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Posts Tagged ‘demographics’

Instagram, Like Other Social Media, a ‘Police Scanner’ for a Demographic

Instagrammed screenshot of a picture of SnapRecognizing a new tool at The Boston Globe is a gateway to worthwhile discussion on social media strategy: not everyone likes, has access to or uses the same digital thing. And that’s great for journalism.

Journalism.co.uk has a nice read on the wall-o-local-Instagram pics that the Globe is test-driving in its newsroom. Appropriately named “Snap,” the project is a result of a partnership with the MIT Media Lab, and it displays every local Instagram image on a big map of the area. Neat on its own (i.e., worthy of an Instagrammed pic of its own), and notably, it’s also being used for helping find sources for local stories.

There’s definite newsroom utility to display social media data like this on a map. You naturally are exposed to events, with pictorial evidence, that you may not have otherwise paid attention towards. And you can can pinpoint where that action is happening. That’s practical on a day-to-day basis, and particularly helpful during event like Hurricane Sandy, where much is going on and you’re looking to move your reporting fast. It’s clearly a useful tool (and if it isn’t yet clear, I’d certainty love to play with it.)

What I think is worth noting beyond the obvious ingenuity, however, was the main story that according to the article Chris Marstall, creative technologist at the Boston Globe, actually produced during Hurricane Sandy. After spending “about eight hours staring at Snap” during the storm, this piece says that Marstall didn’t know what story to pick up and write. “Eventually I figured out that the interesting story to tell was that everybody was staying home and getting drunk in their apartments, doing a lot of day drinking,” he said.

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5 Stats on Who Makes “The Twitter Narrative” (and/or Who’s On and Uses Twitter)

It’s increasingly rare (at least from a digitally entrenched perspective) to imagine a journalist watching a presidential debate without simultaneously watching his or her tweets. This is certainly fine, and in many cases, helpful. But with CJR’s recent piece on “pack journalism” and in light of some recent studies on Twitter makeup and preferences, I figured it’d be good to review a handful of the findings together and what they may mean for journalists.

The larger aim is that a thorough understanding of the Twitter community – placed at least in the back of one’s head – could help one from being heavily influenced by that scary hive-mind (if it’s true), and regardless, put into perspective the general sentiments that may soak in when one repeatedly scans TweetDeck.

Understanding the community in any medium you regularly use, not just Twitter, is a good practice. There is always a filter bubble wherever we engage online—we tend to regularly admit that, and some of us take steps to pop it by whom we follow and what we search for. The recent findings I’ve compiled about Twitter, however, seem of a particular importance, for they shed some light on what may be a wider filter bubble (“filter fish tank”?) of what is increasingly many journalists’ anchor.

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Why is Media Criticism Dominated by White Men?

Yesterday, D.C.-based journalist Shani Hilton wondered in the Washington City Paper: “Where are the women and non-white media critics?” Her quick brainstorm of those who’ve achieved prominence included The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz, NYU’s Jay Rosen, Reuter’s Jack Shafer, and The New York TimesDavid Carr. They all seem to confirm that media criticism is a white-male dominated world.

In it, she quotes Andrew Beaujon, “the new Romensko,” whose theory is that media criticism “is fundamentally an alt-weekly pursuit, and alt-weeklies’ DNA is heavily white and male.” His working theory about the white and male alt-weekly is that “working at such places gives white males such as myself a chance to feel like an underdog for once in our lives.”

Certainly, alt-weeklies are predominately white and male, as is journalism itself—but that fails to take into consideration other venues of media criticism. One may think of The Atlantic’s Megan Garber or FAIR’s Janine Jackson. A commenter pointed out the work of Michele McLellan and Amy Gahran at the Knight Digital Media Center. Nonetheless, is the shortage of women and minorities in media criticism really a cause for wonder? Read more