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Dec. 27, 2013, 10 a.m.

The 25 Most Popular Nieman Lab Stories of 2013

In rough chronological order, and with a pinch of design inspiration from BuzzFeed.

The 25 Most Popular Nieman Lab Stories of 2013

In rough chronological order, and with a pinch of design inspiration from BuzzFeed.



The newsonomics of a news company of the future


The Financial Times is ahead of the curve in harnessing data on its customers — both readers and advertisers — to optimize revenue. By Ken Doctor.

Jake Levine: Why learning to code isn’t as important as learning to build something


“Programming is a means to an end, not an end in itself. You should be trying to do as little of it as possible to make the thing that you want.” By Jake Levine.

The newsonomics of Why Paywalls Now?


Paywalls are generating real money for American newspapers in 2013. But would they have in 2007, or 2002, or 1997? By Ken Doctor.

Habemus opinionem: The New York Times experiments with more structured online comments


On the occasion of a new pope, the Times offered up a new commenting platform that filtered reader responses by mood and identity. By Justin Ellis.

On Reddit, good links rise to the top — but it can sometimes take a few attempts to get there


A study of the social news site’s voting behavior finds that about half of its most popular links died quiet deaths on first submission. By Caroline O’Donovan.

Hashtags considered #harmful


A New York Times social media editor says they don’t attract an audience and “are aesthetically damaging.” By Daniel Victor.

A Dutch crowdfunded news site has raised $1.3 million and hopes for a digital-native journalism


Says the editor of De Correspondent: “I don’t believe in ‘the news’ in the objective sense of the word. You can describe the world in infinite ways, and ‘the news’ happens to be one of them.” By Loes Witschge.

Not an April Fool’s joke: The New York Times has built a haiku bot



Times Haiku are generated from stories on the homepage of, just in time for National Poetry Month. By Justin Ellis.

The newsonomics of the Orange County Register’s contrarian paywall


Aaron Kushner and Co. are bucking the emerging conventional wisdom around paywalls and trying new twists on some popular ideas. By Ken Doctor.

The end of big (media): When news orgs move from brands to platforms for talent


“What if news organizations confronted the reality that nearly all media will be ‘social media’ a decade hence?…What if news organizations acknowledged this — or even got out in front of it, ahead of the curve this time — and organized themselves as platforms for talent?” By Nicco Mele and John Wihbey.

Intercontinental collaboration: How 86 journalists in 46 countries can work on a single investigation


Over 2.5 million files analyzed by a global team of journalists reveal financial information about politicians, fundraisers. and celebrities from over 170 different countries. By Caroline O’Donovan.

Every page is your homepage: Reuters, untied to print metaphor, builds a modern river of news


Article pages now have added depth and context, providing more opportunities for readers coming from social media to discover more content. By Justin Ellis.

Now websites can send push notifications — not just apps


At least on the new version of OS X. Untying news alerts from apps is a small step towards a more sophisticated, customizable real-time system for connecting news to the readers who want it. By Joshua Benton.

The newsonomics of Hearst Magazines’ one million new customers


Most publishers are concentrating on milking more revenue out of existing customers. Hearst is focused on building a new native-to-digital audience. By Ken Doctor.

Evening Edition looks to build beyond its simple model


The idea of a once-a-day summary of news has obvious appeal for people overwhelmed by streams and feeds. But you’ve also got to get that summary in front of readers. By Sarah Darville.

Gawker is letting readers rewrite headlines and reframe articles


Gawker wants its Kinja platform to be a “truly interactive news platform.” By Adrienne LaFrance.

How to turn everyone in your newsroom into a graphics editor


A newly open-sourced tool from Quartz makes it easy for newsrooms to build quick, attractive charts from datasets on deadline. By David Yanofsky.

What does the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel know that your newsroom doesn’t?


In Wisconsin, the state’s largest newspaper has committed itself to tough watchdog, investigative reporting. It’s led to journalistic success and respect from its audience. By Adrienne LaFrance.

The 3 Key Types of BuzzFeed Lists To Learn Before You Die


How’s a listicle different from a definitive list or a framework list? Adding a little data science and taxonomy to the numerology of the web’s premiere list auteurs. By Caroline O’Donovan.

The newsonomics of “Little Data,” data scientists, and conversion specialists


The world’s top newspaper companies are realizing they need to invest heavily in data analysis to maximize their business opportunities. By Ken Doctor.

New York Times offers a glimpse at the homepage of the future


A new is in the works, and the company is previewing a prototype homepage, section front, and article page. By Justin Ellis.

Matt Waite: How I faced my fears and learned to be good at math


You might think the principal coder behind PolitiFact took naturally to math. You’d be wrong. By Matt Waite.

Sharing fast and slow: The psychological connection between how we think and how we spread news on social media


What drives sharing? It’s a mix of attention, emotion, and reaction. Here’s hard data on which news stories took off and which didn’t on social. By Sonya Song.

The Guardian experiments with a robot-generated newspaper with The Long Good Read


The paper, printed by The Newspaper Club, is a collection of longform Guardian stories selected and laid out with the help of algorithms. By Justin Ellis.

The blog is dead, long live the blog


“The Stream might be on the wane but still it dominates. All media on the web and in mobile apps has blog DNA in it and will continue to for a long while.” By Jason Kottke.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Dec. 27, 2013, 10 a.m.
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