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.

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

Matt Carroll teaches journalism at Northeastern University.

Advertisements

3 to read: Gamifying Facebook’s ‘hate speech’ | Kill comments? No way | Soul-destroying platforms

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Oct. 14, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail. Originally published on 3toread.co

  1. Gamifying the decision process: What does Facebook consider ‘hate speech’?: The NYT created a wonderful quiz, which illustrates how Facebook decides what is or is not hate speech — and I guarantee Facebook’s reasoning will leave you shaking your head. But it also shows how creating a game can frame an issue far more effectively than a text story. Check it out, not just because of what it shows about Facebook’s sometimes bizarre reasoning, but because it’s a marvelous use of gamification.

2. Actually, do read the comments — they can be the best part: Andrew Losowsky of Mozilla’s Coral Project argues (convincingly) that newsrooms which drop comments are shortsighted. Yes, trolls require a lot of time to police. But civil commenters are your most engaged readers. Why close comments and let social media reap the benefit by exiling that wonderful community? Newsrooms need to do a lot more to build community, not destroy it. A good read.

3. Oh joy: How platforms are eating the souls of newsrooms: Franklin Foer, former editor of the New Republic, argues that the very identity of newsrooms is being destroyed by the platforms they embrace to drive traffic. It’s an interesting thought. Foer has some has serious cred on the topic because he was brought into The New Republic by a billionaire co-founder of Facebook. But heady early days turned into nightmares. Foer argues that the creative force of magazine was blunted by a stultifying embrace of data and algorithms. An Q&A with Hope Reese of NiemanLab.

Bonus: Facebook’s blind tinkering with democracy: Atlantic writer Alexis Madrigal’s terrifying yet thoughtful take on Facebook’s effect on democracy. A chilling read.

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

Matt Carroll teaches journalism at Northeastern University.

3 to read: David Carr: A memorable teacher | Political tide rising against Facebook? | Anatomy of murder

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Sept. 18, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail. Originally published on 3toread.co

  1. David Carr: An appreciation of a super mentor: The late David Carr of the NYT led an incredible life — media critic, editor of the alt-weekly Washington City Paper, and a crack addict who wrote a searing memoir about his own addiction and recovery. He was also a wonderful, memorable mentor to a generation of talented writers. Here’s the words from a dozen of those he helped, cajoled, pushed — and made better journalists. A wonderful read by Mikaela Lefrak for The Atlantic.

2. Is the political tide turning against Facebook & Google?: Facebook is the social platform journalists love to hate. It’s huge, non-transparent, refuses to acknowledge its out-sized role as a media company — and pockets all that advertising cash that used to pay reporter salaries. It’s also essential for driving mega traffic (hence revenue) to news sites. It turns out that a growing number of people don’t much love FB (or Google or Amazon) either. Ben Smith of BuzzFeed takes a thoughtful look at how a loose coalition of powerful figures is slowly raising the anti-trust flag, and asking whether some of these companies should be broken up.

3. Anatomy of murder: How The Economist does data journalism: A fascinating data viz of murder in the US — and great insight into how the Economist does this kind of work. Well worth a (long) look. Addictive. An interview with The Economist’s David Fransham on Medium.

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

Matt Carroll teaches journalism at Northeastern University.

=====================ADVERTISEMENT==========================

The Student Media Innovation Conference.jpg