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3 Takeaways From the Knight News Challenge ‘Lessons Learned’ Report

KNClessonslearnedreportThe Knight News Challenge released a report this week on “Lessons Learned,” from past projects. The report, completed in a collaboration with Arabella Advisors, uses survey and interview data with 2010-2011 winners and is a great resource for anyone looking to submit a proposal for the next challenge — or anyone thinking of starting a news focused project in their newsroom.

Some takeaways:

1) Figure out what kind of manpower you need. You can mix full time staff with volunteers, but you definitely need a dedicated, paid, group of people to be focused on the project all of the time. Passion is always a plus. We all have a passion for journalism and innovation, so much so, that it’s kind of a boring trait to have. But nothing gets people motivated like being compensated fairly for their time. Think about this in the newsroom: you want more interactive data visualizations. You can’t just ask someone to do it in their free time if you’re serious about increasing the use of them on your site. You need to give someone more money to launch that project or hire another team member.

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Mediabistro Course

Travel Writing

Travel WritingStarting September 23, learn how to turn your travel stories into published essays and articles! Taught by a former Vanity Fair staff writer, James Sturz will teach you how to report, interview, and find sources, discover story ideas and pitch them successfully, and understand what travel editors look for in a story. Register now!

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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Pew Study: Statehouse News Coverage Dropping, Shifting

pew post picWhile the overall number of print reporters continues to decline—along with newspapers in general—the numbers of print reporters assigned to State Capitals full-time has seen a precipitous drop in the last decade, according to a recent Pew Research Center Study. Read more

Source Sleuth Looks to Connect Journalists, Bloggers with Quality Sources

source sleuthGood story sources aren’t always easy to come by, as most journalists can attest. And, the stress of deadline pressure can make finding those sources an even more daunting task.

But, while there are several free services out there to help, there are few that take the time to vet those same sources.

Enter Chicago-based Source Sleuth, a free service that seeks to connect journalists, bloggers and other writers with “quality sources.” Read more

Why Are Journalists Publishing Before Checking Facts?

INGreport2A new survey from Dutch company ING found that 45 percent of international journalists “publish as soon as possible and correct later,” while only 20 percent always do their due diligence before publishing.

Additionally, the 2014 Study Impact of Social Media on News report, created for PR professionals and journalists, reported that one-third of journalists don’t consider social media posts a reliable source of information. Still, 50 percent said the majority of their news tips and facts come from social.

But journalists don’t seem to mind questions of accuracy too much, since 60 percent said they feel less restricted by journalistic standards in their social media reporting. Twenty-two percent reported that they treat social media posts the same way as traditional methods when it comes to journalism ethics.

Finally, PR professionals, who once worked quite closely with journalists in setting up interviews and providing timely, accurate news items, say reporters aren’t as quick to get in touch with them. The assumption for this is that journalists are relying more frequently on social media info, despite their low levels of trust with the medium.

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