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Grading the Media on Ferguson Coverage

Now that the Ferguson protests are slowly beginning to wind down, it’s likely a good time to assess how the media handled the coverage of the recent unrest, triggered by the police shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown.

From the coverage I’ve seen myself, I would have to grade the media a C to C-, mainly for coverage that I thought was uneven, at best, with some national reporters even crossing journalistic lines to become advocates, rather than unbiased, objective third-parties. Read more

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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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Does Your Newsroom Throwback on Thursday?

hashtagIn the name of clicks, and appearing to be social media savvy, news organizations have hopped on the #tbt train. For those that live under a rock, #tbt is the hashtag used for “Throwback Thursday,” an excuse to post your prom picture on Instagram, or tweet a link to an old blog post you’re especially proud of.

News organizations have started their own throwback features as an excuse for mid-morning Thursday content. When done well, it works as a good way to get people to dig through your archives or remind people of your authority, as in, “we’ve always covered politics, here’s a piece from 1943 to remind you of our expertise.” Read more

Which Pubs Perform the Best on Social Media?

Shareablee_co_smallAs the media landscape evolves, we’re learning that publishers have much more to concentrate on than just putting out good editorial content and having a nice website. Today’s media organizations must put strong focus on having a powerful social media presence, as Sharablee, a social engagement analysis company, has found.

Last week, Shareablee compiled its first list ranking which digital and print publishing arms have the best handle on social media. The monthly list is intended to be helpful to advertisers looking to get the very best when it comes to choosing where to allocate their dollars and publisher audience engagement.

The Shareablee Audience Engagement Ranking of Publishers is calculated based on various publishers’ progress in growing readerships on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Here is a more in-depth explanation of what defines “engagement,” according to a press release from Sharablee:

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Is Grasswire, a “Real-Time Newsroom,” a Better Version of Reddit?

GrasswireIt’s no secret that the Internet is often a hotbed of misinformation in the wake of a breaking news event, particularly during horrible disasters involving multiple deaths, such as the Sandy Hook shootings. And social media is often a conduit for the rapid spread of fake facts and those terribly convincing photos that circulate around seemingly without end.

But a new service called Grasswire plans to be a “real-time newsroom curated and fact checked by everyone.” Covered by PandoDaily’s David Holmes recently, the Android app and website seeks to rectify all the wrongs people (including journalists) have Twitter have committed in spreading non fact-checked information on social media by ensuring it doesn’t keep happening. The platform is reminiscent of Reddit, Holmes notes — only Grasswire’s verification process is a bit more in-depth.

“…Instead of simply upvoting or downvoting, users can click “confirm” or “refute.” The confirmations and refutations stick with each post so that when the link is shared to social media, whatever factchecking is in place goes along with it. That way, even if a Grasswire link to a false claim is tweeted out or posted to Facebook, once its been refuted all subsequent retweets and posts will surface that factcheck,” Holmes explained.

Honestly, I think Grasswire’s idea is a huge step in the right direction. As more social media outlets surface, and user bases rise, citizen journalism is becoming more mainstream. On the one hand, it’s great. An engaged citizenry that reads and shares the news and seeks to inform their followers of what’s going on in their towns, states, country, the world?

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