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Karen Fratti

Karen Fratti is a media and technology writer based in New York City. You can follow her at @karenfratti.

Pew Research Center Releases State of the News Media, Turns Out It’s Not All Bad

pewstatemediaToday, the Pew Research Center released the State of the News Media report. And it’s not as dreary as you might think. They say so themselves:

A year ago, the State of the News Media report struck a somber note, citing evidence of continued declines in the mainstream media that were impacting both content and audience satisfaction. As indicated above and throughout this report, many of these issues still exist, some have deepened and new ones have emerged. Still, the level of new activity this past year is creating a perception that something important, perhaps even game-changing, is going on. If the developments in 2013 are at this point only a drop in the bucket, it feels like a heavier drop than most. The momentum behind them is real, if the full impact on citizens and our news system remains unclear.

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Rumble and Digital First Media Partner Up, Update Their Ideas of Mobile

rumbledfm

Last week, Digital First Media announced a partnership with Rumble, the mobile publishing platform. I’ve written about Digital First Media before, when they announced their plan to “unbolt” digital newsrooms from their print culture. This partnership is a move in that direction.

They aren’t just a new Rumble client. The two companies instead have partnered up for mutual benefits. According to Rumble cofounder and CRO Uyen Tieu, they had a team of developers in DFM’s newsrooms for a week, going through their systems, poking around their servers and taking stock of what they are currently working with. This way, says Tieu, Rumble can work with them to give them exactly what they want and need. Tieu says that they are a good fit for publishers like Digital First Media because they are a centralized platform “but we are agnostic in that we are open to working with everyone…we play well in the sandbox with others.”

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OMG! The Robo-Journo Has Arrived. It’s Going to Be OK.

robotEverybody take a deep breath. Robots are not journalists, and they aren’t going to take over the publishing industry. Or will they?

Since it came out that the L.A. Times used an algorithm to report on an earthquake, it seems that robots are going to take over all of journalism. There’s a good case for using technology like this: stories on sports, financial news, weather; probably half of the press releases about amazing new mobile apps I get, could probably be written with a code. There’s also a good case for why it’s still sort of uncharted territory that needs to be built upon and perfected.

And it’s prompted some  good questions: Who owns the copyright? Where and when would it be more efficient? If stories are generated using a code, does that change how humans interact with it? Does the code know ethics? Read more

There’s a Lack of Diversity in New Media Orgs. How Do We Fix It?

peopleThe Internet turned 25 this week and, like most twenty-somethings, still has much to work on, despite its ego. The Internet’s id shows itself in recent conversations surrounding the “new (new) journalism,” and various journalism start-ups. Emily Bell wrote yesterday that these start-ups are far from revolutionary — if only because many of them are founded and fronted by men. Think Glenn Greenwald, Ezra Klein, Nate Silver.

Is this because female journalists are less likely to be plugged as “marquee” writers, as Bell suggests? Or that they have to choose between serving others or being a stand-alone presence as columnist? Or are women simply less likely to apply (remember that Clay Shirky post?).

While I’m glad she brought it up, it’s worth noting that she may be asking the wrong question. There are successful “new” news orgs founded by women and run by them. While Melissa Bell may have, according to Bell’s post, worked in the background at Wonkblog, she seems to have a presence over at Vox — if only because she gets screen time in the launch video. What about Sarah Lacy or Kara Swisher? Vox just poached Eleanor Barkhorn. Read more

Project X No More: Understanding the News with Vox

It’s a real thing now. Ezra Klein’s much gabbed about Project X has a name, a launch video, and its first explainer. Under Vox Media, the venture is simply Vox.com. Here’s their launch video:

I’m excited to see what it looks like and what it does. I like the idea of a news explainer — I recently wanted one for my not so newsy father who was asking about the Ukraine news cycle. To him, it seemed like it came out of nowhere: “this wasn’t on the evening news two weeks ago!” I, on the other hand, had been watching is slowly unfold and then blow up on Twitter and around the internet. Will there be a single link I can send him the next time that happens?

What do you think about Vox? Do you think this is the solution to the “problem in journalism” as Klein and company see it?

Image via Vox. 

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