• Immersive Journalism and Virtual Reality

    As The New York Times brings new attention to VR, immersive journalism could drive not only changes in the media industry, but mainstream adoption of the technology.

    For decades, journalists have been trying to figure out how to better connect audiences to serious events that happen far, far away, and build empathy and understanding. Most recently, media organizations are turning to virtual reality as the possible next step toward that goal. The big news as of late has been The New York Times decision to send 1.2 million Google Cardboard units to subscribers via snail mail. Readers could download the NYTVR app, pop their smartphone into Cardboard, and watch several videos, including an 11-minute documentary on Oleg and two other children ousted from their homes by war called The Displaced.

    Read more.

    ...

  • TV News Stations Are Now Old News

    When direct-broadcast satellite provider Dish Network launched Sling TV in February last year, it was eying those swathes of viewers able and willing to pay for television, but not the fat bill that pay-TV companies send their subscribers at the end of the month. For a monthly fee of US$20, Americans can access a bouquet of TV channels anywhere and on any device through Sling TV, including mobile devices and computers.

    They don’t have to install a hulking antenna or satellite dish on the roof of their house. In mid-April 2016, Dish Network threatened that it would cut its viewers’ access to the cable channels operated by Viacom. Dish Network was reportedly irked by requests from Viacom for an unreasonable increase (“millions of dollars,” according to Dish Network) in fees for carrying Viacom-owned channels such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon in spite of the decreasing audiences of these channels. In the end, they reached a deal.

    Read more.

     

    ...

  • NPR visuals team use analytics

    How many analytics platforms is your newsroom using? The answer to that question goes back to, or should go back to, what the organisation is trying to measure on the web and how it interprets what every engagement or audience development editor is trying to find a definition for: a story’s impact.

    Back in November, NPR received a $35,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to develop an analytics bot that would help the visuals team take better action informed by what they measured about their work, but also rethink their goals and definition of success.

    “We’d been playing around with alternative metrics for longer than one and a half years and this idea came out of our questioning of what our mission is, why have a visuals team at a radio organisation?”, said Brian Boyer, editor of NPR’s visuals team.

    Read more.

    ...

  • Media multitasking

    As news organizations work to enhance their digital presence, they are experimenting with ways to improve their audience experience. As technology evolves, readers, viewers and listeners are demanding more than straight facts from a single source of information. With this in mind, journalists are incorporating multiple media platforms into their work to offer audiences more information and context. For example, FRONTLINE creates investigative documentaries that appear on TV. As viewers watch a documentary, they can use their laptops to access additional information on the subject on FRONTLINE’s website. Meanwhile, audience members also can use their mobile phones to interact with FRONTLINE via social media while they view the program. News consumers are increasingly adept at using two or more media platforms simultaneously to explore the topic of a single news story.

    As digital technology has become more common, so has this “media multitasking.” As academic scholars study the trend, their findings inevitably will be helpful to newsroom leaders in developing strategies for advertising and audience engagement.

    Read more.

    ...

  • New favorite bookshop?

    Book lovers who find themselves easily distracted may welcome the brutal approach by a new bookstore in London. In a bold move, Libreria has declared itself a ‘digital detox zone’, banning its customers from using mobile phones and tablets within the shop. The ban is part of an endeavour by the store to immerse the visitor in the visceral joys of reading and the pleasure of physical books, as well as to reawaken the art of real-life conversation, debates and talks, a sense of conviviality and a taste of the unexpected.

    Visitors to the shop may take photos, but if they’re spotted texting, browsing the internet, posting or communicating with anyone outside the shop’s four walls, they are politely requested to stop. “The rule isn’t enforced in a draconian way, but we do want to create a welcoming space away from digital overload,” Libreria’s Paddy Butler tells BBC Culture. “If you’re doing business on your computer all day, then being in a space full of traditional books allows you to escape, browse, talk about books, and discuss ideas. We all need a break from digital distraction and noise – it’s not good to be plugged in all the time.” So how have customers reacted to the ban of their beloved phones so far? According to Butler, positively: “They mostly say ‘Thank you’.”

    Read more.

    ...

  • Best Online Journalism & Storytelling 2015

    Every year storytelling and journalism on the web gets better. For the past three years I have rounded up the most compelling examples of reporting online (here is 2014, 2013, and 2012). This year I had the good fortune to collaborate with Luis Gomez on this project.

    This is a labor of love. Our hope is that by shining a spotlight on this important work, we can help you discover things you might have missed and that you’ll share them and support the journalists who made them possible.

    Read more.

    ...

  • Ethical dilemmas in images of tragedies

    If you looked across social media as news of the Brussels attacks unfolded, you would have seen that within minutes of the first reports of explosions at Zaventem airport, people were lashing out. At commentators for using the attack to make a political point. At Twitter for suspending the account of a Belgian expert on terrorism by accident. At a man who tweeted that he’d “confronted” a Muslim woman about the attacks. And plenty of the lashing out was at journalists, especially those contacting members of the public to see if images they had posted of the attack were available for re-use.

    Read more.

    ...

  • A New Perspective on Storytelling

    What is it like to experience a story in VR?

    One leading content creator described VR as “hacking your brain” to make you believe you are someplace that you are not. The illusion of being in that place, known as “presence,” can be all the more convincing when the virtual world responds to your eye or hand movements or commands from a game controller.

    Virtual reality is hardly a new technology. It’s been with us since 1985, when former Atari programmer Jaron Lanier experimented with some of the first VR headsets. There have been several failed attempts to commercialize VR, most famously Nintendo’s Virtual Boy in 1994, which is best known for making people feel motion sickness after playing Mario Tennis for a few minutes.

    Read more.

    ...

  • NY Public Library Digital Collection

    This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

    Visit website.

    ...

  • ‘Belgravia’ Treads New Digital Ground

    There are few literary mediums that Julian Fellowes has not dabbled in.

    Mr. Fellowes, the creator of the hit historical British melodrama “Downton Abbey,” has worked on screenplays, stage plays, novels and a children’s book. He wrote the book for “School of Rock,” a raucous new Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted from the 2003 Richard Linklater movie, and he is working on his new NBC series “The Gilded Age,” set in New York in late 19th century.

    Now, for his next project, “Belgravia,” Mr. Fellowes is marrying an old narrative form – the serialized novel, in the tradition of Charles Dickens’s “The Pickwick Papers” – with the latest digital delivery system: an app.

    Read more.

    ...

  • Journo crowdfunding campaigns

    In the past, we’ve called them The Big 3.

    They hold the distinction of being, as far as we can discern, the only crowdfunding campaigns to raise more than a million euros in seed money for news startups in the history of journalism.

    Editors of the Dutch, German and Spanish news startups spoke within a couple days of each other this spring to talk about what worked and led their campaigns to such a potent reaction.

    For obvious reasons, we wrote about each of them. Here are some of the things all three crowdfunding campaigns had in common.

    Read more.

    ...

  • Hotz taking on Google & Tesla by Himself

    A few days before Thanksgiving, George Hotz, a 26-year-old hacker, invites me to his house in San Francisco to check out a project he’s been working on. He says it’s a self-driving car that he had built in about a month. The claim seems absurd. But when I turn up that morning, in his garage there’s a white 2016 Acura ILX outfitted with a laser-based radar (lidar) system on the roof and a camera mounted near the rearview mirror. A tangle of electronics is attached to a wooden board where the glove compartment used to be, a joystick protrudes where you’d usually find a gearshift, and a 21.5-inch screen is attached to the center of the dash. “Tesla only has a 17-inch screen,” Hotz says.

    He’s been keeping the project to himself and is dying to show it off. We pace around the car going over the technology. Hotz fires up the vehicle’s computer, which runs a version of the Linux operating system, and strings of numbers fill the screen. When he turns the wheel or puts the blinker on, a few numbers change, demonstrating that he’s tapped into the Acura’s internal controls.

    Read more.

    ...

  • Six Companies and One Worker: Herself

    One afternoon in early 2014, an employee of the Manhattan co-working space Coworkrs got behind the handlebars of a large tricycle and began pedaling it through the Flatiron district. The tricycle was outfitted with a small desk; the employee seemed to be sitting at her desk while cycling around the city.

    A company called Peddler Pop-Ups had designed the display and rented out the tricycle for use as a rolling advertisement. (The tricycles can also be used as pop-up stores.) Peddler Pop-Ups is one of six companies founded and operated by a 27-year-old entrepreneur named Danielle Baskin. She does not have any employees, and until this month, Ms. Baskin’s businesses had their headquarters in a 160-square-foot live-work space in the East Village.

    Read more. 

    ...

  • ‘Less transaction, more relation’

    “My origin story is a tale of constant change. The most recent transition, from running the multimedia desk at the New York Times to chairing the University of Oregon’s Agora Journalism Center, is filled with many life lessons. I often describe this transformation as one of perspective: focusing less on how audiences interact with content on the screen but more about how, because of stories, we engage with each other as a community. Less transaction, more relation; less on audience, more on community.”

    Read more.

     

    ...

  • The Shape of Things to Come

    In recent months, Sir Jonathan Ive, the forty-seven-year-old senior vice-president of design at Apple—who used to play rugby in secondary school, and still has a bench-pressing bulk that he carries a little sheepishly, as if it belonged to someone else—has described himself as both “deeply, deeply tired” and “always anxious.” When he sits down, on an aluminum stool in Apple’s design studio, or in the cream leather back seat of his Bentley Mulsanne, a car for a head of state, he is likely to emit a soft, half-ironic groan. His manner suggests the burden of being fully appreciated. There were times, during the past two decades, when he considered leaving Apple, but he stayed, becoming an intimate friend of Steve Jobs and establishing the build and the finish of the iMac, the MacBook, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. He is now one of the two most powerful people in the world’s most valuable company. He sometimes listens to CNBC Radio on his hour-long commute from San Francisco to Apple’s offices, in Silicon Valley, but he’s uncomfortable knowing that a hundred thousand Apple employees rely on his decision-making—his taste—and that a sudden announcement of his retirement would ambush Apple shareholders. (To take a number: a ten-percent drop in Apple’s valuation represents seventy-one billion dollars.) According to Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’s widow, who is close to Ive and his family, “Jony’s an artist with an artist’s temperament, and he’d be the first to tell you artists aren’t supposed to be responsible for this kind of thing.”

    Read more.

    ...

  • Why is digital Arabic content key?

    “Arguably, vernacular is one of the reasons that mobile phones have spread so fast: the main applications (voice and text messages) are offered in the language that is most relevant to their users. Over 60% of Arabic speakers prefer browsing internet content in Arabic according to Arab Media Outlook 2009-2013. More than half of them do not speak English. For the extreme poor and the bottom 40% of the population that the World Bank seeks to help, access to online knowledge and services in a native language is likely to matter even more.

    The prospects for stronger digital Arabic content are exciting. Consider these last few numbers: only a quarter of women in the Arab world participate in the formal workforce. New forms of work such as online contracting and microwork could offer a chance to bypass physical barriers or social restrictions and empower women.”

    Read the article.

    ...

  • Digital Journalism: The Next Generation

    “Overall, BuzzFeed’s practice of journalism seems nowhere near as pioneering as the sleek platform it has developed to deliver its product.

    Could that change? BuzzFeed recently hired Hussein Kesvani, a reporter in London, to cover life among young Muslims in Britain. The site is also considering starting a beat on the status of women in India. If BuzzFeed were to head further in this direction, it could blaze a new path. So much of today’s reporting is given over to war, terrorism, geopolitical rivalry, and high-level diplomacy. BuzzFeed could pioneer a more grassroots approach, chronicling how ordinary people live, giving a voice to overlooked populations, capturing the daily struggle of citizens as they contend with poverty and prejudice, bureaucratic obstruction and government indifference. Coverage of this sort would, I think, resonate far more strongly with BuzzFeed’s young audience than its current reporting does. Undertaking it, though, would require a radical rethinking of how to use digital technology to cover the world. One way or another,BuzzFeed needs to become bolder and brasher. Otherwise, it will remain known mainly for its cat photos.”

    Read article.

    ...

  • Digital storytelling is the next step

    How are digital tools changing the way journalists tell their stories? An article in the Medium gives an overview of the next steps in digital transformation in journalism.

    “Instead, journalists have to be open to constant change in storytelling and look for new ways to tell their stories at least as intensely as they look for new stories to tell.”

    Read more.

     

    ...

  • Why NYTimes apps look different

    “The battle will be won on the smartphone,” New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said at a tech conference last February.

    The paper’s readers have increasingly been coming from mobile in recent years, and the Times has responded with a fleet of apps designed to draw in small, niche audiences to the paper. The NYT Cooking app, an opinion app, and NYT Now, which offers a single curated news feed, were designed mostly as evangelical products—to convert browsers into regular readers and eventually subscribers.

    But these niche apps haven’t attracted the number of subscribers the Times was hoping for. The paper shuttered the opinion app in October, and last week it announced a retooling of its mobile apps. The NYT Now app, which had required a paid monthly subscription, will be free, while the paper’s comprehensive iPhone app is undergoing a transition to make it “more visual, more serendipitous, and to introduce a new mobile voice.” That new mobile voice will come from human editors, which the app is getting for the first time.

    Read more

    ...

  • The value of news

    This essay is adapted from Tales from the Great Disruption: Insights and Lessons from Journalism’s Technological Transformation, by Michael Shapiro, Anna Hiatt, and Mike Hoyt. The book offers a look at how new and old journalistic institutions are dealing with the digital revolution, published by The Big Roundtable, a platform for nonfiction narrative stories. Shapiro, Hiatt, and Hoyt are, respectively, its founder, publisher, and editor.

    In March of 2011, The New York Times announced that it would start charging readers for digital content. The announcement came from the publisher of the Times, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., who wrote that the shift away from offering all the Times’ online content at no cost was “an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times.”

    The decision to erect a paywall had come after long and sometimes difficult debate, one that was taking place in news organizations around the world. There were, of course, the business considerations: Charging for access meant an inevitable drop in traffic. And with that drop would come a loss in interest by advertisers, who had become accustomed to being able to reach tens of millions of potential customers at a fraction of the cost of a print ad. But beyond the debate about the potentially catastrophic loss of digital ad dollars, something else was at play: an existential debate about journalism’s future.

    Read more

    ...

  • Infographic: Ideal Length of Posts Online

    Brands generally understand the most engaging lengths for billboard headlines, print copy and TV spots. But what about tweets, Facebook posts and online videos?

    The infographic below crunches some data to suggest the ideal length of everything online. Rules are made to be broken, of course, and this isn’t to say other lengths can’t work. A lot depends on the type of content, and audience.

    But it’s a decent primer on how not drone on too long with your content.

    Read more

    ...

  • Editorial teams to enhance digital output

    The Guardian is reorganising parts of its newsroom to better serve its digital audience.

    Visual journalism, data journalism and audience development teams will all be restructured after new executive editor for digital, Aron Pilhofer, spent the summer visiting other media organisations for inspiration.

    “I had a unique opportunity to spend time looking at different models and seeing how other newsrooms and native digital startups are doing this,” Pilhofer, who joined the Guardian’s UK office in September, told Journalism.co.uk.

    Read more

    ...

  • Media reaping profits from Internet: study

    The Internet is no longer draining profits from media and entertainment companies, which have learned to make online services pay, a new study shows.

    The study by Ernst & Young released Monday found that media and entertainment companies “are continuing to increase their lead as one of the most profitable industries” with profit margins of around 28 percent.

    Read more

    ...

  • HuffPost to launch Arabic edition

    The Huffington Post has entered a partnership with a former director general of al-Jazeera Network to launch an Arabic-language edition aimed at the growing number of young people in the Middle East with mobile devices.

    The AOL-owned company will launch HuffPost Arabi after teaming up with Wadah Khanfar, who is currently chief executive of Integral Media Strategies.

    Read more

    ...

  • Knight News to Award Internet Innovators

    BOSTON – June 23, 2014 – Nineteen projects that strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation will receive $3.4 million as winners of the Knight News Challenge. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation made the announcement at the 2014 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference at the MIT Media Lab.

    The winners provide a mix of solutions to promote an open Internet that is free and accessible to all. They address issues from privacy and censorship, to expanding the diversity of the tech workforce, to improving digital access and connecting communities with online content in easier, more useful ways. Three of the projects support the work of libraries as essential resources for community information access. Nine of the winners will receive investments of $200,000 to $500,000 each, while 10 early-stage ideas will receive $35,000 each through the Knight Prototype Fund, which helps innovators take media and information projects from idea to demo.

    Read more

    ...