Future of Journalism, Tools

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Future of Journalism, Social Media

A Lesson From the New Yorker’s ‘Like-Gate’

Screenshot of the New Yorker's Facebook page

Organizations are growing more adept in their use of the “like-gate” feature on Facebook. Content can be posted that is only available to those who “like” the page. Adding content “behind the wall” gives the audience an incentive to like your page, which in turn grows your social media audience. But there’s more to it than that.

The latest organization to use the feature is New Yorker Magazine, which used the “like-gate” to offer a long-form article by Jonathan Franzen.

Other organizations can learn how not to use this feature by studying the New Yorker’s example. Unless a visitor to the page found the piece through the New Yorker’s post, they’re unlikely to know that exclusive content lives behind the wall. And they’re unlikely to have seen New Yorker’s Facebook post, since they don’t yet “like” the page. The tab that leads to the content is labeled “Fans Only.” There’s no mention of exclusive content, no mention of an article and nothing about Franzen, until you click on that tiny little tab.

If you’re going to offer exclusive content, make sure anyone who sees the page knows it’s there, and looking for the content isn’t a scavenger hunt. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Future of Journalism

Universities Need to Foster Collaboration Between Journalism, Computer Science and Business Schools

This post was originally published Jan. 20 for the Carnival of Journalism.

When I look back at my college years (2000-2004 at Western Kentucky University), I wish I did two things differently:

  1. That I listened to my mother and majored in computer science or some other IT program. At the time, I didn’t see the connection. Ironically, I knew that the Internet would be a force to be reckoned with when it came to news content. Given all the debate as of late over whether journalists should have programming skills, this regret hits hard these days.
  2. That I took advantage of my journalism school’s multimedia program, which was emerging during my final years of college. Again, I realized early the importance of other forms of storytelling such as photography and audio sideshows. But it never occurred to me to learn these things for myself. (I also realize that I was getting sick of going to school and the prospect of spending an extra two years to complete another program seem was a dreadful idea at the time.)

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Future of Journalism, Social Media

What to Do With Twitter Errors

Not too long ago Craig Silverman, author of blog Regret the Error, listed some of the most offensive journalism errors of 2010. (December got a free pass?) Among some of the more humorous media errors, Twitter real-time verification was named was named as the trend of the year.

We’re seeing many of forms of misinformation spread rapidly online and take hold in real-time. Whether it was an incorrect tweet about a volcano eruption in Iceland, a Washington Post editorial writer mistaking a fake Twitter account for the real thing, or people wrongly tweeting and retweeting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had been removed from Time’s Person Of The Year contest, we saw how the real-time nature of the online world causes problems and errors.

Reporter and blogger Kevin Loker points out that tweets are not held to the same meticulous fact checking a printed new story must go through before publication.

You probably have one – maybe two – sets of eyes that read over your headline before it’s tweeted. You ideally don’t make a mistake in the headline. If you do, you can’t change it. Most news outlets will send out another tweet noting the correction, because as in any medium, it’s common practice that errors can’t be left completely unattended.

Loker makes an interesting point that Twitter errors do not affect “media gurus,” because they will more than likely see the correction. Instead, he argues that those who do not focus on the news may be the most at risk for taking an error as truth.

Loker also argues that audiences are to blame if they cannot catch tweeting errors.

Just as it’s an individual’s own actions that lead them to a correction box in a print publication, it’s an individual’s own actions that make them knowledgeable or ignorant about any given news story.

Loker’s point is one of the many voices arguing that audiences must verify information coming off of Twitter. One blog offers four steps to verify a tweet while another urges news readers to join the Report an Error alliance. These sites are helpful but do they show a frighteningly cushioned error tolerance among news reporters? It seems that readers are now expected to verify news. And if so, who is defining the error tolerance level and why are we so quick to allow it?

Silverman returns again in his Columbia Review Journal column to explain what to do once a tweet is found false. According to him, it is the news media’s job not only to correct it via twitter but to continue correcting it.

It’s difficult to say how many corrections are necessary, but one good way to gauge would be to see if the mistaken information is still being retweeted. As long as it’s being passed around, you should be issuing corrections and asking people to RT your correction.

Overall, accuracy seems to be the main concern of all these bloggers and reporters. Twitter continues to be a critical tool for journalists but as Silverman puts it, “the difference between making an error and getting it right is often a matter of making one or two phone calls. Accuracy is often easier and faster to achieve than we think.”

Future of Journalism

Journalism Skills Debate on Data and Programming #dataskills

First of all, let me tell you a bit about my background.

I am a business reporter for a 35,000-circulation daily newspaper. I value incorporating online into my daily coverage— I tweet and blog about retail and restaurants in my town, I occasionally get to shoot and edit video and I’ve tried different ways to tell a story. But writing for print is still a major part of my job and I will freely admit that I do not have the expertise to put my two cents in this discussion.

So why do I still care about this debate enough to follow it for the last few days?

Part of my job is to cover media outlets, including mine. I’ve written about the changes in the local newscasts and the changing ownership of local radio stations.

So my first instinct when I saw the debate on Twitter yesterday and in the last few days was to try to tell and preserve the story. (As you will see below).

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Future of Journalism, Multimedia

The Future of Multimedia Is Mobile


According to a recent Nielson study, it is estimated that one in two people will own a smartphone by the end of 2011. This rise in smartphones shows more than a consumer preference. Gartner Inc., a technology research company, predicted earlier this year that smartphones will become the most popular devices people use to access the web by 2013. This study reflects a growing trend in phone preference but also foreshadows the future of multimedia journalism.

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