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Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Jane Pratt to Magazine Editors: Kill the ‘Magazine Speak’

Jane PrattAfter founding Sassy and Jane, Jane Pratt launched in 2011 so she could speak frankly to female audiences, a voice that she says was sorely missing from print pubs.

“It still amazes me that a lot of women’s magazines in particular will use this magazine speak, this terminology.” Pratt told Mediabistro in the latest installment of So What Do You Do?. “Like, instead of saying ‘your hair,’ they’ll say ‘your mane’ or ‘your tresses.’ And I always feel like if someone says ‘your lackluster tresses’ instead of ‘your dirty hair,’ you feel like they’re not telling you the whole truth. I feel like that makes you as a reader say, ‘Well, if they’re lying to me about that, what else are they lying to me about?’

For more, read So What Do You Do, Jane Pratt, Editor-in-Chief of

Nicholas Braun

WaPo Launches ‘Truth-Teller’ to Fact-Check in Real Time

Ever hot on the heels of politicians, straightening the fact from the fiction, the Washington Post has decided to take their methods to real-time reporting with their new system, Truth Teller. Funded by a prototype grant from the Knight News Challenge, Truth Teller is a mobile and desktop app that will be able to record, transcribe and show disputed facts and statistics in real time for everyone. Although still in its nascent stages, the end result would be an app that simultaneously transcribes speeches obtained via video (or, ideally, a live feed), recognizes citations of data or popular keywords, and matches them with fact-checked information from the WaPo staff. It’s not only the cutting edge of fact-checking journalism — it has the capacity to change the way people consume their political media. Read more

Trial and Error in Sponsored Content

The story circling the web today about The Atlantic’s native advertisement for Scientology raises all sorts of questions for digital newsrooms. And there are no easy answers.

In case you missed it: yesterday around lunchtime, an ad package, labeled as sponsored content, went live on The Atlantic’s website. The native advertisement was for the Church of Scientology, under the headline “David Miscavige Leads Scientology to Milestone Year.” 

If it weren’t for the comment section, the package might have gone unnoticed. But reporters and readers started to notice that the commenters weren’t clear about the nature of the content. The comments, from pro-Scientology to the deeply skeptical, and The Atlantic’s moderation of the comments, raised eyebrows from the Washington Post to Gawker. It was shared on Twitter and social media as editorial content from the news magazine. At the eleven hour mark yesterday night, The Atlantic pulled the package and a message to readers about how the organization is reviewing subsequent sponsored content and policies surrounding it is up in its place.  Read more

Tweeting a Tragedy: 5 Things to Remember When News Breaks

When news breaks, Twitter goes on overdrive.

When news broke about the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last month, those on Twitter were some of the first to hear about death counts and momentum in the investigation. We all know Twitter is one of the best tools for engaging with a story, but as the news unfolded, so did the corrections. It’s a good time to reflect on some best practices for reporting on Twitter. As we come upon the one month anniversary mark for Sandy Hook and deal with new tragedies this week like the hostage situtation at a Los Angeles mall to a ferry accident in the East River, here are five things to keep in mind when big news breaks.

1. Facebook Is Not Your Friend

Most corrections resulted from faulty Facebook searches for the alleged shooter. Even as law enforcement insisted they had yet to confirm the identity of the shooter, news organizations like The Huffington Post, Gawker, Buzzfeed and even cable news organizations began posting pictures of Ryan Lanza. And they were all wrong.

Facebook has never been championed for its search capabilities. Despite the fact that Facebook’s speciality is connecting, it’s often easier to Google someone for their Facebook profile than it is to use the social network’s search bar. Even a simple search for your best friend’s rather particular name can turn up over three pages of results. You’re a reporter, not Sherlock Holmes. Use Facebook for clues, but don’t bet on the fact there is only one name per city when news breaks.

2. Read Your Retweets

We’ve written about the dangers of relying on retweets as a journalism strategy. But the fact that a lot of users are retweeting without clicking through doesn’t mean you should, too. News is breaking but take the time to read the articles before you click. Most times, the wrong information passes quicker than the correction. Retweet responsibly.

Read more Makes Infographics Easy and Beautiful

There’s no doubt that one of the biggest storytelling forms to emerge within the last few years — especially online — is the infographic. Everywhere you turn, outlets are taking advantage of the highly visual, very sharable medium to give readers easily digestible pieces of data. And, from high tech studies to psychology research, it’s obvious that infographics not only enhance data content for readers but also show no signs of slowing down.

But it’s not as easy to create a high-impact infographic as it looks, even when your research is so interesting it can speak for itself. And, if you’re on a budget or with limited resources, it can cost a pretty penny to get competent work that can cut through the noise and go viral. Read more