Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category
Last week I looked at Vox and Quartz as examples of new approaches to journalism. At the time I’d considered adding fivethirtyeight to the mix but didn’t have the time or wherewithal. I do today and think it warrants attention. Here’s why:
The rise of data has impacted so many aspects of our digital lives and news is no exception. Nate Silver has been banging the data drum for years and in a series of increasingly interesting ways: from poker to PECOTA to politics. He has traveled from the original 538 blog to the New York Times and now to the current iteration of fivethirtyeight.com. Silver has recognized that, viewed through the right lens, data can reveal all kinds of interesting stories.
For all the handwringing about the state of the news business, there is a ton going on that is really exciting. Yes, it’s taken a while for the industry to get its sea legs (a process that isn’t going to stop any time soon) but there are plenty of interesting things happening. Two outlets that I have been relying on more and more are Quartz and Vox. They take very different approaches to presenting information.
Vox attempts to make complex issues digestible with plenty of charts and graphs and bite-sized data served in the form of “cards” that address specific questions related to a topic. It’s a nice approach. Vox makes it easy to share its stories and cards through the various social channels. What Vox doesn’t allow you to do is ask questions or post questions. The site presents itself as helping readers understand the news, but without the ability for readers to engage that understanding is limited to what the editors believe it should be.
The Associated Press has shaken the world of journalism by amending two distinct style entries, igniting uproar from writers, reporters and communications professionals.
As the de facto guide to news writing prepares its 2014 update this spring, the stylebook unleashed two controversial edits that brought years of following rules and explanations to a screeching halt. “Over” is now OK to use in place of “more than” in references to quantity, and state names now warrant full spelling in copy.
“We decided on the change because it has become common usage,” said AP Stylebook Editor Darrell Christian in published reports. “We’re not dictating that people use ‘over’ – only that they may use it as well as ‘more than’ to indicate greater numerical value.”
Last week, Jessica Lessin, a well-respected tech journalist who earlier this year launched the news site The Information, wrote a thoughtful piece on why Misleading Pushback on Media Reports Does Nobody Good. The post cited several high profile stories on brands such as Nike, Amazon and Square, that the subjects publicly denied – though Lessin’s whole point is that their PR statements were open to interpretation and trying to put the best spin on reports that, ultimately, were true.
“Many don’t dispute the underlying facts,” she wrote. “Instead, they try to obscure them. Others use words that could mean multiple things to multiple people.”
We love TV. We prefer it and trust it the most. In fact, 73% of Americans cite television as their preferred source of news, according to a study we did in partnership with GMI Lightspeed of 1,000 Americans ages 18+. News websites came in second with 52% and print magazines & newspapers came in third with 36%.
We also found some directional clues in our data. Of those between the ages of 25 and 44, 60% chose news websites after TV, compared to 43% of those over age 55. And of those who consider themselves to be tech-savvy, only 37% trust TV (compared to 50% of those who consider themselves not to be tech-savvy).
Curt Woodward of Xconomy Boston is a familiar face to those of us in Boston’s tech and innovation space. He brings a colorful range of experience to the table having covered such topics as business, law, politics and government, in addition to startups and innovators in the tech space. Before coming to the East Coast, Curt wrote for Xconomy’s Seattle bureau. Having myself recently made the reverse move by relocating to San Francisco from Boston, I was eager to pick his brain about the misconceptions and realities of each environment. The result? A handy manifesto on such PR essentials as crafting the perfect pitch, foreseeing industry trends and, of course, finding a good cup of joe.
Have you been misquoted? Not quoted? Taken out of context? Or frustrated because a reporter didn’t do his or her research before speaking with you? The nature of media interviews is changing, and PR strategies must change with it.
First, consider how reporters’ jobs have changed. I’ve seen reporters posting up to 10 articles each day. Why? There are fewer of them – according to The Wall Street Journal, for every journalist there are 4.6 PR people. The news cycle can be mere seconds long and it goes all day and all night. So reporters are under the gun. Being first is important so comprehensiveness and accuracy can sometimes take second-chair to speed (it’s become a common practice for reporters to update and correct their stories after they go live).
We live in an age where reputations can be made or broken in seconds on Twitter, when potential criminal suspects are identified by communities on Reddit, and President Obama is doing online video interviews with Zach Galifianakis on Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns.” It’s up to 304,000 Facebook likes.
The news media is undergoing a powerful transformation as new outlets sprout up to reinvent an aging business model. At InkHouse, we’re closely watching The Information, Circa, re/code, TheOnSwitch, and of course, Buzzfeed (if I listen to the results of its quizzes, I should move to Tennessee, become a writer and live the rest of my life as Bill Clinton).