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Digital

News Corp, Columbia, NYU Collaborate on Data-Visualization Tools for Journos

Newscorp-MedialabConsider a new partnership among News Corps and two academic institutions an early Christmas present to journalists who enjoy tinkering with data but may not possess lots of technical knowledge.

A working group consisting of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University and the Integrated Digital Media Program at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, as well as News Corp, promises to build “visual programming tools” designed for journalists who don’t speak hacking languages.

“The idea is to develop a robust tool for the rapid deployment of data-driven storytelling for journalists,” said NYU professor Luke DuBois. “This will be an open source tool that allows journalists to link in a data set, process it using a pipeline of commonly accepted statistical methods, and extract a wide variety of different visualizations that can be easily embedded within a narrative context.” DuBois is overseeing four graduate students who will focus on software development and user experience for this project.

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HuffPost Leads Way on Facebook

Huffington-Post-150x150NewsWhip has announced its first “Whippies,” because everyone needs some sort of “It’s the end of the year so here’s some stuff to look at while you wait for your holiday vacation to start” item. The site’s awards honor the publishers that had the most impact on Facebook and Twitter.

In the news category, HuffPost dominated Facebook:

The Huffington Post’s blogging platform looks to be a key pillar in their success on Facebook in particular. For instance, one of their most-shared stories of the year was titled ‘10 Things Your Mom Never Told You‘, had over 300,000 shares, and was written by a guest blogger, rather than a staff writer. The Huff Po is unique in being able to give content an unrivaled platform on social media, and they set new records for overall monthly engagement on Facebook during 2014.

Huh. An article titled “10 Things Your Mom Never Told You” was one of HuffPost’s best performing articles. That’s uh, really great.

Rounding out the top three publishers on Facebook were BuzzFeed and Fox News.

On Twitter, BBC won the top spot, followed by Mashable and The New York Times.

The Week Closes Comments Section

The Week is shutting down the comments section on its website. Ben Frumin, editor-in-chief of TheWeek.com, explains that when it comes to comments on articles, essentially, a few bad apples often spoil the bunch.

“Too often, the comments sections of news sites are hijacked by a small group of pseudonymous commenters who replace smart, thoughtful dialogue with vitriolic personal insults and rote exchanges of partisan acrimony,” states Frumin.

Even if you don’t find that to be true (it is), it’s hard to argue with Frumin’s second point — that the best place to debate pieces is via social media, not comment sections:

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MSNBC Launches Streaming Video Hub

ShiftMSNBCMSNBC is expanding its online video reach with “Shift.” The digital news hub will feature a slate of original programming plus a loop of MSNBC programs. The new shows will cover a wide variety of topics, from politics to pop culture.

If you want to catch the new shows — which include “Reporters Notebook,” hosted by MSNBC’s Beth Fouhy and “Three Cents,” hosted by the New York Times’ Josh Barro — you’ll have to tune in Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.

Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s president, told Variety that Shift is “a way to innovate, do things differently and find out what works. I don’t want to call it a farm system. It’s a place where we get to experiment, and I guarantee you, stuff is going to pop.”

Below is the full list of Shift’s original programs.

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Vogue.com and Style.com Share Floor at One WTC

Staffers for Vogue.com and Style.com are getting cozy. WWD reports that the teams will share the 29th floor at Condé Nast’s new headquarters, One World Trade Center. We know. This is a bit much. It’s a story only a media reporter could love. Okay, maybe “love” is too strong. This is a story a media reporter could give a hearty handshake.

Initially, the plan was for Vogue’s staff — both digital and print — to occupy the 25th floor. This would’ve been a change for Vogue, which had kept digital and print staff separate at 4 Times Square. But in a dramatic change of events, Vogue.com and Style.com staffers recently learned they would both be taking over the 29th floor.

The change makes sense. In November we learned that Style.com’s brass would be reporting to Vogue’s brass. Style.com’s publisher Matt Rice now reports to Vogue’s publisher Susan Plagemann, and Style.com’s editor Dirk Standen now reports to Vogue’s editor Anna Wintour. Might as well combine the two websites’ teams too.

[Image: Instagram/Condé Nast]

Gawker Makes Leadership Changes

gawkerlogoNick Denton has announced some major changes to the leadership structure at Gawker Media.

Instead of Denton having all the oversight, a collective of seven managing partners (including Denton) “will consult on major matters such as tech investments and the reassignment of department heads,” according to a memo.

The partners include the following:

If you’re in the mood to read Denton’s extremely long note about these changes, it’s below. After you’re finished, maybe try to get out more?

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Bloomberg, Businessweek to Merge Sites and Become ‘Bloomberg Business’

bloomberg media logoMichael Bloomberg is making some big changes to two of his most popular brands. According to The Financial Times (via USA Today), Bloomberg.com and Businessweek.com are going to merge and become one site — Bloomberg Business.

The change is expected to occur next year. As of now, BloombergBusiness.com directs to Bloomberg.com.

Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, told the FT that Bloomberg Business “is going to be our flagship” and ”be the broadest-facing brand, like Businessweek is in magazines.”

Word on the street is that the logo for Bloomberg Business will be a large illustration of Bloomberg’s head with cash stuffed into his ears. We haven’t been able to verify that rumor just yet.

NY Times to Boost Native Ads to Close Mobile Revenue Gap

The New York Times is turning to native advertising in an attempt to close its ever-widening mobile revenue gap. Plenty of readers access the Times on their phones or tablets, but the Times still doesn’t get much revenue from mobile ads. That’s a problem they’re hoping native ads will solve.

According to Ad Age, in the third quarter, just 10 percent of ad revenue for the Times was via mobile ads. Meanwhile, more than 50 percent of traffic was from mobile devices. Mark Thompson, the Times’ CEO, referred to this as a “significant delta” while speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.

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People.com Sets Traffic Record

People and People.com staffers, pop the champagne (or grab a 40, either way). People.com just set a record for visitors in November, with 72 million uniques, according to Omniture.

That number marks a 26 percent increase from the previous record for People.com, set in September.

The main driver of that traffic was People.com’s coverage of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old who chose to end her life. The Maynard piece generated the highest-ever audience of any story on People.com, with more than 16 million unique visitors in one day. Kind of morbid, but hey, it is what it is.

Will Lee, People.com’s editor, was obviously excited about the record-breaking month. He described it as “an incredible achievement.”

This Racket Magazine is Alive and Well

Thanks to the wonderful whirl of Twitter, we received this rapid response Tuesday to an item about the retreat of First Look Media’s Racket:

RacketResponseTweet

Ha ha. Duly noted. As a public journalism service, we took the time to check out the content of this Racket gang, posted below the delightful tagline – ‘The Lifestyle Magazine For People With No Life.’ What’s more, in the retreating shadow of Matt Taibbi‘s eight months of service, this Racket – based in Redlands, CA – is getting ready to celebrate its tenth anniversary under the leadership of Jonathan Yost:

I launched Racket in 2005 because I loved talking about bands, concerts, comics, video games and God knows what else with my friends. It didn’t hurt that publishing one’s opinions makes you some kind of journalist, and journalists get this shit for free.

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