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Angela Washeck

Angela Washeck is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas. She is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a journalism minor. Angela serves as an Editorial Assistant at PBS MediaShift and is a contributor to Paste Magazine and TexasMonthly.com. She was previously an intern at TV newsmagazine "Dan Rather Reports." Her work has been republished on Editor and Publisher, the American Press Institute and more. When Angela is not busy writing for MediaBistro, you can find her watching “How I Met Your Mother” reruns, watching Aggie football and attending indie/folk concerts in Dallas. Follow her tweets @angelawasheck.

New York Times Steps Up Political News Presence

New-York-Times-Logo1Today the Grey Lady launched a politics-themed email newsletter and micro-site underneath the Times‘ main site called First Draft.

First Draft is a piggyback on Washington-centric blog The Caucus, which hasn’t seen much consistent action. As the Times‘ Carl Hulse told the Huffington Post, the new site will house an ongoing political dialogue, written in a similar voice as the paper’s NYT Now app’s morning and evening briefings. Additionally, First Draft will feature both original scoops (that may be developed into full stories for the newspaper later on) as well as aggregated content.

So far, the blog features pull quotes from political figures, videos and even a curated Instagram photo of Cory Booker. Content runs the gamut, as events dictate coverage, though it is definitely an informal take on a sometimes dry topic. As HuffPo’s Michael Calderone wrote: “The Times plans to update First Draft frequently, with hopes that political news junkies will return throughout the day.”

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Boston Globe Launches Catholic-Themed News Site

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.57.16 PMThe Globe is covering a new beat, and it’s not another Boston sports team. Nieman Lab’s Justin Ellis reported last week that the paper had launched a niche micro-site called “Crux,” focusing only on aspects of the Catholic faith, including lifestyle news and how the Pope and the Church handle political issues. Not only will the Globe Media-owned-and-run site feature Vatican news, it has also been designed to post quizzes and digestible chunks of content made for social sharing, Ellis found in his reporting.

It’s an interesting concept from a publication that has reported aggressively on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and an idea worth noting for newspapers that have long maintained a religion “beat” but never expanded the issues to a separate platform. The Globe‘s experiment begs the question of whether other big newsrooms should follow suit. With religion being just as much a part of many readers’ daily lives as sports, technology and food are, why shouldn’t the topic — or furthermore, a specific denomination — get its own vertical?

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Do You Yo? And Should Your Newsroom Be Yo-ing?

yo-its-that-simpleIt’s getting harder and harder for me to keep up with what the kids are doing these days, but I’ve at least heard about ‘Yo’. If you haven’t heard of it yet, the app is a messaging service that bases its platform around the frequent sending of a two-letter word: “Yo.”

No fancy filtered photos. No emojis. Just one, single greeting (with possibly a link/short hashtagged tack-on, thanks to a recent update). Whenever you want to get someone’s attention, you simply send “Yo,” and ideally, your straightforward message would notify your friend, the receiver, as effectively as a text message or email might. According to the American Journalism Review‘s Cory Blair, the app has seen 2.6 million downloads since April 1 of this year. For whatever reason, people are really into “Yo-ing” eachother.

Reported Blair, the Washington Post‘s audience strategy and social media teams want to experiment with using the Yo app for letting readers know when stories have been published. As if Twitter’s 140-character limit doesn’t present enough of a communication challenge, Yo provides even less space for disseminating information. The idea is to have WaPo readers and social media followers who use the Yo app to follow the newspaper on Yo. Then when they have a story to share, they will send a “Yo” to subscribers, and those folks get a notification on their phone. No need to open up (or pay for) a news app to get instant access to news anymore. Others including NBC Nightly News and the Nieman Lab are doing it, too, Blair wrote. Publishers can choose how and when they want to “Yo” — it could only be for beat-specific stories or at a certain time of day.

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Pew: There’s a ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media

spiral-of-silence-theory-1-728We often think of the Internet as a breeding grounds for idea exchange — a place that lends itself perfectly to sharing viewpoints on topics both trivial and complex. But according to Pew Research Center, there’s something deeper happening in your social media networks that goes against what many of us may perceive.

What they’re calling a “spiral of silence,” Pew found that sites like Facebook and Twitter are often being avoided as outlets of discussion for political and controversial issues such as the Snowden-NSA revelations for fear that followers will disagree with the poster’s views.

Not only do those 1,801 people polled seem to have an aversion to airing out their opinions on social media, but Pew found that “people who thought their social media friends disagreed with them were less likely to discuss the issues in face-to-face gatherings, as well as online forums.” Still, 86 percent of Americans said they would have an in-person talk about the NSA’s mass surveillance program, though only 42 percent of Facebook/Twitter users said they would post about the issue on those platforms.

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How Should Publishers Assign Value to Writers?

SIAmong all the highly complicated questions media companies are grappling with, Time Inc. is still in a seriously unique transitional period. But when Gawker reported that the publisher — more specifically, Sports Illustrated magazine — scores its editorial writers based on how much they benefit the respective magazine’s advertiser relationships, it was a bit hard for me to feel sorry for them.

To be fair, that’s not the only thing they’re applying a numerical value to. “Quality of Writing,” “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness,” “Productivity/Tenacity,” “Audience/Traffic,” “Video,” “Social” and “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work” are all categories that appear on the writers’ scorecards. But “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship” is still there.

Wrote Gawker watchdog reporter Hamilton Nolan:

“(Time Inc. provided this document to the Newspaper Guild, which represents some of their employees, and the union provided it to us.)  These editorial employees were all ranked in this way, with their scores ranging from 2 to 10.”

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