Trust, alternative facts, fake news. Words that are dominating discussions around news and media at the moment. Fake news sites are popping up daily and it's becoming important for readers to be able to distinguish between what's true and what's not. For news organisations the challenge is to be seen as a trustworthy source. Which makes this recent study by the Media Insight Project extremely topical. The obvious points are there (accuracy, most recent news etc) but there's also a raft of other factors (design, advertising etc) that also go a long way to marking a news operation as trustworthy.
Increasingly publishers are starting to look at that oft-neglected part of their publishing infrastructure, the content management system (CMS), as a key component in building financial stability. The Dallas MorningNews has announced its new Serif CMS, the Washington Post says its CMS, ARC, played a large role in its success, and social news operations are reporting huge successes on the back of customised CMSes.
For its 25,000 subscribers Ann Friedman's weekly email newsletter is quirky, personal and essential reading. Friedman started the newsletter in 2013 and since then has grown her free subscriber base to over 25,000 and is now slowly increasing her paid-for subscriber base. As part of their series on curated newsletters, RJI spoke to Friedman about her strategy.
The younger generation is increasingly using voice commands to interact with their devices - a recent study found 25% of 16 to 24-year-olds had used search in the preceding month. Although the news industry largely hasn't yet bothered with voice interaction, if this trend continues, and there's nothing to suggest it won't, this could open up a whole new way for publishers to provide information to readers.
Chartbeat has released its 2016 edition of most engaging stories of 2016 and the winner is Nate Silver's coverage of the US presidential elections. Although the Chartbeat list only covers clients of Chartbeat, it still offers an interesting insight into what readers are consuming. The second most popular article in 2016 was the BBC's Brexit blog. The summary is here, and the full list is here.
In its Project 2020 report released last week the New York Times placed a large focus on revamping feature sections. Here’s one example of what that might look like: A new interactive series that honours the paper’s 165 years of wedding announcements.
In the short time since Amazon founder Jeff Bizos bought the Washington Post, the paper has not only increased its reach and impact but has also seemingly managed to buck the industry trend and hire, not fire, journalists. James Breiner looks at some of the things that Bizos has done to turn the Washington Post around.
Although some publishers are still pushing huge volumes of content in pursuit of high traffic numbers (check the Daily Mail's eye-watering numbers, for example) many more are scaling back on the volume in favour of high-quality niches. “The industry’s kind of in a retreat,” says Josh Topolsky, the founder of The Outline. “People are numb to the volume right now."
If you don't use APIs in 2017 your media business will die, says Trushar Barot, mobile editor for BBC World Service. Application programming interfaces (APIs) will enable media organisations to become platforms as opposed to single direction news publishers, says Barot. They will also allow publishers to increase their ability to reach readers on the platforms they are on.
Here at the Media Hack Collective this week we discovered this fantastic new Python package called OSMnx that makes it simple (if you know basic coding) to retrieve boundary and street data from OpenStreetMap. Check out some of the things we did with it here. For example: these 1-square-mile maps of towns and cities in South Africa show how street design can be a lot like art.