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.

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


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