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Bubble fears, old-guard acquisitions, and Audible: This was 2018 in podcasts
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Bubble fears, old-guard acquisitions, and Audible: This was 2018 in podcasts
Plus: What we’ll cover in 2019, and the most interesting companies to watch.
By Nicholas Quah
What does membership mean for BuzzFeed News — at a company that’s already raised nearly $500 million in venture capital?
Even the most digital-native publishers cannot resist the siren call of a tote bag. But a membership pitch sounds different coming from a public radio station than from a private company with a billion-dollar valuation.
By Christine Schmidt
“So many times we forget to listen”: How Spaceship Media moderated a Facebook group of 400 political women without it going off the rails
It was hard to recruit Republican woman (“SO many Democrat white women”), and following the news of the day felt PTSD-inducing to many. But aggressive moderation and the help of a few librarians made a potentially uncivil discussion a little more respectful.
By Christine Schmidt
Few people are actually trapped in filter bubbles. Why do they like to say that they are?
Plus: Are your Google results really that different from your neighbor’s?
By Laura Hazard Owen
3 ways Facebook and other social media companies could clean up their acts — if they wanted to
“These moves may hurt the firms’ finances, but they would also demonstrate serious and lasting commitment to limiting their platforms’ usefulness in political manipulation campaigns.”
By Anthony Nadler and Matthew Crain
Google is launching a voice-driven version of Google News for smart speakers and phones
“News on smart speakers is not living up to the promise of what it could be.”
By Laura Hazard Owen
“Fake flus!” When it comes to health, battling misinformation requires strategic thinking
Politics isn’t the only place where countering misinformation is tricky business: “The best evidence suggests that a more effective way of dealing with misinformation is not spreading it in the first place. That means avoiding repeating various myths — even if you’re debunking them.”
By Matthew Motta, Dominik Stecula, and Kathryn Haglin
Digital-native publishers settle in to face legacy constraints, with a side of reader revenue
“It’s like we’re farmers…that’s not a scalable start-up business, but it’s a very steady, very sustainable, and very honest business based on relationships.”
By Christine Schmidt
There isn’t one best way to map local news ecosystems. But can we do it better?
“Despite the volume of research currently under way about news ecosystems, there is no gold standard.”
By Sarah Stonbely
Get rid of the content no one reads. Offer surprises and “candy.” And other tricks for retaining subscribers.
“I am not saying we shouldn’t do vegetables. But for the financial health of our organizations, the rewards are candy. If we’re not taking the vegetables and dipping them in caramel, we’re making some hard choices.”
By Laura Hazard Owen
Teens support the First Amendment but largely don’t trust traditional media (do they have reason to?)
Virtually half of high school teachers don’t trust traditional media either, but 72 percent of students say journalism “keep[s] leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done.”
By Christine Schmidt
A year in, Apple’s podcast analytics have been an evolution, not a revolution
Plus: The BBC is fully on board with podcasting now, Serial has its biggest season yet, and boy, the new Ron Burgundy podcast escalated quickly.
By Nicholas Quah
Bubble fears, old-guard acquisitions, and Audible: This was 2018 in podcasts
Plus: What we’ll cover in 2019, and the most interesting companies to watch.
By Nicholas Quah
What does membership mean for BuzzFeed News — at a company that’s already raised nearly $500 million in venture capital?
Even the most digital-native publishers cannot resist the siren call of a tote bag. But a membership pitch sounds different coming from a public radio station than from a private company with a billion-dollar valuation.
“So many times we forget to listen”: How Spaceship Media moderated a Facebook group of 400 political women without it going off the rails
It was hard to recruit Republican woman (“SO many Democrat white women”), and following the news of the day felt PTSD-inducing to many. But aggressive moderation and the help of a few librarians made a potentially uncivil discussion a little more respectful.
What We’re Reading
CNBC / Jillian D'Onfro
Google CEO Sundar Pichai finally showed up to a congressional hearing — here’s how it went
“Pichai would not, however, go so far as to commit not to launch ‘a tool for surveillance and censorship in China,’ as he was asked to do by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). ‘We always think it’s in our duty to explore possibilities to give users access to information,’ Pichai said.”
Twitter / Emma Carew Grovum
Google is shutting down Fusion Tables, saddening data journalists
Fusion Tables, a free data visualization tool, will be retired December 3, 2019.
Bloomberg / Josh Eidelson
Slate’s newly unionized writers and editors give OK to strike
“Slate’s editorial employees authorized the potential strike by a vote of 52 to 1…and are now weighing when they may walk off the job.”
BBC News Labs / Zoe Murphy
Beyond 800 words: What user testing taught a journalist about writing news for young people
“Reduce the 24/7 churn. Slow down. Take time to write clear, considered articles. Think about your narrative.”
Columbia Journalism Review / Tony Biasotti
How journalists are preparing for California’s next wildfire
“Until recently, the Chronicle would throw everyone they had at a big wildfire, and then forget about fires until the next one started. Now, the paper covers the subject year-round, with breaking-news coverage, investigative reporting about fire preparation and response, and in-depth pieces.”
Washington Post / Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, Tony Romm, and Andrew Ba Tran
Two years after #Pizzagate showed the dangers of hateful conspiracies, they’re still rampant on YouTube
“YouTube is particularly valuable to users of Gab.ai and 4chan, social media sites that are popular among hate groups but have scant video capacity of their own. Users on these sites link to YouTube more than to any other website, thousands of times a day, according to the recent work of Data and Society and the Network Contagion Research Institute, both of which track the spread of hate speech.”
Digiday / Max Willens
The Washington Post’s newsletter brand, 202, is outgrowing the inbox
“Since it launched as a single newsletter called PowerPost three years ago, the 202 has grown into a healthy sub-brand for the Post. A team of 14 people work on the newsletters full time, up from seven last year…The Post declined to share details about how many subscribers the 202 newsletters have, saying only that the total number of subscribers it has across all its newsletters is up more than 20 percent this year.”
Columbia
These are the winners of Columbia’s 2019 duPont Awards
“Twelve of this year’s duPont Batons will be awarded to reporting teams led by women. The 2019 winners also highlight the growth in newsroom partnerships that pool resources and skills to deliver impactful news stories.”
Vox / David Roberts
Advice for aspiring explainer journalists
“Journalism is inevitably shifting. These days, it is less about producing new information than it is about gathering information already on the record, evaluating it, and explaining and contextualizing it for an audience, perhaps with some analysis and argumentation for good measure.”
Time
Time’s People of the Year: Jamal Khashoggi, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Maria Ressa, and the journalists of The Capital Gazette
“This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment: Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md.”
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.