced search option on Twitter and Tweetdeck. It doesn’t prove that a user reporting on, say, the arrest of Justin Bieber is telling the truth, but if you find out she’s located in Los Angeles, that can set you on the right path toward verification.

CNN Digital’s Dorrine Mendoza, senior social media producer, talked about CNN’s use of Dataminr, a tool for surfacing potential breaking-news tweets that officially launched this week for all news organizations. Using Dataminr is “like learning to play the piano,” Mendoza said, and it still requires a human touch to verify what the service uncovers.

There’s no substitute for on-the-ground coverage

When Mashable’s real-time news editor Brian Ries — in Mashable’s New York offices — heard word on social media of tear gas being used during riots in Ferguson, Missouri, he messaged Amanda Wills, who was on the scene, to fill her in. Her response: “I know.”

Mashable’s mastery of social reporting from its New York office freed up those on the ground to do deeper reporting, Ries said.


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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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‘I tweeted a funeral. (On assignment.) Creepy? Public service? You decide.’

This story originally ran on Saturday, Sept. 13, in the Miami Herald. It has been reposted with permission. Carol Rosenberg will be featured Tuesday night on @muckrack’s #MuckedUp chat.

When I report from Guantánamo for the Miami Herald, I routinely use Twitter to report war court proceedings, play by play, like a sporting event, as one of my editors described it.

I sit in a filing center, pay $150 a week to hook up to the Internet and watch the court on a closed-circuit feed. I go to Guantánamo because it is there that I can talk to the lawyers and the prosecutors to write a more granular story. There, I talk to the victims’ family members, talk to the experts. And the reason I tweet is that it’s a court where people can’t reach, and I learned that lots of people want to know what’s going on there moment to moment — who’s testifying, what’s the legal principle at issue, what are the accused terrorists doing.

But I was still taken aback, horrified, sickened, recently when our social media czar assigned me me to “tweet quotes” from the funeral of Steven Sotloff, the no-photography Jewish religious service for the South Florida journalist who was beheaded by the Islamic State: Inside the synagogue. Among worshiping mourners. Where people around me might consider using an iPhone in bad taste.

My experience in synagogues is, they tell you to turn your cell phones off. Sitting with a notebook in your lap quietly taking notes is one thing; tweeting away is another.

But I was wrong. First of all, the police restricted reporters to a separate portion of the sanctuary. It was like traveling to the war court proceedings. We sat in the back. And I was handed a note that made clear that photography was strictly forbidden.

But what about the taste test? What about the idea that it would be rude, an etiquette breach or disrespectful to the family to tweet a religious funeral ceremony?

I asked. Neither the Miami-Dade police who sat in the media section nor the synagogue security officials thought that way.

“Have at it!” said one enthusiastic cop who was wearing a badge but not a skullcap.

So it was with some trepidation that I announced before the ceremony began that I was going to be reporting my first Twitter funeral. With permission.

At one point, I asked the cops whether I could tweet a picture of a handout to worshipers: The lyrics to the Pink Floyd song Wish You Were Here, distributed by the Sotloff family. Sure, they told me, just step outside.

The service began with a significant number of empty seats. And I was torn. Do I really want to tweet that? That’s what journalists do. They point those things out. They describe the scene. Like this: “Steven Sotloff service begun. Pin-drop silent as family enters sanctuary, takes seats.”

I decided to wait. And this being South Florida, enough stragglers trickled in to make the empty seats less conspicuous.

Then there’s the issue of context. The 140-character limit doesn’t really leave room for that. One editor instructed me to just tweet “quotes.” So I did just that when a cousin read letters smuggled out of Sotloff’s Islamic State captivity, an eerie voice from the grave that really deserved context, which it got in the Miami Herald article I wrote later that day.

To be sure, there was a bit of a backlash. One follower dropped me.

And another Twitter user named largebill68 called me out. “@carolrosenberg Is media so ghoulish they actually tweet from memorial? As bad as that moron taking selfies at Mandela’s mem.”

I had tweeted the explanation for why I would be doing it to try to mute the likely criticism.

And in the end, I discovered for this particular funeral, that of a freelance journalist, there was a Twitter audience out there who wanted to follow along. Just like my Guantánamo war court followers, they wanted to see through words a place where they could not be.

Not as voyeurs, but perhaps to participate in the funeral even if just a bit. Virtually.

It was an interesting issue in terms of the taste test. I was worried it would be distasteful, rude in a religious setting. But I did my job and, if instructed to do it again in similar circumstances, I think I’d have the same questions.

What is tacky? What is disrespectful? Just because other news organizations do it, should mine? We never once considered posting the video of Sotloff’s execution. And I would expect nothing less. Read more

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