Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters
“After this year’s fake news and Russian micro-targeting fiascos, Facebook and others will be forced to loosen their grip over our algorithmically determined timelines to other alternatives if they want to keep our attention.”
By Sara M. Watson
Publishing less to give readers more
“When something happens, we write a story. When something else happens, we write a new story. News event? New story! New developments? New story! New responses? New story!”
By Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives
“Next year, I predict many more publishers will push to establish business models with which, as one executive at a national publication recently put it during my research for the Tow Center’s Platforms and Publishers project, ‘you can kind of give the finger to the platforms.'”
By Nushin Rashidian
Looking beyond news for inspiration
“Some considerations are unique to our industry, but working in a deadline-driven business with tight margins is surprisingly universal.”
By Emily Goligoski
The year ownership mattered
“We will follow in the powerful footsteps of those who came before us, busting down doors, slapping away the hands who wanted to touch us, our bodies, our hair, our minds, just to say that diversity mattered. It didn’t.”
By Andrew Ramsammy
The firehose of falsehood
“None of this is brand new; politicians have always sought to smear journalism they didn’t like. What’s new is that the attack is no longer about this or that story, but about journalism itself. It’s a challenge to the very notion of an independent accounting of facts.”
By Monika Bauerlein
A longer view on the pivot
“Users are looking for journalism to fit their busy lives instead of finding ways to fit its former rigid form into their own. We should embrace creating content in diverse formats not because the platforms demand it, but instead because users do.”
By Julia Beizer
External forces
“The only hope for a serious pushback against misinformation will come from progress in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. But it will take a while to come up with reliable models able to process at scale a firehose of news.”
By Frédéric Filloux
The year of machine-to-machine journalism
“Search and social helped tailor information choices to individuals to a degree by leveraging content recommendation technology. But what happens when the content itself can be created, processed, and distributed through algorithms?”
By Francesco Marconi
The only pivot that might work
“It’s easy to blame the platform monopolies for publishers’ quandaries, but it’s time to also acknowledge that there are simply too many of us in the digital news space.”
By Michael Kuntz
Storify’s demise shows nothing lasts forever (but the use of social media embeds in stories persists)
“When we started there was no Twitter embed and no Instagram embed or Facebook embed. The idea of using the content that people post as raw material was novel.”
By Christine Schmidt
The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media
“The Russians are doing it. Cambridge Analytica is doing it. Why haven’t newsrooms seen this as an opportunity?”
By Alan Soon
Gatekeeping the gatekeepers
“‘The algorithm knows best’ is now a laughably naive position to take, even for the companies that initially pushed that narrative.”
By Joanne McNeil
Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up
“Either Facebook and Google are platforms, in which case they need to manage their infrastructure in a way that allows independent journalism to thrive. Or they are publishers, in which case they need to provide direct financial support for the journalism their platforms deliver.”
By Kinsey Wilson
Refactoring media literacy for the networked age
“An awful lot of highly educated folks, skilled in all sorts of traditional media literacy, are hopelessly lost on the web. (Many of these people are faculty).”
By Mike Caulfield
Storify’s demise shows nothing lasts forever (but the use of social media embeds in stories persists)
“When we started there was no Twitter embed and no Instagram embed or Facebook embed. The idea of using the content that people post as raw material was novel.”
By Christine Schmidt
“The media is in crisis”: Jonah Peretti lays out his vision for a more diversified BuzzFeed
The Facebook-Google duopoly has become an intractable problem for media companies today. BuzzFeed thinks more diversified revenue streams are a partial solution.
Obits? As it grows, watchdog nonprofit VTDigger is taking on more of local newspapers’ jobs
It’s become unusually ingrained into the local news ecosystem for a statewide nonprofit news outlet. “Every time we get two nickels rubbed together, I hire another reporter.”
What We’re Reading
Online News Association
The Online News Association is launching a network for diversity mentorship in newsrooms
“Newsrooms often cite recruiting and retention of diverse talent as a priority. The Collaborative aims to support newsrooms making investments in addressing this challenge. We will create a peer network for sharing ideas, document best practices for mentorship programs and — best of all — open a challenge competition to support innovative mentorship initiatives from a pool of $125,000.”
TechCrunch / Josh Constine
Facebook confirms it will stop subsidies for Facebook Live publishers but encourages them to use mid-roll ads
“A lot of the deals … were always meant to be temporary,” Facebook’s head of video Fidji Simo said. “We have been funding content for a while. We thought we’d launch a new type of format, and we tried to help publishers learn how to make that content work.”
Business Insider / Mike Shields
Refinery29 is laying off 7.5 percent of its workforce
“Refinery29 is hardly immune to the climate, even after receiving a cash infusion from Turner in 2016. The company’s revenue has grown this year and will net out in the nine-figure range, according to a person familiar with the matter. But like many in the space, it has pushed for audience growth outside of its core fashion and lifestyle content (such as a push into hard news in 2015, as Digiday reported) and is now facing a need to focus on its biggest revenue growth opportunities.”
Wired / Klint Finley
After the FCC votes to dismantle its net neutrality regulations, activists move the fight into the courts and Congress
“The most likely argument: that the commission’s decision violates federal laws barring agencies from crafting ‘arbitrary and capricious’ regulations.”
Recode / Rani Molla
Global internet speeds got 30 percent faster in 2017
The U.S. ranks 44th in mobile download speeds.
Washington Post / Callum Borchers
Why USA Today published an unusually forceful editorial about Trump
“As the unofficial newspaper of U.S. travelers, USA Today strives for political neutrality, even on its opinion page. It has never endorsed a presidential candidate.”
Politico / Jason Schwartz
The New York Times’ D.C. bureau adds its first fact-checker in an extra push for accuracy
“I think we learned very early on that even honest mistakes, small mistakes, things that are certainly not intended to take on a political cast have been twisted and interpreted into the most sinister possible version that could be used against a reporter,” the Times’ chief White House correspondent Peter Baker said. “There’s no margin at this point, so we have to be as good as we can possibly be.”
CNN Money / Hadas Gold and Charles Riley
Disney is buying most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion in a deal that could help them fend off streaming rivals
“The deal allows Disney to expand its content, especially for streaming services. In addition to a majority stake in Hulu that it will have once the deal closes, Disney is preparing to launch two separate streaming services, one for sports and another focusing on entertainment. And it is pulling its content from Netflix in preparation for the launch. Adding Fox’s television and movie studios and the content they own means adding to the stable of must-watch content it can offer directly to consumers — and that streaming competitors can not.”
Poynter / Rick Edmonds
Germany’s Axel Springer joins American publishers association in negotiating with Facebook and Google
“The News Media Alliance has established a priority of trying to negotiate fair compensation from Facebook and Google for original content displayed on the two platforms. Axel Springer has been particularly aggressive in battling the so-called duopoly in Europe, where various forms of government regulation are in place and new ones being tried.”
Wall Street Journal / Benjamin Mullin
Business Insider is dropping the Business
“Next year, the company is planning to launch Insider Coffee, Insider Wine and Insider Toys as brands on social media, which may eventually expand to other platforms…. The company is not yet profitable, but it is projecting that it will reach profitability in the second half of 2018.” Nieman Lab questioned CEO Henry Blodget this summer.
Nieman Lab is a project to try to help figure out where the news is headed in the Internet age. Sign up for The Digest, our daily email with all the freshest future-of-journalism news.