Digital needs to embrace premium | A return to badassery | Ouch, in a journalistic takedown

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

Nov. 1, 2016: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. Why digital newsrooms need to embrace premium: Digital newsrooms embraced scale, hoping to sell advertising — and that was dumb, argues Frederic Filloux in Monday Note. Instead, newsrooms should market their best, quality content to advertisers based on who is reading, not how many people clicked through. Focus on the demographics of readers, he says. It would be a total change in mindset for many publishers, but he raises interesting points. A good read.
  2. A welcome return to badassery: Megyn Kelly of Fox fenced with Newt Gingrich over Trump, with Gingrich accusing Kelly of being “obsessed with sex.” Kelly suggested Gingrich get some help with his “anger issues.” Oh yes, that was fun, and a return to form for Kelly, says Margaret Sullivan of the WaPo. And it led to the wonderful use of “badassery” in a headline.
  3. Ouch (but a funny Ouch), in a journalistic take down: Young journalist pontificates about why newspapers are doing so bad. Veteran reporter brutally and efficiently eviscerates reporter as an ignorant pup who maybe should keep his mouth shut if, you know, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. It ain’t pretty, but it’s a heck of a read. By Dan Horn of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
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Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

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Newspapers big mistake (or not) | The unreadable web | Empathy for the right

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

Oct. 25, 2016: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. The newspaper industry’s colossal mistake (or not)?: The big (non-election) buzz this past week was a column by Politico media critic Jack Shafer, who argued that newspapers screwed up — they stood have stuck with their strengths (print), rather than chase digital dollars, which has been a bust for most. His column sparked immediate pushback from a number of people, including Fortune’s Mathew Ingram, who argued that any decline in newspapers’ fortunes was only accelerated by the Internet, not caused by it, and Steve Buttry, who said newsrooms’ problem was being way too defensive, rather than aggressivve. Lots of interesting comments here.
  2. How the Web became unreadable (it’s a design thing): What I know about design can fit into a thimble, but this was interesting. Kevin Marks of Backchannel is a dev who thought his eyesight was going, because he was finding it more and more difficult to read text on his phone and computer. Nope. “There’s a widespread movement in design circles to reduce the contrast between text and background, making type harder to read. Apple is guilty. Google is, too. So is Twitter.” So if you too are having a problem reading your phone, don’t blame your aging eyesight. It’s those damn designers. 😉
  3. Empathetic journalism for the right: The pillar of Trump’s support is the “angry, underemployed, conservative, white man,” says Jeff Jarvis of CUNY. And this is a group that has not been served well by the media, he argues. To better understand this group, the media needs to listen, with “ empathy — empathy not with Trump’s racism, misogyny, and hatred, of course, but with the real lives of at least some of the people who are considering voting for him.” An interesting essay on how to reach a group that seems to have totally turned away from main-stream media.

A personal note: After 2–½ wonderful years at the MIT Media Lab, I’ve joined Northeastern University as a professor in the journalism department, to both teach and start some other initiatives. I’m very excited about my new challenges.

  • Get notified via email: Send note to 3toread (at) gmail.com

Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

Yahoo caves to feds| Making (dis)engagement apps | Newsrooms need to get more nuanced with Facebook tactics

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

Oct. 12, 2016: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.com.

  1. Yahoo: We were just following orders: Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of the Washington Post, eviscerates Yahoo (rightly) for secretly letting the government read your emails. It’s a sordid tale of corporate cravenness, especially when balanced against the far-more principled stand of Apple.
  2. Can an app making staying in touch too easy?: “Engagement” is a word heard constantly in newsrooms. But is there a downside to creating apps that promise to engage ever more easily? Are they leading to commoditization of “warm feelings,” as suggested by Kaveh Waddell in his piece for The Atlantic. Are they perhaps even increasing disengagement? Interesting reflections in a piece about a new app called Thoughts.
  3. When social media becomes a newsroom’s digital strategy: The strained relationship between newsrooms and platforms such as Facebook has been mostly framed in a binary way — good or bad, in or out. But Greg Piechota of the Harvard Business School takes a much more nuanced view — or views. A newsroom’s relationship with platforms should be part of a broader business strategy, and levels of engagement with platforms should vary accordingly, he writes. An interesting look that encourages editors to take a much hard look at what they really want before they decide on how to deal with platforms.
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Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

Trump’s civil war with GOP media | NYT dreams of empire | Can you FOIA Slack?

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

Oct. 4, 2016: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.com.

  1. How Trump started a civil war within right-wing media: A fascinating, NYT mag piece by on how the Trump candidacy ignited a bruising, ongoing battle between a new breed of Republican media and more traditional Republican opinion makers. It’s flat-out nasty. By Robert Draper. And for good measure: What it’s like to be a female reporter covering Trump. Yes, it’s as bad as you think. By Claire Landsbaum for New York magazine.
  2. The NYT dreams of an international empire: The New York Times has big plans or expanding into Europe, Asia, and Latin America. It’s not going to be easy. A breakdown of the challenges faced by the NYT, such as crowded news markets, by Jessica Davies of Digiday.
  3. Can you FOIA Slack?: Getting information through FOIAs, never a smooth road, is becoming more difficult for newsrooms. New technologies are making FOIA requests more complicated. And government agencies are daring newsrooms to go to court, knowing they often don’t have the money to fight it out. Shan Wang for Nieman Lab.
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Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

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