Two Minute Takeaway: Raising Your Hand to Opportunities (by Online News Association)
Callie Schweitzer, Director of Digital Innovation at TIME, offers advice for getting ahead at work: always be willing to help out.
NPR’s apps team worked with St. Louis Public Radio to build an app that would allow users to dig into data about who is lobbying Missouri state government. Find out how they collaborated on the app, what the design process was and what some of the challenges to building the app were in this post on Source.
Yes, much of the Internet is free. But it takes time and energy to develop the skills and habits necessary to successfully derive value from today’s media. Knowing how to tell a troll from a serious thinker, spotting linkbait, understanding a meme, cross checking articles against each other, even posting a comment to disagree with something–these are skills. They might not feel like it, but they are. And they’re easier to acquire the higher your tax bracket.
Ryan Holiday, The New Digital Divide: Privilege, Misinformation and Outright B.S. in Modern Media, Betabeat.
Holiday writes of the extreme privilege often inherent in digital literacy and the fact that it’s expensive to be a core user of online media.
If I work as a security guard or at the counter of a Wendy’s, our media environment is significantly more difficult to track. Not everyone has their Internet time subsidized by an employer who asks them to sit in front of a computer all day. In fact, many people have jobs that forbid them from doing just that, with bosses who will write them up if caught checking their phone. These people–we often refer to them (derisively) as “average Americans”–are removed from the iterative, lightning-fast online media cycle for hours at a time and often for the entire day.
Before you joke about how lucky they are, think about how that would change someone’s relationship with culture. It means they end up getting their news from Facebook or from the “most emailed” stories of the day (of dubious validity). With only so much time left at the end of the day, they go to the one or two places that can give them the gist. Their reality is shaped by the things that tend to trickle about and from the Internet.
He raises the food/nutrition analogy to point out how dangerous the consequences of such a divide can be. American’s obesity epidemic, caused in large part by a culture of eating what’s cheap and convenient because of a lack of access and affordability, can and will replicate itself in unhealthy media consumption patterns. (Related: The Information Diet by Clay Johnson)
Culturally, a portion of the population will be stuffed with hormone-injected garbage (Huffington Post slideshows, Facebook linkbait and other Cheetos-like information) while the other portion lives in its own reality of tailor-made, high quality information that makes them increasingly wealthy and utterly detached. One side will be able to influence, direct and exploit the other side because one controls the media while the other is at its mercy.
Julie Steele and Kipp Bradford give you a look behind the scenes at the sensors they build for Online News Association Conference (ONA13). Sensors were distributed throughout the keynote room, as part of a partnered project of the Tow Center, WNYC, ONA and Sense Lab.
The sensor network we deployed at ONA had 30 separate ‘motes’ each collecting temperature, RF activity, motion sensors, audio levels and undifferentiated air-quality. We also had a single unit at the back of the room logging MAC addresses. With the Tow Center and WNYC we chose this combination of sensors because we wanted to sense what people were doing (moving about and using their cell phones) and what people were experiencing (warm and cold patches, air quality). The MAC address logger was included as a way of talking about privacy and surveillance.
Read more about how they built the sensors: A Sensor Network Walkthrough: ONA 2013 | Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Sensor journalism was featured throughout the conference, and the Tow Center has another great post featuring three takeaways on sensors from ONA13.
In many ways, media companies are in need of just a metric: one that effortlessly communicates value and drives decision-making. However, at the present moment, online metrics are too focused on decontextualized outcomes. But by incorporating the influence of promotion on an article’s performance, we can create a set of baselines that would enable more meaningful comparisons across a wide range of content. We might call such a metric ‘Pageviews above replacement’ or PAR for short, as it would allow us to determine how well a certain article performs in comparison to a similar article that received the same level of promotion.
In an attempt to build a prototype of PAR, I collected as much data as I could on the promotional activities of the New York Times. Every 10 minutes or so, I pulled in the posts from 20 Times Facebook accounts, 200 Twitter accounts, and the contents of the homepage and ~ 25 sections fronts. At the same time, I also collected metadata on articles and information on their performance. By cross-referencing these two sources by URL and time, I was able to construct a detailed database of 21,000 articles published on nytimes.com between July and August.
Early results from Abelson’s analysis show that it is possible to predict with a good degree of accuracy how many pageviews a given NYT article will get.
Felix Salmon at Reuters did a further analysis of Abelson’s work, looking specifically at the impact of the disproportionate social sharing of wire services content in Abelson’s database. While 73% of the sampled stories came from wire services, Salmon reports those stories had only a 0.6% chance of being tweeted by @nytimes, resulting in viewer pageviews.
[A] byline analysis of U.K. national newspapers in 2012 indicates that some areas still have very few women — in particular politics, sports, and opinion writing. These findings are also supported by qualitative interview data. There are similar lacunae in the U.S. press.
So in addition to the problem of vertical segregation, where women are not reaching the highest ranks of journalism, there is a continuing problem of horizontal segregation: gender division by subject matter.