Anyone who is a member of the My Starbucks Rewards program is eligible to get 12 weeks of free access to the app. The promotion makes a lot of sense given the fact that NYT Now is the Times attempt at targeting mobile-centric users. My Starbucks Rewards encourages coffee lovers to pay for their drinks and gain rewards through using an app on their phone.
The overall goal of the collaboration seems to be to push more people to give NYT Now a try, whether they’re existing Times susbcribers or new readers. From Mobile Marketer:
Starbucks is promoting the partnership through an email blast that was sent to all My Starbucks Rewards members.
When consumers click through on the email, they are prompted to either sign-in to their New York Times account or create an account. After logging in, consumers type in a 20-digit unique code that is in the email to begin their free trial of NYT Now.
This is not the first time the Times has thought coffee and news would make for a good combination. In February 2013 the Times and Starbucks started offering readers free nytimes.com stories to people using Starbucks wifi network.
FourScore helps developers easily build audience sentiment maps — think of it as a crowdsourced, less snarky version of New York magazine’s Approval Matrix. Veltman had used the technique previously at WNYC for a Valentine’s Day sentiment matrix, and thought it would be useful if the code was open source.
In a post at Source, Veltman and Keller describe the importance of making code for projects like this not just open to other developers, but also useful to them.
They go on to say that important considerations in writing code that’s helpful for future users include browser compatibility, logical chunking, documentation and consideration of diverse workflows.
The Association of Independents in Radio released a review of their Localore project, an initiative meant to provide support for local public media producers working on entrepreneurial projects. The report, called What’s Outside, looks at the impact of the project — including digital, broadcast, and in-person impressions — and provides insights for producers, station leaders and the public media system as a whole.
AIR executive director Sue Schardt highlights the diversity and innovation inherent to the Localore project in her introduction. She also argues for systemwide changes in the public media network:
The legacy model is one built around national programming, principally Morning Edition and All Things Considered, which serves the core audience of listeners. The legacy value proposition for stations is built around serving as amplifiers of these anchor programs. As stations and the networks continue to strengthen and build on this important core capacity, a new and distinct opportunity emerges for stations to position themselves strongly as community hubs.
Schardt also gave advice for blending traditional reporting with digital outreach for maximum impact:
Before taking on digital production, however, stations would do well to become more technologically self-sufficient. This doesn’t necessarily mean having the capacity to build and code a complex new property. it does mean having the know-how to, for example, quickly respond when Twitter changes its API. We found that working with lightweight, readily available platforms beats building proprietary distribution formats, but that expertise is still needed.
I feel like “some news orgs are abandoning comments” is a story that could have been written on any weekday since 1999, but there really is a larger trend at work here around social sharing serving as (a) the place where your readers can sound off, but (b) a way to do it away from your site and (c) a way to do it that actually drives more traffic to your content.
(I’ve considered visually demoting comments on Nieman Lab, if only because a typical story of ours might get 300 tweets, 150 Facebook shares, and one comment. But I haven’t seriously considered killing them off entirely.)
But I wanted to point out that killing or demoting comments can be reasonably done for reasons other than the retrograde “our readers say a bunch of dumb stuff that riles people up.” Note this discussion on Twitter between Chris Littmann, deputy social media editor for Sporting News, and Jamie Mottram, content director for the USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Both Sporting News and the USA Today social sports site For The Win recently killed comments.
For me, that’s a better reason to kill comments: You can only have so many things you ask your reader to do. I’ll leave it to the marketers among us to talk about the all-important CTA — the call to action — but in general, the online business folks say that it’s best to have one single thing that you’re asking your user to do. If that thing is “share this on social media,” a comment box can be a distraction.
Does anybody have any good data on this — whether sharing (or some other desired behavior) increases when comments or other less-desired end-of-article options are stripped away?
The daylong summit on new models for supporting journalism examines how the Texas Tribune diversified its funding, the injection of venture capital and private wealth into media, and the future of philanthropy for news.
Chalkbeat, Southern California Public Radio, InvestigateWest and others are awarded over $236,000 in micro-grants to support events programming, collaborative reporting, and a “native underwriting” pilot program.
Cook writes that the magazine will continue to publish NSA stories, but will otherwise hold back on publishing until they resolve “questions about the site’s broader focus, operational strategy, structure, and design.”
In a very Denton-esque maneuver, Cook then opened the comments to readers, saying he’d be available all afternoon to answer questions about plans for the digital magazine.
Regarding their publishing schedule and content formats, he writes:
We will be publishing a wide variety of stories — short, fast posts to keep the site alive to the news and lengthy reported narratives to devote attention to stories that need to be told, and all manner of story in between. And we will definitely be working with filmmakers — already are, in fact — to find ways to tell these stories beyond just blocks of text.
On who he’s looking to hire:
Not white. Not male. Fast. Interested in reporting as a live, iterative process that plays out on the internet as well as one where you go away for six weeks and come back with 4,000 words. Eager to make a name for themselves. Beat-wise, intelligence and national security are obviously important to us at the initial stages, but I’m more interested in good capable people who can apply their skills to all manner of stories than subject-area experts.
Long term, I want the site to be identified more by the posture that Glenn, Laura, and Jeremy exemplify — aggressive, honest, impolite when necessary, and unburdened by the institutional norms that govern the behavior of so many reporters at major establishment news organizations — than any menu of beats or subject areas.
We will definitely have international coverage. Not so sure about bureaus in the short term.
It’s a high priority, but it’s not likely to be the first thing to get changed. We really want a good commenting system and we’re working on it. But the first-order priority is getting the site design where it needs to be and getting the editorial structure in place to be a rolling, live operation. But yes, comments are desperately in need of improvement.
On matters of church and state:
My position is that we have publicly been guaranteed complete editorial independence (https://firstlook.org/about/). Any interference in our editorial work would be an abrogation of that agreement. I have every expectation that it will be honored. Our credibility comes from the work we have done and will do, not from our financial backer.
Columbia assistant professor Duy Linh Tu led a cross-country investigation into how newsrooms, broken down into categories of newspapers, digital-native properties, and longform filmmakers, are actually dealing with video content. His team compiled the results into Video Now, a structured interactive website with lots of video features. Here’s a sample of testimony from journalists at The Seattle Times:
Eric Ulken: We haven’t figure out the business model, so it’s sort of a chicken or egg problem. On the one hand, advertising will tell us, “Well, we need more volume in order to make this an effective advertising product.” And on the news gathering side, it’s “Well, if you could show us that this is actually producing some revenue, we would assign it some more manpower to it.”
Danny Gawlowski: For news situations, if it’s something that’s important today, we try to use mobile as much as we can, and shoot it on mobile, upload it directly from your mobile device, publish it immediately. It gives us the advantage of speed. We put the ability to publish breaking news right at the reporter level, right at the photographer level, and so that we can concentrate our editing resources on longer-term, more thoughtful packages.
The digital investigation focuses on Mashable, NPR, and NowThis News. Here’s Mashable’s Bianca Consunji on metrics for video:
We’re trying to work on videos that will give us at least 20,000 views. Anything less than that, with our limited resources, just isn’t worth it anymore. If, let’s say, 100,000 people will watch a cute viral video featuring a Muppet and a cat, maybe 20,000 will watch the video that we did on 3D gun printing.
The report wraps with a good set of recommendations. Sports videos and explainers did well across newsrooms, they found, and evergreen video content with a long tail is always helpful. Social video should be about audience not gimmicks, and short videos tend to get the most viewers. Video ads should be better, and newsrooms can’t expect to depend on preroll CPMs entirely. Finally, the report advises that breaking news reporters doing short, mobile clips should be separate from those producing elegant, sophisticated, in-depth video content.
What are the biggest legal issues affecting online news organizations, large and small? One group that has a unique perspective on that question is Harvard’s Digital Media Law Project, which for more than four years has run the Online Media Legal Network, which provides pro bono or low-cost legal services to digital publishers.
In a new report out today, DMLP’s Jeff Hermes and Andy Sellars look at the 500-plus cases they’ve handled and try to determine some trends in the legal questions they’re being asked — around issues like contract negotiations, corporate law issues, intellectual property, other types of litigation, risk management, and news gathering. Here’s a summary of some of their main findings:
Those who have sought help from the OMLN overwhelmingly create their own original content, rather than aggregate the content of others. Many also provide support services to other journalists, platforms for users to talk to one another, or tools to access primary source information.
While some clients report on niche issues, many more are focused on reporting news of general interest, either to the public at large or local audiences. Non-proﬁt clients show a greater focus on reporting on social issues such as health and education than for-proﬁt or individual clients.
OMLN clients show significant evidence of forward planning. They are more often proactive than reactive to legal issues, frequently seeking assistance with intellectual property, content liability, and corporate questions before crises occur.
Individual clients not employed by an organization, and those clients who reported on businesses or to consumer audiences, sought help defending against legal threats more often than other clients. This indicates a particular need for greater litigation assistance among these categories.
The advice sought by OMLN clients with regard to intellectual property matters shows a near-perfect balance between protecting their own content and using the content of others
Our friend Nikki Usher is out with a new report today at the Tow Center (pdf here) on the role of physical space in newspapers making the transition from print to digital. With shrinking staffs, a desire for cultural change, and a reduced role for printing plants, lots of newsrooms have moved in recent years. What difference can a change of scenery make?
As newsrooms shed their old, industrial pasts through optioning real estate, then perhaps the future for post-industrial journalism is quite bright. But if these moves are about nothing more than downsizing and loss, then we ought to be deeply concerned about the viability for quality news in the digital age, particularly from metropolitan newsrooms.
The task of this paper is to explore how physical change might make a difference to the future of journalism. The goal here is to help those inside and close to the industry understand the transition newspapers are making away from their manufacturing roots and into their post-industrial present. The relationship between physical and digital space, and what it means to journalists and their work, should help us learn more about what is happening inside journalism — and hopefully offer some insights into opportunities and blind spots.
Nikki’s paper builds on a number of pieces about newsroom space that have run here at Nieman Lab (one, two, three). Among the questions she addresses in the paper:
— Can a move to a new physical space help to update newsroom culture? Can it serve as a digital do-over?
— Does moving to a post-industrial space — abandoning the presses out in the suburbs, say — communicate something about the nature of the newspaper to readers, advertisers, and citizens?
— How can the physical organization of newsroom space be optimized for breaking news online?
— How important is physical space when everyone has a laptop and a smartphone, anyway?
From Nikki’s conclusion:
Newsroom moves matter. Journalists are storytellers and they have always crafted their own myths about the profession. If the message now for metropolitan newsrooms is digital innovation, then it may be necessary to create a very explicit break with the past. New stories need to be created to establish a new narrative about the purpose and mission of journalism. One facet of cultural change began when online journalists were integrated into the main newsroom as equal partners. This was a story of physical space just as it was one of cultural change.
It’s easy to get wistful about the decline of newspapers. And indeed, the loss of large newspaper buildings and their imprint on their respective cities is sad to those who have sentimental attachments to old journalism. The symbolism of these moves is incredibly meaningful to both reporters and the public. For this reason, newspapers need to tell their own stories of change. They must be able to create a tale that downsizing space is not downsizing the news.
Yes, you need to reset all your passwords. But what are the specific impacts for journalists regarding the Heartbleed security breach announced yesterday? For Source (and also the ProPublica Nerd Blog), Mike Tigas has a breakdown.
If your websites have SSL enabled (when users log in, for example), or if you use VPN software to secure your network, or if you run your own mail servers, your newsroom might be affected by Heartbleed.
Heartbleed can affect anything that uses OpenSSL version 1.0.1 or greater. This includes most open-source webservers (Apache, nginx, lighttpd), and can include email servers, instant message services (ejabberd, etc), and VPN servers (openvpn). Privacy software like Tor and SecureDrop are also vulnerable and have since released updates. Many popular server operating systems are affected and have released patches that fix the bug, including Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise and Arch Linux. [...]
If you get a version between 1.0.1 and 1.0.1f, you may be vulnerable. Some Linux distributions include a hotfix for this bug while keeping the same version number, so you should double-check the operating system’s website for more information.
Tigas’ post has specific next-steps for those who may be vulnerable. In addition, ONA’s Jen Mizgata suggests journalists whose hackles are raised by the bug consider attending their security summit this month in Indianapolis.
Big events — Super Bowls, the Oscars, the Olympics — are when media companies want to make sure their interactive features shine the brightest. The Olympics, in particular, are an interesting case because they last over the course of two weeks rather than one night, which means newsrooms need a continuous coverage plan in place for interactives.
At The New York Times, the graphics team put together an entirely new system and set of workflows to create interactive features, including videos, photo composites, and more to cover the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The group was divided into five three-person teams of visual journalists. Each team was assigned to an event to cover and began with an intense research and pre-reporting process in the weeks before the games. Andrews, whose team focused on figure skating, said that each journalist aimed to be as educated with their designated sport as possible before the event. They contacted sources (usually experts or ex-Olympians) with whom they would speak right before and immediately after the event so that each composite would be accompanied by thorough reporting and analysis right away.
During the events themselves, members of the team in Sochi would shoot the event and run the images through a Photoshop script they’d written prior to the games, said Larry Buchanan, a Times graphics editor. The script detected the differences between images and created a composite that was “80 percent” there, Buchanan said.
They also built a variety of modules beforehand to create composites, diptychs, or finisher’s graphics depending on the sport. One of the reasons the team was able to get the graphics up so quickly is because their system allowed them to work as a singular unit.
Here’s an example of one of those composites — cooler, bigger version here:
Interviewing is a craft. An interview is not quite the same thing as a conversation. There’s an attempt in an interview to extract useful information, and this is a unilateral endeavor. I’m the one asking the questions here. If the source, for some reason, perhaps after an hour of badgering, asks me a question — for example, “When is this story going to run?” — I will answer in a barely audible whisper, “And you are who, exactly?”
But now I’m wondering if what I consider “reporting” is just a form of aggregating, of skimming, of lifting the best parts of a scientist’s work and repurposing it for my own interests. These scientists have spent many, many years doing research, much of it at the very edge of the knowable, where finding a new piece of solid data is a laborious process that may require long nights at the computer or the laboratory bench, or mulling a bust of Galileo, and this work has to be slotted among other obligations, including grant applications, peer-reviewing papers, teaching, advising graduate students, holding office hours, serving on faculty committees and schmoozing at the faculty club. And here I am calling up and saying: “Give me the fruit of your mental labors.” Asking for the ripest fruit, as it were. Asking not just for information but for wisdom. Give it to me! For free. And they did, because they always do, because we have a system of sorts.
You can find a younger, shaggier-haired version of me making this same argument — that gathering and reassembling the intellectual work of others is core to the journalistic program and has been forever — four years ago at Harvard Law School. (Also, see this 2009 piece and the comments.)
Unfortunately, Achenbach then backs off this revelation by arguing that (a) he knows some stuff too, damn it, which makes it different (I guess aggregators don’t know anything?) and (b) that learning things by making a digital telephone call somehow exists on a whole other plane of existence from learning things by using a digital research tool. It’s the old Puritan idea of the cleansing power of labor — that when things become easier, they lose their worth. Oh, well.