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From Nieman Reports: Where are the women in leadership at news organizations?
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July 10, 2013, 3:16 p.m.
LINK: blog.instagram.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   July 10, 2013

No more need for hacky workarounds or third-party solutions to put an Instagram photo or video on your website, we’re told:

Now, when you visit an Instagram photo or video page on your desktop web browser, you’ll see a new share button on the right side of your photo (just under the comments button). Click the button to see the embed code. Copy the block of text it gives you and paste it into your blog, website or article. When you hit publish, the photo or video will appear.

There’s one way, though, in which it’s not particularly publisher friendly. Unlike, say, a YouTube embed, there’s no option on the embed code to set the width of your content well — it just defaults to 612 pixels wide. (Instagram’s web interface uses that size.)

But 612 pixels is too wide for lots of publishers’ sites. For instance, the well on this Nieman Lab post is 570 pixels, so this pic from New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins extends into the right sidebar by 42 pixels:

Not a great crime, but annoying. (Would be more than annoying if we had, say, a 400-pixel well.)

Compare that to, say, a Twitter embed, which will automatically constrict its size (and reflow its content) at smaller widths — as in the second tweet embed below, which I’ve artificially confined to a 300-pixel box:

You can work around this by manually changing the width attribute on an Instagram embed’s iframe. That works okay at larger widths — here’s 570px, 400px, and 312px:

But you’ll end up with awkward whitespace underneath the embed unless you also manually change the iframe’s height, which I’ve done here. The formula is height = width + 98px. So a 400px wide embed should be 498px tall.

But trial and error indicates that sort of manipulation still only works down to 312px in width. Below that, the iframe warps and won’t maintain the famous square aspect ratio of an Instagram photo. Here’s 200px × 298px:

So I guess we’ll still need hacky solutions after all. (If you’re desperate, you can always just use the actual raw photo, although Instagram would probably rather you not.)

In the meantime, just add easy Creative Commons licensing options to photos, Instagram, and all will be forgiven.

UPDATE: Friend-of-the-Lab Jeff Hobbs reminds me of the biggest problem with Instagram’s embeds: They won’t cooperate with responsive layouts. If you’re using media queries to fit a site into (say) the iPhone’s 320px width, a 612px Instagram embed will screw up your layout. (The same is true for YouTube embeds, but you can get around that by using FitVids.js or something similar.)

But he has a solution! Create a custom Instagram embed at his site Embed Responsively. (Here’s an example of what it produces; narrow your browser width to see the responsiveness in action.) Jeff’s site will also make responsive-friendly custom embeds for YouTube, Vimeo, Google Maps, and more — check it out.

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LINK: bbcpopup.tumblr.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   September 11, 2014

The business of journalism looks a lot like a game of Risk right now, as media companies are angling for position with new sites and bureaus around the globe. Quartz and The Huffington Post have both recently set up shop in India. BuzzFeed plans to use its new funding to expand its overseas reporting footprint, and this week Politico announced it was partnering with Axel Springer to launch a Europe-focused politics site.

bbcnewsWith so much globetrotting it only makes sense that foreign news outlets would turn their eyes to the United States. The BBC set off on one adventure this week with BBC Pop Up, a mobile (in the on-the-move sense, not the iPhone 6 sense) reporting project where journalists will report from a series of U.S. cities over the next six months. Like any good pop up restaurant, the BBC’s plans are simultaneously ambitious but also limited: the BBC team will file stories for online, shoot video for broadcast, and work with locals to uncover unreported stories. It’ll do all of that in one month before moving on to the next town. The first stop is Boulder, Colo. The Ringling Brothers would be proud.

For an organization as large as the BBC the pop up bureaus are a relatively low risk/high reward proposition. It gets the BBC wider exposure in the United States as something other than the place that broadcasts Gordon Ramsey and Doctor Who, but also serves as a test for whether there is a broader appetite for their reporting in the states.

As far as experiments go, it’s still curious why a news organization that already has large bureaus throughout the United States, not to mention various language services around the world, would put on a roadshow. As Matt Danzico, head of the BBC innovation lab explains, the pop up project is about building a bridge to a new type of audience:

In the 21st Century, creating video for television from cities like Washington, New York and/or Los Angeles is definitely an effective way of reaching traditional media consumers in those markets. But if you’re also trying to reach younger generations in Colorado, for instance, why not create gripping video from the state that’s of interest to a global audience?

And now you’ve not only provided interesting programming to your traditional audience but you have also sparked the interest of an entirely new community as well.

Do that for one month at a time. Post your videos to local social media. Move cities. Repeat.

Yes, BBC News has 44 foreign bureaus in a heap of cities around the world. But the world has nearly 3,000 cities with a population over 150k. So why not create a mobile bureau that can embed itself in a community and then relocate easily?

Here’s a look at what they have in store:

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LINK: www.buzzfeed.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   September 11, 2014

Apple WatchAfter Apple unveiled its Apple Watch earlier this week most news organizations are still figuring out how — or even if — they’ll develop apps for the smart watch. Most outlets haven’t received any technical specifications from Apple about the device and are still in the very preliminary stages of thinking about how they’ll approach the smart watch, Myles Tanzer reports in BuzzFeed.

There was at least one news app that got an advance look at the Apple Watch: Yahoo News Digest. The app’s logo was visible on mock-ups of the watch during Apple’s presentation. (It’s the purple one with the colorful dots in a circle — above the Pinterest logo — in the watch that’s above.)

From BuzzFeed:

But during the Tuesday’s keynote, close observers noticed multiple quick flashes of the Apple Watch’s homescreen that showed icons for two apps from Yahoo, one of which is a version of the popular Yahoo News Digest app. Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s senior vice president of mobile and emerging products, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the company has a working version of a Yahoo News Digest product but was wary to comment on any additional apps from Yahoo — “I wouldn’t read into every icon that you see everywhere.” He said the Yahoo team was one of a select few chosen to participate in a multi-week test of the Apple Watch’s development kit.

The Apple Watch is slated to be released sometime early next year. It seems likely more news apps will be developed for the platform.

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LINK: new.dowjones.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   September 9, 2014

The Wall Street Journal wants readers to know that being a subscriber has its perks. The Journal rolled out WSJ+ this week, a complimentary membership program for readers who have subscriptions to the paper.

What, exactly, does being a WSJ+ member get you beyond a sweet membership card to display on your digital device of choice? From the Journal’s news release:

WSJ+ members will receive special offers and be welcomed to invitation-only events designed to bring Journal content to life, while providing subscribers elevated Journal experiences specially curated to speak to their wide-ranging and ambitious interests. Events will take place across the country and will include panel discussions with top Journal editors, as well as arts performances and private film screenings.

As a WSJ+ member you could get a talk and tour of the Journal newsroom (“learn how our famous stipples are made,” the event advertises) with Editor in Chief Gerald Baker or see a conversation between Whoopi Goldberg and legendary TV producer Norman Lear.

Many of the offers through WSJ+ are either discounts or raffles seemingly attuned to the needs of the aspirational Journal reader. Tell the “Golf Concierge” you’d like a discount to play at course in Hilton Head Island, or win two tickets to the Longines Los Angeles Masters equestrian event.

The Journal is one of a growing number of media companies that wants to deepen the relationship with readers through membership programs. Both nonprofit and for-profit companies are trying to find programs to incentivize paid readership while also collecting more detailed data on their audience. One difference is that some loyalty programs, like WSJ+, are complimentary with a subscription. Others, like The Guardian’s membership plan and The New York Times’ Times Premier, are extra, which means a potential added source of revenue.

The characteristics of the programs usually fall into similar categories: special access to events, discounts, and invitations to look behind the curtain of your beloved news provider. Wine and free books seem to be a love shared by media executives and newspaper readers.

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LINK: gigaom.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   September 5, 2014

Netflix wants to boost its mobile audience and plans to make shorter, bite-sized videos to do it. According to Janko Roettgers at Gigaom, the streaming media company plans to create 2-5 minute video clips specifically targeted at mobile viewers. The catch is that Netflix won’t be producing new content, but slicing up scenes from its catalog of movies, TV shows, and comedy specials. Like many media companies, Netflix is seeing a shift in the consumption patterns and interests of its audience:

Davis said Thursday that most Netflix content is still watched on TV screens, but that mobile is seeing the biggest growth, in part because of the way phones have been changing. “As screen sizes are becoming bigger, watching content on phones becomes more natural,” he said.

That development prompted Netflix to take mobile more seriously, and while researching the space, Netflix’s designers came upon an unexpected challenge: 87 percent of all mobile sessions last less than ten minutes — but Netflix didn’t have any content that was less than ten minutes long. That’s why the company decided to experiment with shorter-form content.

It’s an interesting move that lines up with interest in things like, say, seconds-long clips of crucial soccer goals. It also mirrors recent short-form video products like NFL Now and 120 Sports.

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LINK: www.latimes.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   September 5, 2014

The L.A. Times made a move toward expanding its video strategy today — but not in digital video. The newspaper announced a broadcast deal with DIRECTV for a series of documentaries to be called Los Angeles Times Originals.

“The Times is renowned for its powerful storytelling in a multitude of forms, including exceptional, award-winning video,” said Colin Crawford, Times deputy managing editor, visual journalism. “Los Angeles Times Originals is a vital extension of our journalistic endeavors and we are excited to have our documentaries presented to DIRECTV’s subscribers.”

With an interest in both short and longform video, the move could be compared to BuzzFeed’s recent creation of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures or Vice Media’s increasingly aggressive maneuvers in television and film. The L.A. Times is not the first major US newspaper to delve into documentary video production. The New York Times has invested significant resources in its Op-Docs programming, which has aired online and at film festivals.

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From Nieman Reports: Where are the women in leadership at news organizations?
“The results of this gender disparity in leadership are especially pernicious in journalism. To best serve the public as watchdogs and truth-tellers, news organizations need a broad array of voices and perspectives.”
Ensuring women have a seat at the leadership table
“Women are not ascending to the top jobs in any media sector at anywhere near the rate they’re entering the journalism school pipeline.”
Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
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