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.


3 to read: Where Trump gets his theories | We’re not the enemy, Trump | 500 years of graphic design

By Matt Carroll <@MattCData>

Sept. 2, 2017: Cool stuff about journalism, once a week. Get notified via email? Subscribe: 3toread (at) gmail.

  1. Where Trump gets his crazy alt-right theories: An interesting take on how Trump gets his “information,” and the weird sources he uses. In essence, a strange brew of alt-right sites have become the administration’s think tanks. A fascinating read by Astead W. Herndon of the Boston Globe.

2. “We’re journalists, Mr. Trump, not the enemy”: A megaphone defense of journalists and our work, as well as a blowtorch takedown of Trump by Nicholas Kristoff of the NYT. Bottom line: Trump does not have a clue as to what journalists do or are supposed to do. He just doesn’t get it, and Kristoff takes him to task for it. A heartening read in a grim time for media.

3. What 500 years of graphic design in print looks like: Just plain cool. If you are interested at all in print design, this book review of “Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter,” works for you. The review contains a generous sampling of powerful, interesting print designs, from logos to posters. Can’t wait to get a look at the book itself.

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Matt Carroll is a journalism professor at Northeastern University.

Logo by Leigh Carroll (Instagram: @leighzaaah)