WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Wed - 20.08.2014


Web 2.0

The micro-blogging site Twitter announced yesterday that it had blocked the account of a neo-Nazi group accused by German authorities of inciting hatred towards foreigners. In a landmark case, unprecedented in pitting concerns over censorship and free speech against national laws on the incitement to racial hatred, the company said it had complied with a request by German police who have been monitoring the activities of the banned far-right group ‘Besseres Hannover’ (‘Better Hannover’) for some time. In a tweet posted on the website, Twitter’s chief lawyer Alex Macgillivray stated:

‘We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan. We're using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany.’

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-10-19 18:02

The suspension of New York Times columnist Andrew Goldman after posting offensive comments on Twitter has once again focused debate on the practicality or otherwise of social media ‘codes of conduct’ for journalists. Goldman, a freelance writer who regularly contributes the ‘Talk’ feature of the NYT magazine, found himself in hot water after he responded intemperately to criticism of his line of questioning to the Hollywood actress Tippi Hedren in a previous article. The subsequent altercation on the micro-blogging site with novelist Jennifer Weiner and others did not, to echo the Emperor of Japan in 1945, necessarily develop to his advantage.

Ironically, the initial question posed to Hedren – whether she had ever considered sleeping with a director in order to advance her career – might be reasonably defended as cheeky yet not entirely inappropriate, particularly since she was famed for having rebuffed the lecherous advances of Alfred Hitchcock, to the considerable detriment of her career.  His tweeted response, however, proved to be what some are already calling the ‘Tippi point’ vis a vis giving him the benefit of the doubt:

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-10-18 15:15

Matt Boggie, Director Technology Strategy, R&D Operations at The New York Times gave us a tour of their labs on the top floor of their 8th Avenue headquarters. He brought up the day's news in the bathroom mirror by waving his hand, showed us their latest apps for Microsoft Surface, and gave us 3D glasses to watch baseball animations from the NYT graphics department. "Ambient computing will be much more important over the next few years", he told us.

But although the gadgets were great - it was clear the real buzz is social media optimisation. An organisation the size of the Times needs to keep track of over 300 Twitter accounts alone, and this means developing a sophisticated toolset to manage this. The highly visual tool Cascade, for example, helps them see stories spread via Twitter over time, plotting activity lines on a 24hr circle. We could see how a tweet about Jerry Seinfeld's comments on one article sent 29,000 readers back to the site.

Now that columnists are involved in driving their own traffic, they need to know when and how to tweet. Many will tweet the same link to a story 2-3 times in a day. But they need to tweet the right content at the right time, and this is where tools like SocialFlow are changing the way the NYT (and CNN, Bloomberg, The Guardian and others) communicates.

Author

Nick Tjaardstra's picture

Nick Tjaardstra

Date

2012-10-10 14:57

“News is inherently social,” said Santiago Alonso-Lord, Director of Project Management for Engagement at The New York Times. This is a definite advantage for news organisations as they approach it, he believes. News stories already have social elements: people, locations, issues: social media makes it easier to tap into these.

The New York Times doesn’t have a written social media policy for its 500+ journalists who use social networks: the essential principle is use common sense. Alonso-Lord said that as journalists spend more and more time monitoring and updating Twitter and Facebook, there is a risk they will be spending less time on their stories, and this is something to be wary of. He was speaking at the 19th World Editors Forum in Kiev last week.

The relationship between news organisations and social networks is mix of cooperation and competition, or ‘coopetition,’ Alonso-Lord said. “Social networks benefit from our content and we benefit from exposure,” he explained, “but there is some competition for advertisers.

Social media provides new platforms for story-telling, such as the Facebook Timeline. “We tried to juxtapose the news event with how it was told in our newsroom,” Alonso-Lord specified, pointing to the sinking of the Titanic as an example. The Timeline shows both a picture of the NYT front page with the breaking story, and a picture of within the newsroom at the time.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-09-14 17:05

“Yuko had forbidden her to watch TV or get on the Internet, but Kathy couldn’t resist. She searched for her husband’s name. She searched for their address, their company. She searched for any sign that her husband had been found. She found nothing about him, but found other, terrible things. All over the web she found news of the violence and evidence of its overstatement. One page would report hundreds of murders, crocodiles in the water, gangs of men rampaging. Another page would report that no babies had been raped. That there had been no murders in the Superdome, no deaths in the Convention Center. There was no end to the fear and confusion, the racist assumptions and rumor-mongering.”

Dave Eggers’ bestselling book Zeitoun, from which the above excerpt is taken, recounts the true story of a man’s experience paddling through the submerged city of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. His family endured torture from Bâton Rouge, Phoenix, Spain and Syria as they were bombarded with images from the media’s apocalyptic portrayal of the storm, and yet the practical information they would have needed in order to help him was out of reach.

In times of emergency, quick access to accurate information can be a life or death matter. During a storm like Hurriane Katrina in 2005, or Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall in the U.S. Gulf Coast last week, sources of information such as newspapers, websites, and broadcasters play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of those affected.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-09-03 14:35

“Hey everybody - this is barack,” wrote Reddit user Barack Obama, President of the United States on the popular link-sharing community yesterday, casually launching an “I am a…/Ask Me Anything” thread that gave Reddit’s servers a run for their money, and sparked further contemplation of the idea that crowdsourced interviews will soon render journalists obsolete.

On a campaign stop in Reddit’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, as part of a “swing-state tour of college campuses,” President Obama (screenname: PresidentObama) logged onto the site just before 4:30 pm local time, proved his identity with a tweet and a photo (above), and then spent an hour fielding unfiltered questions from the notoriously rowdy Reddit community.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-08-30 18:33

This U.S. presidential election season, The Washington Post, NPR and the Sunlight Foundation are inviting developers to delve into their APIs* and show off some of the wild things they can do with data during a weekend-long Election Hackathon.

The challenge is open to any developer who lives in the United States and will be in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. from October 6-7, 2012. Participants are expected to build unique web or mobile applications that illuminate aspects of the presidential race using data from The Washington Post’s newly available APIs, as well as those of NPR, the Sunlight Foundation (a transparency non-profit) and any other sources they can find.

The free hackathon will apparently include six meals and 26 hours of frenzied app building, which can be undertaken either solitarily or in a team of up to five people. Programmers are welcome to explore the APIs in advance, but cannot start on their apps until after registration and bagels on Saturday morning. 

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-08-29 14:48

“Ignore the ‘Twindex’ at your peril,” warned Chris Cillizza yesterday on The Fix, a Washington Post blog.

The which?

Twindex (n.) is a catchy abbreviation for the Twitter Political Index, a joint endeavour by the identity-shifting microblogger, data analysis company Topsy and pollsters Mellman Group (Democrat-leaning) and NorthStar Opinion Research (Republican-tilting) to take the political pulse of the United States of America by indexing the 400 million 140-character statements pronounced each day – by sentiment.

That is, Topsy sifts through this onslaught of daily tweets from around the world to establish a neutral baseline of positive and negative sentiment. It then sifts through them to find all of the tweets that express opinions about President Barack Obama and soon-to-be-anointed Republican rival Mitt Romney, runs a “sentiment analysis” on them, and weighs them based on how enthusiastic or disparaging they are compared to the baseline. It looks at the last three days of tweets, weighting the more recent ones higher.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-08-02 14:06

As the wind picks up for Google Authorship's page rank implications, the oft-daunting waters of search engine optimization (SEO) seem poised to get a dash less foreboding for digital journalists.

Launched along with Google+ last summer, Google Authorship makes it possible for "content creators" to 1) verify the authorship of their content, and 2) build two-way connections between the original work they produce on the web and their Google+ profiles.

Part of the initial idea was to stop web pirates who scrape original content from other people’s pages and drop it onto their own from hoisting themselves above those whose work they have pillaged in Google’s search results. It also helped to lure media people to Google+ with the promise of richer, better-looking search result snippets (SERPs) with click through rate-enhancing potential. These include a thumbnail profile photo and links, like so:

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-07-31 17:40

Did someone known as BitchslappedByLogic do a better job than the mainstream media of covering a Toronto shooting that left 2 dead and 24 wounded after a street party turned violent on Monday night?

Below is an excerpt from BitchslappedByLogic's post about the shooting on Reddit, a social news website founded in 2005. It is a bluntly articulated jigsaw puzzle of linked tweets (or screenshots of tweets in cases where the original posts have been removed) that pieces together the night's violent events, and their potential ramifications in the community.

Below that is an excerpt from coverage of the shooting by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) - Canada's national public television and radio broadcaster, created in 1936.

Let us compare.

______

Reddit

Random portraits of the situation gleaned from twitter.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-07-18 11:58

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The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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