3 to read: The rise of The Skimm | Crowdsourcing a mystery | Facebook’s political ad fail

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Nov. 3, 2018: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail. Originally published on 3toread.co

How The Skimm went from 2-person startup to 7 million subscribers: By being really good at what they do, that’s how. They give a news summary in a chatty way that is geared towards females. The founders, Carly Zakim and Danielle Weisberg, have managed to tap into a market that only continues to grow. It’s a remarkable story of savvy growth. By Noreen Malone for The Cut.

A massive Facebook group is working to unravel the disappearance of a baby 22 years ago: This is an interesting project with lessons for newsrooms everywhere. A baby in Australia vanished more than two decades ago, and the mom was convicted of murder, despite a lack of hard evidence. Two journalists are digging into the case, with the help of more than 30,000 members of a Facebook page. What’s of particular interest is how the journalists and volunteers are managing the page to keep the investigation on track. Nice story by Laura Hazard Owen for NiemanLab.

Think Facebook is actually checking who buys political ads?: In a word: Nope. It’s depressing, honestly. Facebook talks big about stopping “fake news” by cracking down on phoney political advertising by everyone from the Russians to money-hungry teens. But when push comes to shove, Facebook does … not much. Nice investigation by William Turton of Vice, which pretended to be from the offices of the 100 US senators and bought political ads on Facebook. How many were blocked from buying? Zip, none, zero.

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3 to read: Dropout to news hound | NYT goes short | Nonprofits broaden revenue streams

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Oct. 6, 2018: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail. Originally published on 3toread.co

  1. How a college drop-out became a champion of investigative journalism: Bellingcat broke (another) big scoop when it identified one of the Russians suspected in nerve gas poisoning in Britain as a member of the Russian intelligence service. Give credit to Bellingcat’s founder, mild-mannered Eliot Higgins, who might have taken an entirely different career path if the technology he was playing with in college had been a little better. Jamie Doward for The Guardian.

2. Why the NYT did a short version of its mammoth Trump investigation: Because it has learned how to the web right, that’s why. Alongside its amazingly detailed — and incredibly long — investigation into the Trump family history of real estate shenanigans that enriched them all, was a much shorter piece: “11 Takeaways From The Time’s Investigation in Trump’s Wealth.” Not so long ago it would’ve been another newsroom, like BuzzFeed, which would have taken the NYT story and boiled down — earning itself more hits than the original. Those days are over. Laura Hazard Owen for Nieman Lab.

3. How nonprofit newsrooms are seeking other revenue sources (beside philanthropy): Nonprofit newsrooms are often perceived to survive only because of the largesse of one or two major benefactors. That’s not the case these days. The nonprofits are finding many different revenue streams. A good report by Christine Schmidt for Nieman Lab.

btw: No “3 to read” the next two weeks.

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AI, Media and the Threat to Democracy

Interested in the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and the Media?

We have just the conference for you.

Registration

When: Friday, Oct. 12

Where: Northeastern University, Boston

Cost: Free & open to the public

My unsolicited advice: Register now. Seats filling faster than anticipated.

Keynote: Danielle Citron, Morton & Sophia Macht Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Panels:

1. AI on the Beat: How journalists are using — and covering — bots, algorithms and whatever comes next

2. AI, big data, and bias in sociotechnical systems

3. Legal and Policy Responses to AI and the Media

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3 to read: Free speech? | The fail: Moving print readers to online | Missing rev from Apple News

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Sept. 29, 2018: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail. Originally published on 3toread.co

  1. Free speech: why editors can no longer publish and be damned: The always interesting Emily Bell of The Guardian notes that the economic pressures of a subscriber-based revenue model and social media means that editors need to think twice (or three times) about upsetting readers. Case in point: Tone-deaf Ian Buruma, former editor of the New York Review of Books, who lost his job after his bumbling attempts to defend a contributor who’d been abusive toward women. Bell notes: “Making heinous mistakes of fact or opinion is not an option for editors in a subscriber-driven world. Upsetting readers and sponsors in economically perilous times weighs more heavily on editorial decisions….”

2. What will happen to readers when print goes all online?: Well, it’s not pretty, according to this story. The Independent, a Brit paper, switched to fully online in 2016. It had a devoted print readership, which spent big gobs of time every day reading. Their online readers (like online readers for most sites), spend far less time on the site. So the question Josh Benton of Nieman Labs asks is: Would those print readers invest the same amount of time in an online product? In a word, the answer is … no. Those once dedicated readers became just as twitchy as other online readers.

3. Publisher love Apple News — but where’s the revenue?: As Facebook pulls back from the news business, Apple News is surging. Publishers are seeing huge gains in readership. But there’s a major problem. Publishers are seeing little revenue from the relationship. An interesting take on the problems face as they deal with platforms such as Apple News. By Will Oremus for Slate.

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AI, Media and the Threat to Democracy

Interested in the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and the Media?

We have just the conference for you.

Registration

When: Friday, Oct. 12

Where: Northeastern University, Boston

Cost: Free & open to the public

My unsolicited advice: Register now. Seats filling faster than anticipated.

Keynote: Danielle Citron, Morton & Sophia Macht Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Panels:

1. AI on the Beat: How journalists are using — and covering — bots, algorithms and whatever comes next

2. AI, big data, and bias in sociotechnical systems

3. Legal and Policy Responses to AI and the Media

  • 3 to Read: Get notified about new issues via email: Send an email: 3toread (at) gmail.com
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3 to Read: VCs & newsrooms | #MeToo inspires in China | Why Time failed

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Sept. 22, 2018: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail. Originally published on 3toread.co

Cautionary tale of The Outline: Why venture capital & high-flying newsrooms can fail: The Outline had it all — big name founders (Joshua Topolsky of Bloomberg), a roster of high-profile writers, and plenty of VC cash. But by earlier this month, the site had no staff writers. So what went wrong? Mathew Ingram in CJR writes: “The answer is partly editorial ambition (or hubris) and partly poor timing, and provides yet another example of how venture capital funding and building a digital media business rarely go well together.” A good read.

#MeToo China inspires user-generated investigative journalism: In China, traditional investigative reporting is withering under an assault from the Communist Party. But a grass-roots form of investigative reporting is springing up, at least in the case of the #MeToo movement. Thousands of women are posting their stories about sexual harassment and assault on popular platforms, often in “excruciating” detail and with supporting documents. Then reporters are picking through social media to find the facts and report them. And it’s working, as a number of prominent people have been investigated. By Ying Chan for Global Investigative Journalism Network.

Why news weeklies like Time lost so much of their value: Time magazine — once great, now irrelevant — was just sold. How did giants like Time and Newsweek go from dominance to afterthoughts? Mainly because they were the Huffington Posts of their day, argues media critic Simon Owens. Once a week, they took news from around the country and turned into easily digestible news chunks. Where’s the market for that now? Nowhere. An interesting take on how the mighty have fallen.

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AI, Media and the Threat to Democracy

Interested in the intersection between Artificial Intelligence and the Media?

We have just the conference for you.

Registration

When: Friday, Oct. 12

Where: Northeastern University, Boston

Cost: Free & open to the public

My unsolicited advice: Register now. Seats filling faster than anticipated.

Keynote: Danielle Citron, Morton & Sophia Macht Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Panels:

1. AI on the Beat: How journalists are using — and covering — bots, algorithms and whatever comes next

2. AI, big data, and bias in sociotechnical systems

3. Legal and Policy Responses to AI and the Media