3 to read: Manipulation, not fake news, is the issue | NYT goes reader-centric | Facebook’s 7 tough questions

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

June 20, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. Our problem isn’t ‘fake news’ — it’s trust & manipulation: Jeff Jarvis, CUNY J-school prof and blogger, argues the calculated manipulation of news is designed to destabilize our democracy by attacking our most trusted institutions and people. That’s the real issue, he says — not fake news. It’s a solid, and terrifying, statement. But he does offer some solutions: For instance, starve the manipulators of attention by covering their methods, but not their message. Well worth reading.

2. NYT new redesign is all about its reader-centric focus on revenue: Any more doubts about whether the advertising model for news is dying? A perceptive analysis about how the New York Times’s new (subtle) redesign is designed to help get more revenue from the pockets of its most devoted readers. It’s all to further their subscriber-first strategy. By Ken Doctor for NiemanLab.

3. Facebook asks input on 7 ‘hard questions’: Facebook has been bashed left, right and center for its opaque handling — or nonhandling — of everything from fake news to censorship. Now it’s going public, and asking for help, with tough questions it’s dealing with, such as: “Who gets to define what’s false news — and what’s simply controversial political speech?” The questions are fascinating, and will be familiar to news editors. Hopefully it’s a sign FB will be more open in the future. Story by Josh Constine for TechCrunch.

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Matt Carroll is a journalism professor at Northeastern University.

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3 to read: Articles are worthless — but not readers | Defending The Skimm | The Intercept screwed the leaker

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

June 13, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. This article is worthless (but its readers are not): Individual stories are worth pennies, at best. But the subscribers the story brings in — that’s something else entirely. Andrew Dunn on Medium argues reporters need to understand they are not content producers — they are building a paying audience. As Dunn puts it: “Chasing page views is a losing battle. Building a stable of committed, enthusiastic subscribers is the only way to sustain a news product in the Internet era.”

2. In defense of The Skimm & a lighter take on the news: The Skimm newsletter gets whacked by critics for its bubbly take on what’s happening in the world, as it writes about the light and heavy. It’s easy to see how its casual writing tone drives some people crazy… but also easy to see why some find it irresistible. (“Some” as in millions, actually.) Kaitlin Ugolik in Columbia Jrn Review rips critics who hold their noses. Look, she says, The Skimm reaches people the MSM would die for. Is that really a bad thing? Shut up, and learn.

3. Did the Intercept blow its NSA leaker’s identity?: A thoughtful look at possible mistakes by the leaker (understandable) and by The Intercept (not understandable, for a veteran organization that prides itself on protecting its sources), which led to the arrest of the improbably named Reality Winner. A step-by-step breakdown of the simple and sophisticated ways it all went wrong. By Jake Swearingen for select/all.

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Matt Carroll is a journalism professor at Northeastern University.

3 to read: Good riddance, NYT public editor | 3 major news changes | Future of publishing

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

June 6, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. Bye-bye & good riddance, NYT’s public editor: Some interesting writing about the NYT’s elimination of their public editor job. As Tom Scocca of Politico put it: “Good Riddance to the NYT’s Public Editor.” Ouch. And Erik Wemple at the WaPo said NYT doesn’t need the position — but TV news desperately does.

2. What we learned: 3 years of interviews at leading digital newsrooms: What are the three most profound changes sweeping the news industry? Increased collaboration within newsrooms, a greater willingness industry-wide to share learning, and an explosion in mobile, according to a study from the Media Innovation program at Northeastern’s School of Journalism. The study notes that it’s a “sea-change, from a news industry that was competitive and siloed to one inclined toward sharing, cooperation, and transparency.” Interesting reading. (Transparency alert: I’m a prof at NEU.)

3. Why The Ringer/Vox deal is the future of publishing: Ben Thompson argues (convincingly) in Stratechery that the recent deal between Bill Simmons’ The Ringer and Vox is the future of publishing. Vox, a big platform, is taking a sports vertical under its wing, providing tech and advertising help. That leaves the Ringer to do what it does best — sports. The theory is that both will benefit. It’s an intriguing idea. I’m betting we see more news orgs, especially smaller sites, embracing similar setups.

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Matt Carroll is a journalism professor at Northeastern University.