Huffington Post

The wailing and gnashing of old media’s teeth

And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

- Matthew 13:42

Buzzfeed has obtained a report written by the New York Times on how they are going to deal with digital media, and it is dire indeed from their viewpoint. I imagine a similar document exists at APN and Fairfax.

A 96-page internal New York Times report, sent to top executives last month by a committee led by the publisher’s son and obtained by BuzzFeed, paints a dark picture of a newsroom struggling more dramatically than is immediately visible to adjust to the digital world, a newsroom that is hampered primarily by its own storied culture.

The Times report was finalized March 24 by a committee of digitally oriented staffers led by reporter A.G. Sulzberger. His father, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, fired Executive Editor Jill Abramson Tuesday, a decision that doesn’t appear immediately related to the paper’s digital weaknesses.

The report largely ignores legacy competitors and focuses on the new wave of digital companies, including First Look MediaVoxHuffington PostBusiness Insider, and BuzzFeed.

“They are ahead of us in building impressive support systems for digital journalists, and that gap will grow unless we quickly improve our capabilities,” the report warns. “Meanwhile, our journalism advantage is shrinking as more of these upstarts expand their newsrooms.”

“We are not moving with enough urgency,” it says.

It is speed which is killing them and an adherence to deadlines. Radio doesn’t have deadlines, they run news as it happens. The true legacy organisations are television and print, both run a deadline model, where most people have actually read or heard about the news by time their deadline rolls around.

The deep problems, the report says, are cultural, including a sense that the Timeswill simply serve as a destination — leading to a neglect of social promotion. One factor is an obsessive focus on the front page of the print paper, with reporters evaluated in their annual reviews on how many times they’ve made A1.

“The newsroom is unanimous: we are focusing too much time and energy on Page One,” the report says.    Read more »

The Faketivism epidemic

Social Media has led to the emergence of even more faketivism.

If you look at the recent examples of such activities, we can look at the hounding of the CEO of Mozilla out of a job, and in New Zealand the recent actions by Giovanni Tiso against Radio Live and also the jihad against Paul Henry when at TVNZ.

Fakectivism is social media activism by small numbers of people that is integrated into the news cycle because it matches the media’s political agenda.

[...]

Fakectivism online multiplies the problems with media coverage of left-wing activism by completely distorting the number of people participating in a protest and their credibility in representing anyone except themselves.

In real life protests, the media routinely reported higher turnout for left-wing protests and lower turnout for conservative protests. Online, Fakectivism dispenses with head counts. If it’s a trending topic, then it’s news. And sometimes it’s news, even if it isn’t.

Fakectivism begins with left-wing agitprop sites selectively collecting tweets in support or against something. Invariably the handful of tweets are described in collective terms as “The Internet” being outraged or supportive of something. The use of the collective “Internet” is a staple of Fakectivism because it conflates a manufactured story with the impulses and opinions of billions of people.

Successful Fakectivism moves up the ladder to higher end left-wing websites searching for teachable controversies. These websites have enough status that they are monitored by producers and editors from the mainstream media looking for stories.

The mainstream media harvests content from sites such as Slate or the Huffington Post and reframes it in biased but credible language while disguising its sources. Twitter Fakectivism is invariably described as a “backlash” or a “firestorm”. Phrases such as “Twitter was lit up by outraged users” give non-technical readers the impression that the complainers represent the consensus of the site instead of a small number of overactive users.

The manufactured Fakectivism becomes a major news story by a successive filtering process that disguises the dubious source and the credibility of the originating event.  Read more »

Does anyone still read the news?

Apparently not according to research by Microsoft. 

If analysts at Microsoft Research are correct, a startling number of American Web users are no longer paying attention to the news as it is traditionally defined. In a recent study of “filter bubbles,” Sharad Goel, Seth Flaxman, and Justin Rao asked how many Web users actually read the news online. Out of a sample of 1.2 million American users, just over fifty thousand, or four per cent, were “active news customers” of “front section” news. The other ninety-six per cent found other things to read.

The authors defined an active news customer as someone who read at least ten substantive news articles and two opinion pieces in a three-month period—if you remove the requirement of reading opinion pieces, the number of news readers climbs to fourteen per cent. The authors studied U.S.-based Web users who, between March and May of 2013, accumulated a total of 2.3 billion page views.

News can be a vague category; the authors defined by collecting news sites with appreciable traffic (the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Fox News), blogs (Daily Kos and Breitbart), and regional dailies (the Seattle Times and the Denver Post). Using “machine learning” algorithms, the authors separated what, based on word usage, they considered front-section news from the other content on news sites, like sports, weather, life style, and entertainment. What’s left is the narrow, classical news article, about, say, the State of the Union, as opposed to one about the latest adventures of Justin Bieber or Farrah Abraham.

Various influences shaped the study. The data was collected only from Internet Explorer users (who, the authors say, tend to be slightly older), and it represents only those who agreed to make their Web-browsing history available. Additionally, just because people don’t surf news Web sites doesn’t mean that they don’t get news from other sources, like physical newspapers, talk radio, Twitter, “The Colbert Report,” or the evening news.

That said, the sample size, 1.2 million, is impressive—far greater than that of a typical survey. And the number of people whom the study shows to be paying attention to the news online is consistent with the low ratings of cable news during the same period. Also, as opposed to relying on what people said they did, the Microsoft researchers drew on a record of what they actually did, which is significantly different. In a 2012 Pew survey, for example, thirty-nine per cent of people said that they had read news online the day before. The difference between the two numbers—fourteen and thirty-nine—may, in part, reflect different definitions of “news.” (The Pew survey did not define the term.) And, of course, what people like to think they do is often different from what they do.   Read more »

A day of infamy – Pearl Harbour Dec 7, 1941

On this day in 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour and as a result dragged the United States into a global war.

The Huffington Post has a photo essay of that day.

It was a sunny, mostly clear Sunday in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, when the unexpected hum of planes cut through the warm Hawaiian air. In a period of just two hours, more 353 Japanese aircraft laid siege to the U.S. naval base, sinking 18 ships and destroying nearly 200 aircraft in a sneak attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans and wounded over 1,000 more.

In this U.S. Navy file photo, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II. Two men can be seen on the superstructure, upper center. The mast of the USS Tennessee is beyond the burning West Virginia. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese Imperial Navy navigator Takeshi Maeda guided his Kate bomber to Pearl Harbor and fired a torpedo that helped sink the USS West Virginia. President Barack Obama on Thursday Dec. 6, 2012 issued a proclamation declaring Dec. 7 a day of remembrance in honor of the 2,400 Americans who died at Pearl Harbor. He urged federal agencies, organizations and others to fly their flags at half-staff. (AP Photo, File)

In this U.S. Navy file photo, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II. Two men can be seen on the superstructure, upper center. The mast of the USS Tennessee is beyond the burning West Virginia. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese Imperial Navy navigator Takeshi Maeda guided his Kate bomber to Pearl Harbor and fired a torpedo that helped sink the USS West Virginia. President Barack Obama on Thursday Dec. 6, 2012 issued a proclamation declaring Dec. 7 a day of remembrance in honor of the 2,400 Americans who died at Pearl Harbor. He urged federal agencies, organizations and others to fly their flags at half-staff. (AP Photo, File)

 

Another lefty joins the fight

Pablo at Kiwipolitico, another left wing voice adds to the debate over whether or not I am a “journalist” and my site is a “news medium”.

The left and right seem united on this apart from a  few ill-informed toxic lefties.

The decision by a district court judge to deny a rightwing blogger the right to protect his sources because he is not a “news medium” under the definition of the Evidence Act has been greeted with glee by many on the Left but is utterly wrong. The judge clearly does not understand what blogging has become, and has failed to distinguish between freedom of the press and defamation.

There are many types of blogging, and some of it is clearly news-focused in nature. The Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Foreign Policy blog and many others of that type are news outlets, sometimes with editorial content. Blogs like The Onion are clearly satirical and should be treated as such. Blogs like David Farrar’s are personal, partisan and cut and paste editorial in nature. Blogs like this one are personal and opinion focused, not news breaking. There are tons of personal, music, cinema, food and other types of blog that are not news mediums but it should be obvious that there are also many news-breaking and news focused blogs that fall well within the definition of “news medium.”

Blogs that are news focused can have a heavy editorial or partisan content. When evaluating stories on such outlets one has to distinguish whether the author wrote in a news breaking capacity or as an editorial or partisan opinion. That really is not that hard.    Read more »

Why ending anonymity online won’t make blogs a better place

anonymous-comments-427cm051410

Pete and Travis have performed wonders in cleaning up the discourse here at Whale Oil Beef Hooked. At first we discussed the light use of the ban hammer to rid ourselves of genuine trolls, or people who failed to take the clear warnings. Now I pretty much leave them to it.

I do prefer a light hand and I think they get the balance right.

Some journalists, notably Fran O’Sullivan and other commentators here and world wide think that the answer to increasing civility is removing anonymity of commenters. I disagree…especially when we are discussing sensitive subjects, like mental health issues or cannabis then having anonymity allows people to share personal experiences they otherwise might not have shared if not anonymous.

The Guardian has an article about the move of the Huffington Post to remove anonymity for commenters and they note that it won;t work as they believe it will.

Using real names is often cited as the magic pill to prevent this type of unpleasantness. Putting aside the important point that implementing such a system is technically complex and virtually unworkable, anyone who has watched two friends mud-slinging below a Facebook status update knows real identities don’t bring instant politeness.  Read more »

Finally 3News gets the international recognition it deserves..

How to make The Herald look world class…

The Huffington Post thinks that 3News dog attack animation is the worst news graphic ever.

Should Maurice Williamson run for Mayor? [POLLS]

gaymarriagefeature2-660x440

Source: NewsJunkee

Given his stellar global coverage at the moment, I reckon Maurice Williamson should capitalise on the goodwill and run for Mayor against Len Brown.

His 5 minute speech in Wellingotn yesterday has reverberated around the world.

Andrew Sullivan blogged about it.

Huffington Post ran it.

The Sydney Morning Herald printed the entire speech, plus the video.

Ronan Keating tweeted it.

Read more »

Whale Week What Was

682zoomWe started our Saturday by paying our respects to Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., the hard-charging US Army general whose forces smashed the Iraqi army in the 1991 Gulf War.  He died aged 78.  At The Standard 2012 Worst Political Blog Mike Smith is told some home truths about long term grass-roots Labour families heading for the Greens.  A quick vid on how to put out a boat fire the Kiwi way is next, followed by a vote for Best Minister.  The winner, at 52%, is Judith Collins.  The Whale Week That Was summarised all the stories this blog covered in the previous seven days.  A quite active Saturday Debate (for the time of year especially) led a post calling for nominations for Best Political Blog.  Those who see WOBH as any sort of threat to them (and those that don’t too), should take heed of this Malcolm Tucker quote: “marshal all the media forces of Darkness to hound them to an assisted suicide”.  A CNN piece showing Teachers in Utah taking a class on gun use shows some common sense around the gun debate.  A reader has taken yesterday’s US Fiscal Cliff graphic and created one for New Zealand – great work.  As Cameron Slater predicted from the outset, the Aussie Hoax DJs will not face charges.  The NZ Herald continues to amuse – this time a car crashed into a poll.  The blog then introduces us to two sexy taxidermists showing you don’t have to look like a front row forward to deal with dead animals.  And you’d think we’re picking on an incompetent NZ Herald, and you would be right.  This time they have Jesse Ryder beating himself at Eden Park in Wellington.  Then a hilarious story about a Queensland woman who fell into the longdrop and was there for two hours before being discovered by her husband.   Turns out that during the Falklands War the French tried to send missiles to Argentinia behind Margaret Thatcher‘s back.  Commerce first eh?  The last post of the day highlights a report of a man holding up a Countdown Supermarket with a hammer.  Our readers get fired up about the idea of hammer banning.

Read more »

Tagged:

Still more reasons why Canada isn’t falling off the fiscal cliff

The Huffington Post article on Canada that I blogged earlier is fascinating…we have already looked at the role of big government in stuffing everything up and then attempting to fix it.

But what about the role of debt:

Governments must lead by example when managing their own debt and spending. Low debt is the result of low spending. Federal government spending as a share of the overall economy is 15 per cent in Canada (2) and 24 per cent in the U.S. (3). The numbers are not merely the result of prodigious U.S. military spending, though that is certainly a factor. Non-military federal government spending is 14 per cent of Canada’s economy (4), and 18 per cent of America’s (5).

Just as cause equals effect, spending equals debt. Net government debt as a share of the Canadian economy is 36 per cent. In the U.S., it is 83 per cent. America’s gross government debt is now bigger than the entire U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Treasury Department website, Mainland China holds $1.1 trillion of it. To quote Mark Steyn: “If the People’s Republic carries on buying American debt at the rate it has in recent times, then within a few years U.S. interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese armed forces.”

Read more »