3 to read: Power & peril of personalization | The 140-character prez | Why Facebook can’t make you money

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Oct. 21, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail. 

  1. The power — & peril — of personalizing the news: Algorithms have the power to connect people to the news they care about most. Or to create filter bubbles so they are rarely exposed to different viewpoints. Yet there is no turning back — algorithms are a major tool in newsrooms’ arsenal of engagement tools. A nuanced look at personalized news by Adrienne LaFrance for Niemen Reports.

2. The legal & ethical questions surrounding the 140-character president: Donald Trump’s controversial use of Twitter is well known. He’s also breaking new ground through his use of a new medium, as presidents Roosevelt (radio) and Kennedy (TV) did before him. Mathew Ingram of CJR takes a thoughtful look at the implications, legal and ethical, of what happens when the president stirs the pot in 140-character bursts. A good read.

3. Q: Can newsrooms use Facebook to make money?

A: ‘Not really.”

Ouch. Jennifer Brandel of Hearken writes a searing takedown of why Facebook is such a bad deal for newsrooms, for instance: posting and writing for the platform is a massive time sink, FB owns the relationship with your readers, and finally, the return on investment is low. Jennifer is not a disinterested party here. Hearken has its own engagement software. But she has a point and it’s an interesting read, especially if you are sick of Facebook and are looking for an alternative.

Extra credit: A ‘wayback machine’ report: Inside Jimmy Breslin’s feud with the NY Post: Jimmy Breslin was the kind of larger-than-life character who was meant to flourish in New York. He might be best known as a columnist for the NY Daily News, where he won a Pulitzer. But he also worked for the NY Post for a couple of years — and he bore that publication a special, inflammatory grudge that lasted decades. For those with a taste for news history, here’s a fascinating, insider view of that rift through the eyes of Howard V. Sann for CJR.

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Matt Carroll teaches journalism at Northeastern University.

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