Studio 20 Presentations December 11, 2014

Welcome to open studio night our fourth
year in a row that we’re doing this event. I’m jay rosen director of the
studio 20 program at NYU I have a little background for you on this program and
what’s gonna be happening tonight studio 20 is the world’s only graduate program
in journalism focused exclusively on innovation we do project-based learning
we do it with partners in the media business some are big established media
companies some are small struggling startups the program is 16 months fall
spring summer fall and as the students here can tell you it’s a lot of work I
sometimes describe studio 20 as a consulting group that gets paid in
problems but they have to be good problems by that we mean let’s do
something new that we don’t really know how to do a good problem is a practical
puzzle that our partners find urgent that others in journalism would also
recognize it should have a lot in it and of course it should be fun challenging
interesting to our students what you will see tonight is a presentation on 13
projects which means 13 problems and 13 partners many of whom are represented
here tonight we also have family and friends of our graduating students here
we have people from the journalism world in New York who support our program we
have faculty from other Jay schools in the city which is very collegial of them
each student gets five minutes to present her project they’ve been
practicing and honing these presentations for weeks and they’re all
graduating this week a few of them have jobs already which we’re very proud of
but most of them need jobs so if you are in a position to help please do
we also have the next group of studio 20 students coming right behind them the
year after those people raise your hands okay and by the summer of 2015 they will
all need projects to work on themselves so keep that in mind as well if you have
a news organization a media company a startup that you run and you have a good
problem then donate it to us and we’ll return something very valuable to you
finally after the students present Josh Benton the director of Harvard’s Nieman
lab will do his annual slideshow the year in innovation which highlights the
most important things that happen this year for people like us who are trying
to move journalism forward we’ll try to finish by around 8 o’clock after that
some of you may have to go but you’re welcome to stay and drink with us
because our students will be celebrating you could be you can be part of that
this event is public it’s open for tweeting the hashtag as you can see is
studio 20 there is a live stream for the event which you can get the link for off
my Twitter feed if you want to and we’re almost ready for our first presenter
Kane who is going to take the stage momentarily like now okay are you ready yes the floor is
yours thanks Jay my name is king so today data journalism has become a
buzzword in a media industry and many newsrooms are scrambling to use data in
their stories however it doesn’t mean everybody can produce good data
journalism let’s have a look at my favorite charts I’m not sure cutting a
head into slices helps to present data and I’m pretty sure chart does not help
what your math is wrong so how do we avoid all these bad charts of course we
need people with no data journalism in the newsroom however currently the way
to produce data journalism is very resource-intensive
big newsrooms like New York Times have over 1200 editorial staff and a graphic
Department that produces data components alone has about 40 people but for small
newsroom like my partner foreign policy the whole newsroom has only 40 people
equals to just one department in The Times so there’s this huge gap in the
industry to narrow this gap I develop data and data n is a program that lowers
the barrier for small newsrooms to integrate data journalism into their
daily operation it helps them to produce credible engaging and comprehensible
journalism together with foreign policy we developed training modules we
selected and customized a set of tools and we prepare documentation for each
tool we integrated we integrated all these materials into an internal
training website that a journalist can refer to when they need to work with
data so here’s a quick view of what we have built this is the website that has
all the tools and documentation and for open-source tool like data
wrapper we customize the colors the phones and the size so the journalists
they don’t have to do it manually every time they need to build a chart we also
build specialized data visualization tools for foreign policy and this is one
for the one of them and each of these tool we prepare step-by-step instruction
and documentation for them so besides tools we also have guidelines on data
visualization like which chart to choose what do you want to present and how we
build this program first we ask the journalists what do they need and what
problems they are facing and most of them told us two majors problem first
it’s time and the second is how to visualize data so with this feedback in
mind we design and ran a project tonight I just want to show just gonna share two
key findings in this project the first is flexible and customized modules in a
small newsroom we know time is an issue it is extremely hard to gather everyone
at the same time for training so we brought our training materials into
small pieces it can be mixed and matched into different modules for different
groups of journalists and we conducted quick and short training sessions in
small groups photojournalism the second is to journalists are not only busy most
of them they don’t like coding so we need to select holes that are easy to
use they require minimal time they don’t
require coding skill and can be customized to fit a hostile and will be
frequently used in future stories after the training some of the journalists put
the tools and skills to work almost immediately here are some examples from
the feedback that we conducted after the training out
of 13 journalists between almost half said they have learned something useful
for estate they still have questions which i think is good and three of them
felt that it was too basic that’s even better
ninety percent of the journalists were interested to have more advanced
training I think that’s a very very good feedback
from here we can also see that a one-time training is never enough
we need long-term support for the journalists and that’s something I want
to develop after this program data end is not just designed for foreign policy
it can be applied to small newsrooms not just in the US but other parts of the
world it lowers the barrier to produce data journalism it accelerates the
development of data journalism in the newsroom I believe every newsroom should
have its own data end so if you want to build a data and for a newsroom I am
more than happy to help you can visit my blog for more details about a program I
understand Emma Ben J Zoe all my classmates in you
Stilton D and of course my wife Lily thank you Thank You Kang Kang is a Fulbright
Scholar he comes to us from Malaysia and his project is a good example of a
problem that foreign policy and magazine had but that many other sites would have
it as well and as a matter of fact I was on the phone this week with somebody
else who runs a newsroom who was asking me do you think he could do what he did
for them for us so you see how these projects work Monica are you ready yes
the floor is yours hello my name is Monica and I’m here to explain all your
tomorrows the star day is 2014 and digital identity providers like Facebook
and OkCupid are using our data to decide what we should read who we should love
and ultimately who we should be these data centric technologies what we call
big data are affecting us all but the process is hard to see because it’s
intangible it’s happening on computers behind closed and SI doors in an
algorithm too often big data gets represented by media’s binary code
running across the screen as journalists is our job to make the complex
successful and we need more tools and talking heads and zeros and ones to make
our audiences care my project was to try one such tool science fiction we’ve
already seen this work today in the 1960s Syfy didn’t put a man on the moon
the thigh-high helped people believe that humans could get there Syfy makes
the abstract real it’s famous symbols like robots and scythe cyberspace
surveillance our physical projections of the cultures anxieties and hopes so
let’s go one step further and report in sci-fi language and create alternate
realities to critique our own some media organizations already understand that
sci-fi can go where our current reporting can’t MIT tech review and new
scientists commissioned sci-fi stories inspired by the science and their
magazines vices terraform at the latest i-5 vertical that wants to be different
than those that came before it wants to make sci-fi a part of its weekly news
cycle placing news about uber alongside dystopia ubers ultimate takeover
in my attempt to make the complex future with big data feel more real I partner
with doubt in society I think do Institute and partnered with one of
their fellows Gideon Litchfield and we decided to try reporting from the future
one example this past August the Washington Post did a story on the legal
consequences of driverless cars in response I use a Twitter to make a story
and headlines that use their research to report on a possible future New York
Times in Florida first automated car accident brings questions of doubt slate
yes we should have seen this coming New York Post killer cars I realized that if
you want to make data fiction relevant to the new cycle need to go where people
get their news social media I chose to host my sci-fi and social platforms to
see if my stories could provoke a conversation that could get reblogged
and be made better in collaboration the most successful responses were the ones
that took my scenario is as a jump-off point to discuss their own current fears
and hopes for big data an ongoing problem in media and thigh-highs how to
explain technologies that don’t exist yet for a current audience one solution
I tried was by writing a fictional business newsletter in courts his format
which like the New York Times headlines is breath as a recognizable style
readers can use to understand the unknown although my news events were
fiction my hyperlinks were to current issues creating resonances between the
present and my imagined future the point of my project is not to predict the
future but to change it by getting you all to think critically about what these
technologies can do to us my stories are an antidote against apathy you can only
care if you see it if you see how high the stakes are my fictional universe is
images Twitter essays dystopian newsletters and headlines are all trying
to help you get it and awaken you the fact that this isn’t a world far far
away it’s already here because big data is a topic that affects everyone and yet
is among the hardest to make human science fiction puts a human face to the
algorithm and lets you understand a world that hasn’t happened yet as
journalists we should consider every tool at our disposal and in sci-fi can
help someone care about big data we should try it because sci-fi and
journals and Sheriff’s same goal once story’s not datasets
special thanks to my partner Gideon and down in society
thanks to my studio 20 family and my other family you want to talk about the
future or finding online or come find me out there Thank You Monica here’s what I love about Monica’s
project there are some things which by the time they happen it’s too late for
democracy to do anything about them and that’s the problem that she was trying
to tackle in this project is to bring a possible future close enough to us in
the present that we could actually debate it before it’s too late
Maria are you ready yeah take it away good evening I’m here to tell you about
a platform that can drive more traffic to your site than Twitter reddit and
LinkedIn combined a decade into the social media revolution fatigue has set
in there are lots of ways to interact with still only 24 hours in a day what
social media network is worth your time well for a growing number of
publications Pinterest is making the cut 22 percent of the Americans visit the
site monthly people pin and share articles and pictures like you might pin
magazine clippings to a bulletin board once you’ve decided that Pinterest is
right for your organization the problem that remains is how to use the platform
to engage readers thankfully 83% of Pinterest users would prefer to follow a
favorite brand than a favorite celebrity now let me present you to my partner
Entertainment Weekly is your informed friend in the room who always has a
comment about the latest pop culture news it is a publication that
understands the challenges of journalism in the internet landscape while we would
all like to have readers come directly to our site we must go where the users
are GW recognizes Pinterest is an ideal channel on which to distribute content
Pinterest provides a viable audience for Entertainment Weekly because it reaches
their core demographic 83% of people who use Pinterest are women and 45% are
between the ages 35 and 54 women make up 63% of EWS
readers and the median age is 41 we knew that this created an opportunity and
hope to capitalize on it on Pinterest people are primarily interested in a few
big areas food DIY home decorating holidays and fashion one of the
challenges that we face is that we are an entertainment brand not a lifestyle
brand people are not necessarily looking for reviews and articles in that
environment therefore making it harder to break through after learning the
basics we wanted to experiment with some different ways of engaging our audience
we decided to leverage our following on Instagram and posted a call-out for
costume submissions on Halloween we received about a dozen photos while the
photos do not link back to our site it was an important exercise in audience
engagement it furthered our relationship with readers and got them to interact
with us in a more personal way we also experimented with live pinning now when
I say that we live pinned an event we did not send a social media editor to
take amateur photos of the musical performances or red carpet arrivals
keeping to the visual standards of the magazine we pinned high quality images
as they streamed in our followers were able to repin photos of their favorite
moments and read about them on our site later borrowing from previously
successful Instagram takeovers we would have liked to have influential guest
spinners as well creating a group board on which to publish fan photos or other
user-generated content is another idea we would have liked to try now I would
like to share with you some tips for best practices that I’ve learned through
research and my own trial in their Pinterest is simple like any social
media platform frequency is key pin often we use a tool called key relate
and scheduled pins every 15 minutes rich pins are enhanced pins that showcase
more information the article version details the author article titles
description web URL and still contains a call to action pin it send it like
Pinterest connects to Facebook and Twitter and enables users to
automatically post to their news feed or Twitter feed it saves the user time and
puts more eyes on your content remember that your captions count as
well in keeping with the tone of your organization experiment with witty
sometimes even funny captions keep your keep your images eye catching and
pinnable long pins that are taller and vertical will look better on mobile and
tablets when I started in September of this year we had 18,000 560 followers
the account had not been verified and resources had not been allocated to give
it the time and attention it needed to succeed as of December 7th we have
20,000 64 followers that is a growth of 7.5% since September we’ve gained more
than a thousand followers just since November 3rd it had previously taken
over 2 months to add that many followers I’ve doubled the growth rate in the last
three months the total interactions have gone up by 28% and potential impressions
have gone up 214 % totaling 36 point 7 million lots of people use Pinterest to
discover and save things they want to read in fact more than 5 million
articles are pinned every day article pins help writers and media
organizations reach new audiences get more referral traffic and extend the
life span of their content on Pinterest stories remain click worthy and
discoverable long after they’ve been published I’d like to thank melissa
maerz matt bean eric Gords chris rackleff then Boscovich alison toner j
zoe and the rest of the studio 20 class thank you for your attention thank you Maria chose the last class of the
semester to reveal to us that she had actually enrolled in a competing
journalism program showed up at the orientation for this one and switched at
the last minute because she just liked the vibe that was pretty cool moment
wasn’t it Ronan and Elly are you ready yes the floor is yours is hard in a
study I knew soon without any funding is harder than you can imagine with very
little experience and the limited resources in the media industry juicy Wu
the founder of humane there’s tremendous challenges to build up a functional
newsroom from scratch so we offer to help our partner you may us is a
start-up nonprofit organization publishing a bilingual magazine and a
website their mission is to help famille chinese immigrants deal with
their challenges and thrive in the u.s. our project bootstrap you is a package
of solutions that helps to put them stood up digital newsroom and lay a
solid foundation for its future growth building up a brand new newsroom is a
bold idea and a rocky road inevitably there will be varieties and problems in
front of you may but we are confident in tackling them one by one we introduce a
problem list which listed all the challenges you may face then rank them
by urgency importance and a difficulty we start fixing some easy but very
important ones first you may staffed with volunteers from across the country
therefore does not have an office which makes it more convenient for editors to
work from home but much harder for them to communicate and collaborate to solve
that problem we introduced Trello an online project management
or that keeps you updated with all the progress and tasks and we saved the
editors from constantly getting emails phone calls and text messages and we
have Josie better monitor the whole team second you miss website hasn’t been
updated at all since June the editors prioritized the magazine has
slacked on the website the team was not quite familiar with digital production
and didn’t know where to begin the most feasible way to bring the website to
life is to diversify the source by adding aggregated content we have
created you may see River of news and have been working closely with our newly
hired digital editor to develop a brand new workflow we are also experimenting
with multimedia production routine and providing tutorials for the team to
quickly grasp the core skills you may saw line presence and there went a
complete makeover next there is a huge time gap in between two editions of the
magazine which can lead to a decrease in audience engagement we believe one
effective solution is to hold local events where our readers who share the
same experience can find and talk to each other and ideally build up a
community of Chinese female immigrants on October the 18th we flew to Midland
Michigan to help you may host the first ever local event a winter gardening
workshop three notable things we have accomplished were first we got direct
feedback from our audience second a growing subscription list and third
we’ve created a series of email newsletter template for future use
in talking about future we believe an informative website is crucial for you
miss grouse and for now you miss website it’s not
flexible enough the CMS is not additive friendly and has
major flaws currently were experimenting with different website building
platforms and redesigning the website in a more user-friendly way we believe what
press could be a more practical and accessible tool for the editorial team
the editors will be able to publish and update articles as easy as reading blogs
we will relaunched website in the near future
also funding is a matter of life and death however how to raise money remains
a huge challenge therefore we want to launch a crowdfunding campaign we
studied different fundraising platforms and decided to use Raju which is
designed to make nonprofit organizations funding easy and engaging we also
produce a video for Yuma’s first fundraising campaign so we can help more
Chinese women your donation will make a difference these are only part of the problems
we’ve solved and we are approaching to the point where we’ll solve enough
problems to support you may running on its own will firmly believe humans cos
and the potential extends far beyond what we envision for any new startup
like you may producing high quality content is important but there’s a lot
more than that to move the newsroom forward it’s about gathering the people
selecting the tools creating a workflow and producing for your audience every
step matters and every solution you are looking for is inputs from you we
appreciate juices courage and entrepreneurial spirit
we’d love to see more media startups grow and thrive bootstrap is our care
and support for new startups and we encourage you to share yours
special thanks to Jay Zoe juicy and our classmates for your amazing support if
you want to know more please visit our website thank you for your attention Thank You Ronan and Elly this is one of
my favorite projects of the year as all of you know for generations people have
come from the middle of the country to New York to make their way in journalism
so in this project we decided to reverse it people from New York here to learn
about new ways of doing journalism going to Michigan to help in a sort of a
digital journalism Peace Corps way so I’m very proud of these two students for
doing that Sarah are you ready Sarah and Kylie take
it away today half of all US adults have mobile devices I connect to the web 62%
of these mobile users consume news from their devices as the use of mobile
increases there’s a lack of understanding in the journalism industry
on how to optimize content for the mobile platform while delivering a
cohesive voice to address this problem we created the little screen project a
guide on how repeatable short-form videos interact with social media
outlets to establish brand awareness user engagement and a consistent voice
across verticals we decided to partner with the Huffington Post because they
are a popular site with a large mobile audience that has built up their
following they have more than 50 verticals across their site and we
wanted to help them find a way to tie them together the production of short
fun shareable videos going into the project we had assumptions about social
media that we wanted to test so we produce eight short form videos and
experiments with the editing software content and lengths we have been posting
these videos on Huffington Post Facebook Twitter Instagram and vine accounts and
have branded them with the hashtag Huff Post to go we looked at likes shares and
other social media analytics but we also know these aren’t the only determining
factors so we conducted surveys with HuffPo readers and here’s what we found
we experimented with different video editing tools
both mobile apps and professional editing software we thought editing on
your mobile phone would be simpler and save time but we actually found the
opposite we edited this packing video for the travel vertical in the iMovie
app on an iPhone it took 2 hours to complete and we edited this DIY video
and premiere and it took only one hour we found that mobile editing apps like
iMovie take longer to use it is difficult to customize text audio ends
of mentions because you were constrained by the template so instead we recommend
to use a professional editing software like premiere or Final Cut we also
experimented with the amount of information included in the videos for
example the first Instagram video included three tips and a link to the
site at the end the second video focused on one tip we thought it was interesting
to see how this affected driving traffic back to the site versus social media
engagement the packing video which was more of a preview of the link to the
site received more traffic back than the DIY video but the DIY video which was
digestible on its own did significantly better in terms of likes and engagement
on Instagram we looked at quality we thought that high quality videos would
increase engagement we tested this by filming one with an iPhone and one with
the DSLR this is a clip of a video we filmed with the iPhone for the healthy
living vertical and this is a clip of a video we filmed
with a DSLR for the politics particle what does it cover Como right yeah okay
my governor would be Chris Christie in New Jersey so we recognized the videos
contain different content but we found that even though the sleeping video with
not as good equality it received much higher engagement in terms of the number
of likes and shares so based on our findings people will forgive low-quality
production and it’s the content that really matters we wanted to vary the
length of the videos the Huffington Post typically publishes videos to Facebook
that are around one minute and all videos on Instagram cannot be more than
15 seconds so we wanted to see how a 15-second video would perform on
Facebook we experimented with this by publishing the DIY gifts video we showed
you earlier to Facebook and it did remarkably well with 3,500 shares so we
thought it was interesting to see how we can reuse the same video for different
social media platforms we conducted surveys with the Huffington Post to
determine if we established a cohesive voice and brand awareness and we asked
the readers questions about voice memorability and trustworthiness
everyone indicated the tone of our videos was light-hearted which shows we
accomplished creating a consistent voice across the
videos we determined we would need to test these consistently for a longer
period of time to tell if these videos are meeting our brand awareness goals so
in a short amount of time we were able to break social media
assumptions through lightweight testing of short shareable videos this testing
is a simple and quick way for you to discover what tools work and direct you
to next steps to produce more engaging content for mobile we’d like to thank
everyone listed here for their help and support with our project thank you all
for listening thank you Sarah and Kylie one thing I like about their project is
that they asked to present their findings to the huffington post at the
huffington post which they did a couple of weeks ago and there are about 25
people from the social media team and people interested in social media at the
huffington post to hear their findings which is part of what we want our
students to do is to go back to their partners and say here’s what we found
and and have an audience at the company John are you ready yes
take it away hi my name is John I’m not only a journalist but also a huge soccer
fan during the World Cup my preview Johnson reporting was this New York
Times article illustrating all the 984 possible scenarios whether the Team USA
could advance to the knockout stage but when I was actually sitting in the bar
during the middle of the game I took on my cell phone I opened up this article
and I found that the canvas was suddenly becoming so tiny on my phone that every
time I want to click on a spot I always missed it
by clicking on the one next to it and you really can’t say that because my
fingers are too big now I think this is not a problem that only the newer times
is facing when we do did a jonesing we sometimes forget to think about its
usability on mobile devices today my project on RQ daily at an example
it is a Chinese new startup in popular brands in a fast-paced with
lots of data 300,000 readers are consuming charts every day on their
website and naturally 90% of them are coming from mobile but if you look at
the chart they make on mobile it’s just an exact copy of the desktop version
with the same aspect ratio which makes it extremely hard to digest however I
develop a solution that can help small newsrooms to extend their daily
journalism from decima leaders to smartphone screens and it’s also
changing a way how cute daily does its data journalism
for this solution I’m gonna call it chart with char whiz is a package all
about choosing the right tool and the right workflow first let’s talk about a
tool the two I’m using is called each hearts it is a very new data
visualization platform developed by China’s biggest search engine company
Baidu but it has already been listed by github
as one of the most commonly used open-source database tools in the market
three months ago I became one of the first bunch of journalists to beta-test
it I soon discovered that each hearts is one of the exact who that kodály is
looking for the thing I like most about it is that it’s highly customizable on
all screen sizes here are some charts we created for story about Apple’s q4
earnings as you can see the charts are perfectly embedded in cutaneous desktop
website they’re also very highly interactive when I hope on a chart I’ll
be able to tell the exact data from each turning point and if you look at the
same chart on mobile you’ll be able to modify the specs in order to achieve a
better display in your own mobile layout so no matter you’re using a laptop a
tablet or cell phone each hearts creates a seamless reading experience on all
your devices but choosing the right tool is just a first step
what’s more important to us is the workflow behind it because my goal is
not only to make charts are so simple that everyone can understand but also to
simplify the chore making process so that everyone can make a chart in order
to achieve that I prepare a guideline breaking down all the steps of a chart
making process introducing journalists are now collaborating in slack to pitch
stories discuss potential chart types assign tasks and share data sets from
that Jones they can import their spreadsheets right into each shorts and
start drawing markups right away I also drafted a style guide setting up
all the details of the charts in different screen sizes including their
aspiration margins title sizes spacing animation and color schemes we pay so
much attention to the tiniest details behind the charts so when you actually
see them on mobile you just simple and beautiful now if you look at cue dailies
origin workflow three months ago to create charts they use an outsourced
design firm people who actually make the charts are designers not journalists and
cue diligence they literally had to draw mock-ups to show the designers whether
it should be a bar chart or a pie chart with all these problems combined it used
to take a full cycle of seven days for cue daily journalists to create an
article with charts well I’m happy to tell you now it takes just one day that
is 85 percent more efficient so to sum up my story project is a complete
solution that allows small newsrooms to achieve data journalism rapidly and
routinely on mobile devices from that experience I’ll also say a journalist
doesn’t need to be super tech savvy in order to build something out of scratch
to add value to the web instead he can work with existing
innovations like each hearts and add value to it by making it more flexible
usable and accessible I’d like to thank all my colleagues at Q Daly J Zoe and my
stew 20 classmates for the equator port and this is the story of chart with my
next step innovation thank you thank you John here’s what I love about
John’s project from New York we’re creating change and an 85 percent gain
and efficiency in a Q daily news room that is 7,000 miles away which means
that our partners for these projects can come from anywhere in the globe so this
has huge implications for journalism education because the world is becoming
more global Kaylee are you ready I am take it away
hi my name is Kaylee for the past three months I’ve been testing Fast Company’s
newsletters with the goal of not only optimizing the standard email newsletter
format but to really go beyond the surface and redefine what an email
newsletter is and what it should be in order to take full advantage of the
email format in the age of the smartphone the email brief is a mobile
first design email newsletter that provides unique content to subscribers
to drive user engagement and increase loyalty
now when trying to reimagine the email newsletter the first thing I had to
tackle was that there are two very different kinds of email newsletters
there’s the promotional and the editorial the promotional email is where
we began this is the email newsletter Fast Company has been sending out for
years the email is an RSS style feed of Fast Company’s new stories chosen by an
editorial staff member the goal of this email is purely promotional to drive
traffic back to the Fast Company site which it does with a click-through rate
of 31% then we have the editorial email this is the email we created in
September now coming up with this format really required going back to the basics
and getting at the medium what is an email an email is personal it provides
unique content so how can we make the newsletter more in line with its medium
with a voice and personal tone from an editor who writes the newsletter every
morning they start with the greeting and with a salutation and deliver some
content in the body of the email that doesn’t have an ulterior motive to drive
clicks but allows subscribers to learn something without clicking through this
was our first iteration of an editorial email but after testing our quantitative
data revealed a 21 percent drop in click-through rates which could have
been reasonable if the editorial email product had better collated feedback
from our subscribers but our qualitative data told us that users weren’t pleased
either this email got a 2 out of 5 which showed us that our users are Sakura
subscribers who weren’t ready for a purely text purely editorial email they
wanted better steam ability and they wanted images so in our second iteration
with the feedback that we got from the first time around we did a redesign
still taking a mobile first design which meant we didn’t put images back in with
this redesign our click-through rate increased by 15% and we managed to
appease a larger number of subscribers who gave this newsletter an overall
rating of 405 still room for improvement so we started this process with a
competitive analysis to assess what other people were doing we then
collected all the data from Fast Company’s newsletters for the past year
in order to understand what subscribers we’re doing and to have a starting point
to compare future data we then surveyed our current subscribers to understand
what they valued most in the Fast Company newsletter in order to make sure
those elements were maintained I then looked at the current workflow made a
new workflow and made sure that the workflow during the testing period would
be feasible and that we’d have something workable that would be sustainable over
time based on those results we made more templates to test we separated our
subscriber base into three sending it a different newsletter to each group in
order to a be test different elements directly and to track the results long
term we also made sure to gather ongoing user feedback especially for our
editorial product to make sure that our users were happy engaged and involved in
our process we then gathered and analyzed the quantitative data now every
step in this process not only informed the next step but helped inform the
final recommended newsletter version and it also helped me understand that unlike
what I initially taught the final fast company newsletter couldn’t be a
promotional or an editorial product it wasn’t an
either-or situation at all it was a spectrum and for Fast Company the
newsletter had to sit somewhere in the middle and marry the objectives of both
the editorial staff and subscribers while leveraging the unique medium that
is the email in the age of the smartphone with that in mind the
recommended email newsletter for Fast Company is an editorial promotional
hybrid it is personal in tone with a greeting which is the essence of an
email is responsive mobile designed with text at the top it takes into account
the feedback from our users which was to put the images back in it takes into
account the results of our quantitative testing and it works with the workflow
of the Fast Company editorial staff as it doesn’t require too much added time
it delivers a unique message with a more personal and engaging voice and an
attempt to forge a relationship with our readers this newsletter saw an increase
in click-through and it’s an overwhelmingly positive feedback from
subscribers with an overall rating of 5 out of 5 ultimately I’d like to ask you
to forget everything you thought you knew about email newsletters I asked you
to take it out of the hands of the marketing team and stay as far away as
you can from using it as a purely promotional product email after all is a
two-way communication tool and should not be used as a tool for mass message
promotion put the email newsletter into the hands of the editorial staff to come
up with a unique editorial product that will appease all parties remember that
subscribers have provided you with their sacred personal space that is their
email INBOX respect that space with a thoughtful editorial even it will go a
long way to forging a relationship with your audience and driving loyalty I want
to thank everybody at Fast Company and everybody at Studio 20 and thank you for
listening Thank You Kaylee you may have noticed in
the middle of Kaylee’s presentation she said so in our second iteration from
feedback we got during our first round that’s a key to these projects is we asked students not only to recommend
changes but to recommend changes they can measure if they can measure them
they can find out if they work if they know that they work they can suggest
even better changes in the next round that’s a basic method that we use pay
pay are you ready take it away good evening everyone my name is Pei Pei and
here is my project the social file why is social media so important because it
not only brings us the information but also the attention especially for
newsrooms unfortunately many newsrooms are not getting the attention they want
social media editors must feel terrible when they see that no one is engaging
with their careful attractive crafted posts to fix this problem a change is
needed at present most newsrooms regard social media as the promote channel of
their original content why not use social media in a different way and
promote provide a service to your online audience social file is a project to
help small news organizations provide online users with service to gain social
attention increase user engagement and subsequently thrive on social media My
partner is China file an online magazine containing reporting and commentary on
China our social media channels deliver a package of news on China from media
organizations and experts from both countries in the past three months our
social media feed has been filled with original content from China Volcom
santos ism Chinese newsletter from a group of
beijing-based volunteers and our editors picks from a cost Internet in order to
broaden the mix of conversation around China we created a Twitter list of
Chinese media US media and China file contributors who really know and care
about China for example the scholars in China based journalists also will
introduce English content from the Chinese side Weibo into our Twitter and
Facebook feed here is our daily workflow on Twitter
and the days we don’t get sinus the newsletter will be an intruder and Weibo
to find news for the afternoon generally it takes about two hours a day to
schedule all the posts for the day and it worked
look at the engagement rate on Twitter here
engagement has increased do our audience engage more because we post more
pictures with the link the difference here is not that huge do they engage
more because we provide more timely news it seems not people still responds a lot
to China vows original in-depth articles weeks or even months after they were
published and do they engage more with a certain news source
now again the site associated to the news Island did not affect its
performance the answer is content people are
reacting more to the information they need by providing the service to our
audience we save them the time of having to look for information themselves maybe
that’s why we can three thousand four hundred more followers in less than
three months a 27% increase now let us take a look at Facebook in the first
half of November we posted around 10 articles per day from November 15th will
change to 5 in terms of that if we selected really
content we don’t even have to post that often a lack Twitter people are looking
for fun on Facebook they don’t like serious long articles on China’s
pollution they prefer 365 pictures of the same building in Beijing which can
actually show how bad the air quality is besides providing information we provide
our audience with a place to talk and share on Facebook now you may be
thinking should I provide promotion or service on my social media let me show
you two more graphics the first one is the page view of China for comm from
July to November in second one is the source of our website visit the red line
here represents social media although there is a decrease in early November
due to Facebook the service is indeed helping promotion as I mentioned before
all you need is 2 hours a day to provide this service package to your audience at
last I want to thank everyone who helped me and support me in the past 3 months
Jonathan Davies Suzy from China fell newsroom and Jay Zoe and met amazing
classmates of studio 20 thank you for listening thank you as their professor I’m I’m realizing
that something’s a little different about my students tonight and I figured
out what it is it’s the first time I’ve seen them with lipstick throwing me off
a little bit the person you hear thanked at the end of every presentation is Zoe
Freud Bernard is the technical adviser to studio 20 she’s helped each one of
these students not only with their presentation but with their projects
throughout the year and that’s why they’re so indebted to her Erin are you
ready I am Erin take it away thank you good evening everyone so everyday people
from all around the world are sharing tens of millions of Facebook posts
tweets Instagram photos and YouTube videos individually they may not look
like much a snapshot from your vacation a comment about a recent news event but
taken together that massive amount of information is incredibly valuable but
as it stands now these platforms are fairly siloed there’s no single place to
get a good view of what the larger social web thinks about an issue so my
question was how do you harness the depth and breadth of user-generated
content created across social media platforms to give a new and valuable
take on the news I partnered with vaca t’v a digital news startup based here in
New York City that has a unique ability to tackle this problem locative is
developed proprietary software that enables their team of analysts and
reporters to trawl the Deep Web for sources and information and analyze
massive amounts of meat of data coming from social media the dynamic index
stream the dynamic index which is the the project that we paired up to work on
streams display content from Instagram Facebook Twitter and YouTube to enable a
user to explore a topic across platforms it’s math based interface lets you zoom
in and explore content from a specific area while the streams on the right side
let you scroll through raw content or a collection of selected posts it’s in
those selected posts that the dynamic index stands out from other a P I based
social streams we wanted to give our users the chance
to discover the breadth of a topic not just see every single tweet under the
same hashtag so each piece of content is sourced and loaded into the system by an
analyst editor team when we first started we were two editors working with
one of our analysts who is based in Tel Aviv what we hoped would happen was this
the editors would pick a broad topic around a recent news event that was
gaining social traction and send a few details to our analyst and then we would
get a variety of results back we said on our first story to try it out
the virgin galactic rocket had just crashed and we wanted to get a social
view into modern space travel what we found actually happened was this our
editors were thinking broad and expecting broad results we wanted to see
instagrams from amateur astronauts in training or yoga in space or audition
videos from Mars one volunteers our analysts however it was thinking deep
and what we got back was a lot of Richard Branson the founder of Virgin
Galactic and his incredible head of hair we also got feedback from our analysts
that he needed more context and that in order for our technology are really any
sourcing technology to find a piece of content it had to have either a hashtag
or a Geo locator on it in other words people may be doing yoga in space they
may even be instagramming about it but if they don’t use a hashtag we can’t
find them people were tagging photos of Branson and so that’s what we turned up
these early tests revealed a lot about how we needed to shape our process and
rethink the stories we wanted to tell with this tool we started by getting
everyone editors and analysts in the same room so we could get instant
feedback and generate new angles on a story within minutes not days we tested
dozens of ideas from hot-button issues like the Ferguson grand jury verdict to
location-based stories like crossing borders and conflict zones to cultural
trends stories like street art from around the world we took the best
results and user tested them from there we came up with a clearer picture of
what makes a compelling dynamic index social story first its
story that represents a trend but isn’t necessarily trending when an issue
explodes on Facebook or Twitter the amount of signal noise you get is
overwhelming with tens of thousands of retweets or reactions and it’s hard to
cut through and find the best content one of our most successful stories and
user testing was about youth firearm culture gun control is a huge issue in
America today but because we weren’t following them a specific trending
hashtag we could explore everything from the hashtag my first gun to the
connection between birthday and ar-15 second it’s a story that can be shown
through people’s everyday lives though there are a relative handful of
activists and journalists hunting down stories and publishing on social media
most of what people share is from their own experience we tested a story about
trans culture that did just that gave a look into the daily living of trans
people around the world and it was incredibly successful and last it has to
be a story with multiple avenues of exploration and an opportunity for
editorial ization lots of publications do social media stories but simply
pulling 35 tweets from the yesallwomen hashtag or the crimea white hashtag
makes for a fairly flat story our users wanted to see a variety of kinds of
posts on a topic different viewpoints and experiences and then have an
editorial voice guide them through the issue as to what those posts might mean
the dynamic index is still in its infancy and there’s a lot left to
discover and we’re fine but our hope is that it becomes a platform where user
generated content moves beyond the social media story and becomes a
user-generated conversation I wanna thank Scott Cohen and Adam Pines and the
team evocative for taking a chance on me and Jake Leigh and Zoe for all their
help and support and my incredible classmates in studio 20 thanks so much Thank You Aaron perhaps you’ve noticed
the recurrence of phrases like it didn’t work and that was a failure this is a
key part of our method at Studio 20 which is we force students to test their
ideas and very often initially their initial ideas don’t work and they have
to revise what they think based on their feedback and improve from there Kristin
are you ready I am take it away Kristin hi I’m Kristin I am a radio junky and
every spring and fall during the fundraiser it occurs to me if public
radio is able to make their audience care enough to donate so much money
twice a year they must be doing something right and not only do they
fundraise well but throughout the year they have members call in and contribute
give their expertise and sometimes even build ground temperature thermometers to
contribute to reporting their audience is dedicated and truly a part of the
team with this in mind I became interested in figuring out how to make
audience engagement better throughout of all journalism particularly on the
Internet where we have more tools but aren’t taking full advantage of them an
engagement party is a project that develops a set of rules and guiding
philosophies for Taylor and engagement to specific news outlets through
research and interviews and works with a publication my media partner matter a
digital magazine to create a site-specific engagement strategy
tailored to their voice and character engaging with your audience shouldn’t be
generic it should be customized to carry your brand and voice as it spreads
across platforms the problem I wanted to solve is how can the publication create
an engagement strategy that complements their personality to me engage them into
something more than sharing I was focusing specifically on calls to action
or things that would get people to do something I tried to do this in two ways
by creating a set of best practices for site specific customized engagement
based on my research and interviews and by working with matter to create an
engagement strategy tailored to their platform and type of publication the
first way to customize engagement is to figure out one guiding characteristic
for the publication for the New York Times its quality maintained
their legacy for studio 360 it’s the ability to replay it on the radio
bringing their audience in to their shows for ProPublica it’s geared at
creating communities around their different investigations involving the
populations that are most affected this is both an overarching guideline and a
tip for designing the final product no matter what the guiding characteristic
is make the engagement strategy match the style of the publication second
develop a schedule that matches the natural rhythms found thin the ways the
new sites operate you need to have a schedule that timeline in place for
different size projects and how they integrate into your workflow the
schedule can be flexible and up can be updated
that’s agile and that’s good but you can’t reinvent the wheel for every
Twitter call-out or every crowd-sourced investigative project setting a flexible
but outline schedule will create a set of guidelines people can return to for
each new project for example at Studio 360 they use the 6-week cycle as a
guideline for every single challenge the producer leading the project will change
the topic will change the medium of the product will change but the six week
cycle remains their go-to time frame third the expectation should be set that
the journalists care about engaging with the audience this approach requires
dedicated leaders who define a culture of interaction there are two good ways
to create this culture have dedicated staff or make the staff dedicate their
time most of the organizations I spoke to have dedicated engagement editors
like Pro Publica and The Guardian but just a few have expectations built into
the staffs workflow such as studio 360 and a correspondent add a correspondent
a crowdfunded Dutch publication journalists are inspected expected to
engage with their audience members and spend a lot of time doing so the
co-founder and publisher also said that they never told their journalists to do
this exactly but that the expectation was there from the moment they were
hired to test these theories that matter we decided on three projects with a
magazine feature product as the end goal to test what the guiding characteristic
would be the first was to build a collection focusing on transparency and
building readers trust the second was a user-generated content project and
challenges for the the third was crowd-sourced reporting
and storytelling projects that allowed users to contribute their stories
themselves we also developed an engagement workflow that matches a
traditional magazine workflow so that the it integrates seamlessly into the
publication and doesn’t disrupt existing work and last we assigned an editor to
each project so that there was always someone on staff working on the project
and here last are some tips to keep in mind when planning your engagement
strategy in the same way that the news cycle is constantly changing innovation
is – it’s an ongoing process of updates traditional workflows are really hard to
infiltrate so don’t always try to fight them learn to work within them and last
and well-known amongst engagement people is not every call-out will receive a
response that’s okay keep trying keep testing to discover what works for you
and your audience the engagement party attempts to improve and Gaetti audience
engagement outreach across platforms in journalism by customizing engagement
strategies through a brief set of guidelines please take the ideas
presented here and implement them in your own newsroom I would like to thank
Jay and clay and Zoe just like everyone else
also my parents and of course everyone I worked with it matter and all of the
engagement gurus who have me take their time to interview them please let me
know later if you have any questions and thank you for your time one of the things we teach our students
in studio 20 is to first consult best practices and one of the great things
that technical people programmers have brought to journalism is a willingness
to share knowledge willingly which wasn’t always the case with
hyper-competitive reporters but it’s becoming the case in journalism today
and Kristen took advantage of that in her project okay Trent are you ready to
go take it away good evening everyone I’m
Trent now I’m from a small country in the Caribbean coach in Arad and Tobago
and we’re famous so many things such as having one of the world’s largest
carnival presentations being the home of limbo soca and calypso music and of
course steel pan however what we’re not known for is digital innovation
especially in the field of journalism so this summer I went back home and I
partnered with a cable news channel called CNC 3 to help them tackle some of
the digital problems and if we take a quick look at their website you would
see that they had many for instance they had Provo banner advertising shows I
have absolutely nothing to do with the news repair cells at an archive for
YouTube videos taken from the main newscast and the most recent comments
are over a year old if you had to compare this to any era of US media
development I would say this is something out of the late 1990s in fact
if you look at and August of 2000 they were far more developed
now Trinidad has only 1.2 million people 1.7 million people have mobile
subscriptions and they’re over 440,000 people who use their mobile devices to
access social media so taking into account this young mobile savvy
generation and the fact that in newsroom has no Wi-Fi we decided to leapfrog the
web era and go straight to mobile hence instan a tional innovation with our
borders was born the international project empowers journalists and
citizens to instantly share stories directly engage each other in the
rapidly evolving digital community of Instagram now a community 4 News does
exist on Instagram and us using our analytics as basic indicators you can
see that since we first launched eph on July 24th we have only posted 105 media
that have attracted over 1,700 followers and garnered over 2400 lights what was
most interesting is that a big top 25 media on the page almost all were photos
except for one video which is this video that a journalist took of a flood in a
small village crowdsourcing is possible on Instagram but I admit it has been
slow especially compared to Twitter where CNC 3 has over 32,000 followers we
believe this is because of the extra steps involved in uploading content to
Instagram such as trying to fit to those aspect ratios cropping images and video
however 15 people have regularly been using the CNC 3 News hashtag my favorite
being this force only left there was a flood and an alligator which we caught
came on in Trinidad came ashore and just sat in the middle of a street now let me
tell you a very interesting story about how Instagram is impacting a news
ecosystem of Trinidad and Tobago on November 5th on November 6th the
Institute of Marine Affairs they had a protest and they were tryna gets higher
salaries and wages nobody was paying attention so a contact of mine sent me
some photos and videos that we put on Instagram page and only 3rd day November
7th his director informed him that negotiations finally started because the
media was covering it on social media that being CNC 3 what was even more
interesting is that later that day other media houses started showing up to try
to catch up on what we had been doing already on CNC threes Instagram of
course to get the journalists involved we had to secure buying and to do that
we had to sell this idea to them by answering any questions so what and why
should I care no I could have easily said this is to help your country this
is to help your organization but they didn’t really care about that so we
decided you know what let’s give them a platform so they could get their own
names out there get their faces out there and build
their own brand by extension of CNC 3 to keep the momentum going on Instagram
page I have prepared this implementation for proposal document it until several
sections such as the background and importance of Instagram all the way down
to the timeline of the development of the project so as you can see Instagram
can be used as a platform for citizens to share their stories and for
journalists to engage their communities as my results are shown there’s still
room for growth but its impact on the news ecosystems of developing countries
such as Trinidad and Tobago can be great if you’re considering using this
approach at your organization be that you’re in a small start-up or going back
to developing country yourself I strongly suggested I would like to
thank J Zoe Jason samia’s Silvan Nicholas Saget C
and C 3 all of my studio 20 classmates and of course everyone back in sweet
Trinidad and Tobago thank you very alright very good what I really love about
Trent’s project is not only that we’re making change in Trinidad 2300 miles
away but that we’re leveraging the fact that the US market is in one-pointed
technological time and Trinidad and Tobago is at a different point so I hope
you understood the part of his presentation where he essentially said
we’re gonna try and skip right over the desktop era from broadcast and print to
mobile and see if it works now that’s a very big idea it’s a big ambition and
our method is to take these big ideas run a small experiment with them so that
even if you have modest results you learn a lot because you’re testing
something big catch are you ready yes take it away you’re gonna do great hi my
name is Katrina and I’m here to tell you how to learn transform our EDC newspaper
into a digital first publication and targeted to a specific needs of a niche
audience at least half of this audience meaning you guys felt that I felt you
came from somewhere broad and she felt like an outcast
we need advice and information and a new community of people and your network I
came to United States a year and a half ago and I had all these problems and I
had another one I liked my cottage cheese for breakfast
now I didn’t know where to find this in Manhattan now this and all the other
adjusting issues I mentioned our journalistic problems I’m Ukrainian I’m
a part of his 3 million community of Russian speakers in the United States
these people come from different post-soviet countries like my home
Ukraine or was it by John of Belarus we have similar cultures but we share also
the same language and we’re commonly referred as the Russians now there are
more than 50 websites TV channels newspapers magazines serving the
russian-speaking audiences in the United States they have plenty of
advertisements and they provide poor journalism and bad user experience as
you can see on the screen shots neither of these publications does what
media should do save users time and provide community no I partnered was the
oldest Russian language newspaper called form daily it was established in 1998 it
has around 5,000 subscribers and the George and million-dollar turnover in
the past years the media has a website the content is unfortunately news
aggregation and articles from the weekly print newspapers so my ambition was to
convert a legacy newspaper into a niche digital publication serving the needs of
the russian-speaking community in the United States Russian media in the
United States are fond of publishing political news and opinion pieces they
concentrate on what is happening back home form daily is no different I found
this very sad and boring so I created an online survey and I asked people what
what is their age just to know media consumption habits and what did they
expect jury was to do for them I was very happy to learn that I was not the
only one who’s bored and I was not the only one who needed cottage cheese
people needs advice on how to find Russian language tear for their kids
they want to learn when the Russian ballet is coming to New York City and
they want journalists to tell them where to buy the tickets also the audience
wants a community to interact with each other and exchange baby strollers and
books and get advice and so on so for I’m daily published completely
different things after analyzes our content I understood
that what they did is just published around 80% of news about politics they
did aggregations they just like published random news about New York
City and it’s about what is happening back home in Belarus like Ukraine or
Israel and they occasionally published some community news like once a month so
I looked into the workflow and realize that as the editorial team consists only
of three staff members and eight feel answers and a Content Manager who puts
everything online they do content for two prints newspapers and the same
content is published online them so I suggested drastic changes first there
must be for editorial beats success stories pleasure guide community news
and useful information second news from back home and from New York should be
aggregated too much energy was spent on them before thirds there must be a
community editor in charge of the social media and user interactions on the
website very importantly this new workflow would meet new content since
also new people I analyze the existent budget of this publication and proposed
to hire new people and get rid of solves some old ones like copy editor the costs
rose twice which is unfortunate but hopefully the quality would rise also
many times so what happened next I talked to his investor of forum daily I
suggested all the changes in workflow budget hiring and firing people etc and
I’ve got great news he liked to suggested changes and she
agreed to financing you editor no team for two years until the project becomes
profitable I’ll be hiding as a project I would like to say thanks to do 20
folks Zoey J also my family my stepdads Bob my mom and my fiancée and you’re
welcome to contact me if you have some questions also if you speak Russian or
would like to learn too much you’re welcome to contact me and we have budget
right now as you know thanks thank you very much Patrick I hope you understood
from Katya’s presentation that she essentially convinced the owner of this
publication to double his investment in it and create a completely new economy
for the publication so this is our final presentation and Lila are you ready yeah
okay take it away okay hello my name is Lila rap topless I worked on recording
the question with the Guardian two years ago hurricane sandy hit and it
devastated New York City and if you were also here you may have had the same
initial thought that I did which was how is the city so unprepared for that storm
how could it have flooded nine tunnels and damaged thousands of homes and cut
Lower Manhattan’s power for days and now a few years later there was another
important question lingering that I couldn’t answer and that question is we
actually say for now which really can only be answered with a host of smaller
questions like who’s making sure that the next big storm doesn’t hurt as bad
and who in the city is responsible for preparing our subways and waterfronts
and power grids for future crises most articles to come out about this this
year have given us snapshots they update us on people or ideas or events like
that building codes past or a new project was announced or how Cuomo feels
about his new transit plan and in a daily newsroom it’s good and important
to report but the structure allows little room to
some of the users most basic questions like what’s the big picture most of you
have probably been listening to serial I imagine if you haven’t this is from my
parents that’s it it’s an explosive successful new podcast that tells one
story over a series of weeks and its success is a good reminder that there’s
an appreciation out there for ambiguity and for taking on the big story and
working through it over time in the reporting style here complexity and
ambiguity aren’t part of a narrative but both of the nature of our world so it’s
still worth reporting on the questions that don’t have an obvious answer so
here’s my problem it’s hard to simplify and make sense of a complex world the
answer to are we safer affects and matters to all of our well-beings
but to understand the answer we first need to unpack the ecosystem which is
this web of agencies and committees and offices and people and plans and
policies that all work together on that goal I don’t think a person in this
audience would argue that we as journalists shouldn’t make the complex
systems that govern our lives more accessible to our users the question
that you of this project was how so this is what I tried I created a series with
the Guardian called storm proofing the city which started with the premise it’s
been two years since Hurricane sandy natural disasters caused more damage
than war are we safer a New York City resident that’s me investigates the
complex urban network meant to protect us from future storms by interviewing
the people within it within the series I did both an editorial on a technical
experiment editorially I decided to approach this
project through a series of interviews not exactly a new technique but instead
of asking these people for an update I asked them to explain their role in this
network in very simple terms and to take a whack at answering the question are we
safer and my technical experiment was to try to design the series in a smarter
way for the web usually series are set up
like unconnected topics on one broad theme or like one really long article
cut into a number of parts to be published over time and I was doing more
of a web so this is one of my interviews I made
the series web by reflecting and referencing and linking back to past
interviews within each new one and linking forward from the older ones I
also wrote a guide that defined my quest and we’re working on a conclusion of
eight takeaways from the series this structure gave users direction and some
closure it also packaged the series well for the future as another series
experiment I let people subscribe and sent them an email newsletter with each
new update and this made me six accessible to my 450 most engaged
readers and it gave me a reliable way to weeper to reach them with new
installments so I didn’t have to just cross my fingers and help they would
find it the open rate averaged at 46% which is pretty good about double the
Guardians daily u.s. newsletter finally I included a call-out for the experts
who were reading to share their knowledge and then built that knowledge
into their reporting not a lot of people wrote in 39 but half of those who did
really helped my reporting and we’re very valuable and then there’s this
excluding Twitter bots about one of every ten people who read a piece in the
series found it meaningful enough to share on social media and that’s
substantially higher than the Guardians average share rate per reader this type
of reporting isn’t linear and it’s not necessarily chronological and it’s
messier than daily reporting but there’s a place for it because it’s not until
these systems fail that we suddenly realized it could have been different if
we had known how it worked ahead of time so think of major events that have
brought a failing system to light a storm like sandy at the 2008 housing
crisis or watching two grand jury failed to indict indict the cops who killed
Darren Wilson and Michael Brown in the wake of events like these taking on the
whole system and then asking the people within it to explain it in simple terms
is a value it’s up to us to help people better understand our world one way to
do it is by reporting the question even if you don’t already know the answer
thanks for your time thanks especially to Amanda Mako for her keen guidance Jay
and claying Zoe for their brainpower my classmates
and everyone else for their support and
insight Thank You Liza so we are now going to
transition to Josh Benton who is our special can Yui yes yeah go ahead
we just have a gift for you and Zoey oh we wanted to thank you for teaching us
how to express our ideas better and think deliberately and ultimately expand
the way we think about how journalism can be so we need painting problem
t-shirts for you and endo onesie for Zoey’s hopefully after tonight will be
paid in real money okay in tears we’ve grown immensely over the past year and
we can’t I feel like a diva here thank you very
much class of 2014
Josh Benton is gonna get his presentation ready Josh for those who
don’t know him is the director of Neiman lab and another University in Cambridge
Massachusetts Nieman lab studies the same thing that our students are
studying which is how to innovate in journalism and change it for the better
and Josh’s publication Nieman lab tracks the changes that are sweeping through
journalism it reports on new and interesting developments and so I asked
Josh to total up the year in innovation and present it in a series of slides
that give us the highlights and we are paying him for this because he isn’t of
their expectations to hogr he is a professional and are you ready
Jeff sure okay take it away build-up I don’t get any more ready Thank You jafer
for having me back I was happy to be here last year to speak of this even
slideshow at this event there was actually an odd bit of timing in that
Jay was very specific and making sure that he want to make sure that my wife
came down to the to last year’s event and it just so happened this is not a
direct correlation but we had just decided in the weeks and months before
that we were gonna start trying to have a baby and we both came down to New York
and we got a hotel room and it actually looks like it’s there’s
a very good chance that our child was conceived this evening a year ago that’s
right so I’m now being paid in problems so I’m
very happy to introduce you to our son we’re thinking the coloration will leave
an out over time but we’re not we’re not sure about that actually that’s our boy
he’s very cute Dashiell Benton if you want to follow
him slash Dashiell Benton he has a lot of interesting thoughts at age
three months he is currently followed by a small
group of friends and family and colleagues and Taye Diggs for whatever
reason Taye Diggs does follow my infant son on Twitter as Jay said my goal here
is not to present some grand overarching narrative for where we are headed or
what the future of news holds or anything like that it is simply to have
a chance to look back on the past 12 months and think about what are the the
moments the ideas the initiatives the changes that I think stuck with me and
hopefully we’ll stick with others on what happened this year in the evolution
of the news ecosystem so it’s about 20 things I’ll run through them fairly
quickly and hopefully some of them will be probably something will be very
familiar to you some of you some of them may be slightly less familiar and
hopefully there are good things to think about particularly for these folks as
they go into their careers and get paid with real money as opposed to problems
let us start out with newspapers I don’t know how many of you familiar with raise
your hand if you ever heard of a newspaper it’s a printed it’s like a
iPad but you can bend it if I look back honestly on the last year there’s no
doubt what the key moment was for innovation in news in the United States
it was the release of this report I’m curious show of hands how many of
you have read some portion of this report
you I’m among my people this is a wonderful thing the New York Times
sequestered a group of it’s good journalists to spend a number of months
thinking about the state of innovation within the Times and they produce this
report entitled innovation that was initially meant for a an audience of
times executives someone thankfully decided to leak it out and the entire
news universe decided to descend on on this report I can tell you we wrote a a
lengthy if you don’t have time to read the roughly hundred pages or so and you
should make the time you can go to search for innovation your time to
innovation report on our site and you’ll find our our precis of it it is by far
the most popular posts we’ve ever done on Nieman lab over post a half a million
people have read it it’s got about 28,000 shares on Twitter and Facebook
there is this enormous hunger to understand what this report allowed
which was the the opening up of what were previously a lot of internal issues
at the times it really served as as free therapy for a lot of journalists who did
not work at the New York Times but who recognized a lot of the issues of the
report raised that the difficulty of converting a culture that was based
around certain set of print primarily print paradigms that were oriented
around sort you know reward structures and power structures and and silos all
the things that we’re preventing The Times from being all that it could be in
the digital space it’s so great that it was not written for public comment
digestion because you can see sort of the rawness in there as people describe
the the struggles that they had trying to you know get a digital career going
at the New York Times The Times has been able to benefit from that but I’ve
personally spoken to close to ten different news organizations that have
said some very enough we found we had this guy and we wanted him to write our
innovation report that this report is I think going to go down as one of the key
moments in in how news is adapted to this this digital world the other big
news of the times this year was what some people call
walls 2.0 so if you think back to how newspapers have been going have been
doing in recent years it’s a pretty sad story advertising revenue after dropping
terribly during during the recession has continued to decline somewhere in the
range of eight to nine percent every year print advertising revenue it keeps
dropping there continues to be some hope that maybe that will change but it
doesn’t seem to change and I think we’re getting beyond hope of for that changing
the only real bright spot had been for some newspapers at least circulation
revenue they started charging more for their homes subscribed to their harm
subscribers and they started digital paywalls that generated some revenue
some were relatively successful like The Times’s which has gotten about 800,000
subscribers others less so but it was one of the few areas in any newspapers
uh financial documents where item numbers were going up as opposed to down
but as is often the case with with pay walls the numbers had started to plateau
at lots and in some cases even shrink a lot of newspapers The Times went through
this previously what time selects if anyone remembers that from the last
decade they very quickly got to about 150 160 hundred seventy thousand
subscribers but then it plateaued and when they closed shut it down
quite a few months later they only had two hundred and twenty-one thousand or
so very much flattened out they were starting to see the same sort of idea
with the main times pay loss so the idea was let’s create new kinds of pay walls
new paid products that could be at a lower price point attract different
kinds of audience and maybe we’ll be able to build small these smaller mounds
into into mountains over time there were three main ideas the new NYT now which
is the app you see right here an opinion app and a cooking app things do not go
all that great your NYT now is a wonderful app I think it’s significant
better than the New York Times main app but it hasn’t generated this kind of
subscriber numbers that people were hoping for NYT opinion did so poorly
that they’ve just shut it down and decided to stop the product and the
cooking product is doing well and is lovely but it’s free in part to make
sure that they can get around this idea of not getting enough people sign up to
make it worth their while the New York Times is critical for newspapers
nationwide on this question because we saw in you know the into the last decade
at the beginning of the current one so much talk about pay walls and so little
action it really took the New York Times putting up it to pay well for lots of
other newspapers to follow and there was a lot of hope and optimism that these
pay walls these paid products were going to be a way to generate a similar sort
of sort of boom and it’s a didn’t really work out we’ll see where that takes us
in the next year I should say one thing other newspapers are trying to figure
out similar sources premium product strategies the Dallas Morning News where
I used to work as a reporter decided to create a premium proach that would give
you a better user experience if you paid a certain number of dollars a month that
didn’t work either they killed it no one’s been able to figure this out so
much so far i’ve front-loaded all the newspaper stuff cuz that’s the
depressing stuff so we’re gonna get through that and as a group we’re gonna
come together to a beautiful place I just want you to know that another big
trend this year is separation of companies they used to have print
newspapers and magazines and television and radio to a certain degree broadcast
outfits they used to all be in the same company this was the year when everyone
basically decided to split up it was a sad divorce for a number of times the TV
a number of company is Gannett which was the largest newspaper company in the
United States and had a very large television presence they decided they
were just gonna split into two companies so that the newspaper side would no
longer drag down the TV side the Tribune Company did the same thing decided to
send its its newspapers out on an ice floe to figure out its own future
loading it down with a lot of heavy debt and things of that sort
Journal communications scripts did a similar sort of split in Time Inc in the
magazine world was split away from its previous happy space what this really
means is that there used to be a bit more breathing room for newspapers than
there is today there used to used to be a part of a larger media concern going
forward they’re gonna be having their own
their own profit and loss that is the the entity of the entirety of the entity
and yeah this is the depressing part I’m sorry how about we look at Jeff Bezos
laughing is that gonna help because one of the good things about this year was
the remarkable rebound that the Washington Post has seen Jeff Bezos was
of course of course the the founder of and an extraordinarily
wealthy individual who has a remarkable laugh and he was part of one of the big
trends of 2014 that is our 2013 which has continued on which is billionaires
buying media outlets because they now sell for roughly the amount of change in
their their couch cushions although he did pay 250 million dollars very
generously for The Washington Post it’s remarkable how little innovation there
has been at most American newspapers around the business model if I were to
describe the narrative of the last decade it has been o our revenue dropped
four percent five percent twenty percent in the really bad years I guess we’ll
cut expenses the same amount and basically keep doing the same thing that
we were doing that sort of claustrophobia financially led to a lot
of newspapers they really didn’t know anything other than cutting that’s all
they really knew what to do when when Jeff Bezos arrived and but the
Washington Post he said I give you runway for some period of time for a
number of years you don’t really have to worry about making making a profit and
it’s remarkable to see the explosion of new products and new ideas that have
come out of that experience in the in the post I mean a lot of the credit goes
to Marty Baron in the newsroom but you have a very interesting network strategy
where they’re now offering digital subscriptions to pay paying customers of
other American newspapers so if you get the Toledo Blade and you subscribe to it
you get digital access to the Washington Post is a throne and benefit trying to
become a national newspaper without being a national print newspaper it’s
really a kind of remarkable strategy and it’s amazing what a little bit of
breathing room can do to the talents of people who work there the last newspaper right up then we can
move on Gannett not the most loved newspaper company in the world the one
that has has a lot of scale and sited this year that they were going to
blow up their newsrooms in a far more extensive way than then other newspaper
companies have done as I said before most newspapers have simply just shrunk
a little bit more every year it’s not really defining a path forward one of
the exceptions there is the advance newspapers owned by the family that owns
Conde Nast in New Orleans in Cleveland in Portland they have decided to take a
different path forward it’s a very unpopular path and path involves firing
a lot of journalists but at least it’s a different path good at this year to join
them they decided to really reinvent their newsrooms which you can describe
negatively as they fired a whole bunch of journalists and made everyone else
apply for their jobs again but you could also describe it as the kind of
transformation that they might need to imagine a digital future not quite ready
to endorse what they did because it’s pretty problematic but nonetheless as an
outside observer after seeing newspapers just sort of die a little bit more every
day it’s nice to see someone trying something a little bit different alright
let’s move to mobile phones that’s happier right everyone likes
mobile phones so this was the year when the mobile majority finally arrived
we’ve been talking about it for a while and it’s been sort of the thing that the
the the tech person in your newsroom might have been mentioning a year or two
ago that hey these things are gonna be important and stuff we didn’t always get
traction within the organization a year ago you saw places that we’re starting
to get around 30% of their traffic news organizations 30% of their traffic for
mobile devices and then they started to see a majority mobile experience on
weekends and and evenings now you’re seeing a lot of large news companies are
saying they are just majority mobile period that is where the audiences
companies like CNN and ESPN now this is where the first year I think you could
say that every media company is taking mobile seriously which is kind of a sad
statement given that the iPhone is not something that was invented yesterday
but nonetheless it does seem like there has been some some advancement part of
that advancement is that you’re seeing companies trying to monetize on mobile
significantly more I don’t know about you but when I see go to newspaper sites
on my phone there the ads are much more intrusive
they’re pop over to take over the entire page they are not the small banners that
they used to use to deal with earlier this week mark Thompson the CEO
of the times company said that the majority of the times is digital traffic
comes on mobile devices now but only 10% of their digital ad revenue comes from
mobile devices and that’s the problem they’re trying to fix just when we
thought we were going from dollars to dimes in the transition from print to
the web I think the half penny is not a coin
anymore but it’s something along that scale when you go down to mobile so
hopefully uh there’ll be some attention paid there as well the other thing
that’s happened this year it’s happened this is an ongoing thing
but phones are getting really really big of course Android phones have been have
been big for some time but with the debut of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6
plus and the iPhone 6 cubed yeah whatever other exponential iPhones
they’re maybe you’re seeing changes in how people are actually acting this for
example is some interesting data from pocket the read it later service this
they looked at users of pocket who have both an iPhone and an iPad and they
looked at how the usage of their app was split between those two platforms so you
can see for people who had the iPhone five six the old iPhone holders and you
know was the new iPhone six months ago and if an iPad about 55% of their
reading was done on the phone for iPhone 6 users 72% of their reading is done on
the phone for iPhone 6 plus users 80% of their readings on the phone as our
phones are getting bigger that is where we’re going to for our media consumption
they also found that video these users were more like were 40 percent more
likely to watch a video on their iPhone 6 plus than they were on an iPhone 5s
the bigger screens change user behavior this has a pretty significant impact on
what I think is now the fairly discredited dream that a lot of media
companies particularly in this city had and with the debut of the iPad the idea
that the tablet would be the place to recapture the old business model that a
magazine company would create this replica edition that would be just like
the old magazine but you could touch things and things would happen that
dream has led to a lot of expenses and a lot of investment and not a huge amount
of return and I think that combined with the fact that iPad sales are
in actually declining year-over-year now I think we can say that the overemphasis
on tablets over phones that the media industry had over the last five years
it’s officially a bad idea we could say was unofficially a bad idea before now I
think it’s official but what’s interesting is that we’ve been waiting
for a new sort of mobile mobile native news experience to come along and it
nothing is really stuck with the audience I’m not thinking of things like
Flipboard that our aggregator is fundamentally thinking of us number of
startups being one circa being another now this news which is now
just now this you can sort of see what they were where that what direction
they’re moving all of which were based around the idea that we need to create
content that especially do you design for phones that you can’t just
repurchased as you couldn’t repurpose print material onto the web you can’t
just take web material and put it onto phones there are tons of good ideas in
all of these all of these apps that none of them seem to really actually achieve
success with readers or users or subscribers and they’re all in various
states of I wanna say disrepair but they’re they’re there none of them is
really just knocking out of the park right now so I think we’re still gonna
have to wait and to see what what is the new mobile experience that people are
gonna kind of connect with BuzzFeed’s gonna be coming out with a new native
news app for phones next year and I’ll be interested to see if that can advance
that idea also on mobile phones we did see improvements this year with with
push alerts and notifications well if you think about it as more of your news
consumption comes on phones particularly for all the people who have iPhones
where they’re newspaper apps are sadly buried inside that newsstand icon that
you never touch you need to be more accurately and more usefully interrupted
if you want people to read your content and the New York Times for example
always had the difficulty of having Universal push notifications to everyone
whether you lived in New York or whether you lived in Taiwan so I remember for a
long time I was getting lots of alerts about what New York state senator had
stabbed someone recently and I just didn’t really care that much because I
didn’t have a New York State to call my own over and then last and
one of the recent iterations of their iPhone have they now let you decide I
don’t want any New York local notifications or give me lots of
business notifications it’s not quite at the level of granularity that the
breaking news out from NBC News Digital has which i think is still the state of
the art there but in particular as we move towards this device coming out in a
few months and others that will join it this is basically just a window into
notifications that’s sort of all it is so as well it may sound rude to say we
need to get better at interrupting people we really need to get better at
interrupting people and I think we made some strides this year but there’s a
long way to go social we all live in this man’s world it’s kind of sad even
people who just had room who were just his roommates now how the ability to
radically change news organizations just as roommate you I just had to live with
him for like three semesters in like the early 2000s and you get to do things to
a magazine this was a big year for face book face anyone who runs a new site
will tell you that set traffic from Facebook really skyrocketed this year a
huge and really growing share to the point that people were starting to voice
concerns about being overly dependent on Facebook traffic and how that changed
the kind of content you wanted to produce the same sort of things we used
to hear about Google and don’t hear quite so much from about Google anymore
frankly for a lot of people who read news and other content the Facebook is
the Internet it’s there the entirety of the universe online that they work with
if you may remember over the last couple years we’ve had a lot of discussion
around dark social you ever even remember dark social dark social was the
idea that because of an old quirk and how traffic is labeled in your analytic
software there was lots of traffic coming from sources that we didn’t know
what the source was the idea that you were getting this traffic to this
article and you couldn’t quite figure out why and the label of dark social was
put over that well alexis magical the the the guy who came up with that name
did the further analysis and basically dark social is just more facebook it’s
just more Facebook it’s I don’t know what the Star Wars metaphor would be
like if you remove the mask and underneath is another mask
same ass gettin underneath if that’s another mass for the same mass so much
so that you know this year Facebook experimented with putting a satire tag
on on articles that were that were from places like the onion and other places
that say things that are not strictly speaking true in part because again this
there in the context of no context if you have no idea what it’s just another
link on Facebook that you just see the headline you may think it’s completely
accurate this is a larger problem that existed with the web as well I will
confess when I was speaking on I got speak on bloomberg television about this
decision a few months ago and I called my mom because you call your mom when
you’re gonna be on television and I said hey this is what I’m gonna do you should
tune in if you want and she said oh what’s it about and I explained and I
said like you know like some people who don’t know what the onion is and my
mother said so should maybe just put a satire tag on a lot of stuff this year
with Twitter Twitter really I think matured as a service even though it was
having a really rough year as a company it continued to churn through new
product leads the growth the growth levels were not as strong as as
investors we’re hoping it just sort of seems to be a confused company that
isn’t quite sure what it is but at the same time this year if you look like
this was a year when you really solidified Twitter’s role in social
justice movements in sort of it is where the mob convenes the mob for good and
the mob for ill you can think of it things like Ferguson you can also think
of things like our friends at gamergate who just came out today I just saw it’s
about ethics and he gave me journals in case your when he looked about and
things like gamergate it really shows the power of the of these communities to
to to convene and while they they used in a lot of platforms including reddit
very primary for them Twitter it was really much even more so than before the
heartbeat of the conversation about news today so it’s kind of sad that their
company seems a little bit rudderless none of you saw today Gawker media
capital New York had a report saying that Gawker lost seven figures in income
from gamergate attack on their on their advertisers in the middle of
all that nonsense one way that Twitter is is evolving is
you know through BOTS and automated services this is one that for all of us
who were watching the World Cup this this this summer who were doing that
when we should have been doing our actual paid work but we’re instead
streaming things on our phone or on our computers this was a Twitter bot called
replay last goal that would actually was beautiful in its simplicity it
identified a European national public broadcaster that was streaming all the
games live online essentially create created a fake server in that country so
they could get access to this then notice then found a Twitter account that
was automatically tweeting whenever a goal was scored it was caching a minutes
worth of video from each game whenever it noticed that a goal had been scored
it would then go back and gather up automate automatically no humans
involved in this process video of the goal tweeted out make an animated gif
out of it all of this happening with with no real human intervention and it
really raises a lot of interesting intellectual property issues because
FIFA shut them the hell down because they have no interest in in this sort of
material getting out there without you paying many billions of dollars in
rights fees but as we see more and more BOTS coming coming forward that more and
more things that can automatically generate what you need and what you what
you want at any given moment I mean it’s gonna be a big part of increasing
Twitter’s value another thing we really saw this year was a new appreciation of
chat apps something that had been sort of had of course chatting on your phones
is not a new activity but nonetheless you saw them really being exposed as
engines for quite a bit of traffic we did a story on getting some data from a
spanish website that found that in a lot of cases the what’s that button on their
on their mobile webview was being used significantly more than the Facebook or
the Twitter or the Google+ for godsakes a button and was actually generating
significantly more traffic when you think about when someone shares
something on Facebook or Twitter there at least theoretically sharing it for an
audience of a significant number of people most sharing on a platform
like what’s that is one-to-one but nonetheless the the value of that
traffic was such that it was outnumbering Facebook in a lot of cases
we every year at the Nieman lab run a series of predictions for the next year
that starts on Monday if you’re interesting going to Neiman Labrador but
I’ll give you a sneak peak of one that will be in there this is from Jamie
Mottram who is a at USA Today sports who runs for the win which is their viral
sports site and he his prediction furniture was everyone’s gonna start
adding SMS chair buttons to their content they replaced a Twitter button
with an SMS button and again it’s used three to four times as often so this
it’s there’s a weird way in which social media has been viewed by news
organizations as a version of the old broadcast for me that we always head
it’s all about performing for an audience right but these chat apps
really show and it’s what it will differ from country to country and environment
to environment but they show that direct sharing is smaller a number but
significantly more powerful a lot of cases because you will take that direct
notice from your friend significally better than the 10,000 tweets in your
stream the rise of social has also meant that a lot of news organizations thought
about their home pages in different ways courts decided to change their homepage
to represent a daily briefing Vox and the guardian both try clustering by
subject in ways that are kind of interesting it’s easy to talk about the
death of the homepage and lots of people who write stories on the Internet talk
about that quite a bit but even Vox media still gets about 30
to 35% of his visits or if someone going to the home page we can always talk
about how people come in on links on Twitter links on Facebook and that’s
disproportionately true for the people in this room but it’s not true for
everybody yet in home pages do still matter and the last thing on this point
we had lots of interesting debates this year about what is clickbait how do you
define what clickbait is because no one wants to say it have a definition that
includes anything positive that they like clickbait has to be shunned it has
to be sent away it has to be hidden in the Attic there are lots of debates over
when BuzzFeed when BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith came forward and said that he did not
think that what BuzzFeed it’d qualified as clickbait others others disagree with
that its clickbait content that makes a promise that it doesn’t fulfill like a
headline that essentially promises something and then
the story doesn’t meet it is it just sort of content that you find beneath
your audience or his content you don’t like producing yourself I think the
further debates about what exactly its clickbait are gonna be fairly important
for the going forward lastly let’s talk about two business models big trend this
year native advertising this is David Ogilvy this is a line from confessions
of an advertising man from 1962 or so I forgive Mad Men era I think you’re
required to say when you discuss anything involving advertising in the
1960s this is one where there’s no need for advertisements to look like
advertisements if you make them look like editorial pages you’ll attract
about 50% more readers you might think the public would resent this trick
there’s no evidence to suggest that they do this was really the year that native
advertising went mainstream there’s no longer just something that the
BuzzFeed’s of the world were doing it was some of the New York Times was doing
and the Wall Street Journal was doing and the Washington Post were doing it
really has moved it it’s in the big ten now that leads to a whole host of
questions journalists continue to hate it all even though they can native
appetising generates much higher levels of revenue than other post other forms
of advertising it’s here and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon so I
think it’s important for journalists people care about those stuff to really
be vigilant about making sure that things are clearly labeled and that
advertising and editorial content are distinguished appropriately I have a big
question that I’ll be curious about the next year is that I really wonder even
though projections for native advertising just you know are a giant
swooping asymptotic curve I kind of wonder if there’s gonna be a bubble of
native advertising it is a place where a lot of money is going I kind of wonder
if a lot of folks who are paying a lot of money for I got to realize not many
people read any of these things but maybe that’s just my inner skeptic we
also saw the rise of duckbill platypuses this year
platypi know the plateau sure okay this is another shame in question raise your
hand if you know what a plateau sure is you are the ones if you’re not raising
and you’re very lucky you don’t live in my world you’re sort of my people but
you don’t live in my world Plateau sure is a term that was invented in February
it’s actually a fairly useful term which is why I’m willing to put a picture of a
half mammal duck on the screen for you
plotter sure is meant to be an organization that is a combination of a
platform and a publisher so think of Gawker Gawker Media you they have
reporters who write things but they also have the audience who writes things and
the idea is that the content is supposed to be both both first-class citizens
whatever it where it’s coming from medium is a great example this anyone
who you could go write a post on medium but medium also pays pretty good money
to peeps you professional journalists to write content and you it’s really hard
to tell the difference between the stuff that got paid 10 grand for and the stuff
that was written by a crazy person the idea here is that you have the the
veneer of the really quality stuff and that sort of adds a certain amount of
gravitas and grandeur to the rest of this stuff and you’ve seen a number of
places that have really pursued as BuzzFeed of course that’s just with the
BuzzFeed community model as well there are a lot of problems with this
model which is almost like clockwork every time you open this up platform up
to every one people will go post incredibly terrible racist any submit a
just just the worst things think of think of the worst of humanity and they
are almost certainly writing on medium and this is a real challenge
particularly since the the model for making money for most of these is native
advertising so that’s all about brand equity and we’ll see if they can
continue to build it up just yesterday I was looking at medium was taking down
with forced to take down post by someone who was basically calling for the mass
murderer of all women because women are terrible and these sorts of things
happen and that’s the challenge of being a pleasure it will not speak that word
again tonight not really an innovation but this is the year that Texas Tribune
turned five section should be honest is the most successful local nonprofit news
site in America by some margin they have a team of over a dozen journalists who
cover the Statehouse who do really terrific work they had built a
sustainable revenue model that that generates over five million dollars a
year they’re really quite tremendous the enforcement and flip side of this is
that most local news nonprofit news sites have not had their success we’re
seeing a lot of struggling from a lot of places that may have some fine
journalistic instincts but don’t have the business
mindset or the or the revenue possibilities or who are doing good work
but really have struggled terribly to find an audience for that work so I
think if we could look back on 2015 at being year from now I think we’ll
probably see there will be some some some blood on the floor there we heard
earlier about day correspondent the the Dutch site that is his crowd funded this
was a big year for the Netherlands it really was not just in soccer it was a
really big year for new sites in the Netherlands you had a correspondent you
had glendol which is a new startup that is aiming to be the iTunes for news that
people have been talking about and I I have been discounting for a long time in
rcq you all across Scandinavia a lot of interesting stuff we’re really starting
to see a shift away from the United States being the country that has the
most disrupted media system and therefore the most interesting stuff
going on we’re now seeing places where was often where there were smaller
language communities where there’s not that much going on in Swedish or there’s
not that much going on in Dutch that’s metal its media companies that have
resources have been able to do interesting things so keep looking to
our Dutch friends we saw voxcom launch and debut this this year Lots you could
say about voxcom but the one thing I want to point out is that they launched
it from the initial hiring of ezra klein and the start of the process to the
debut was only about nine weeks that’s a pretty tremendous startup time for it
for a news organization when MVP in this case is not me and Most Valuable Player
I mean Madison Bumgarner it in fact means Minimum Viable Product a very
common term that I’m sure these people have heard way too much of in the past
eighteen months or so we’re really starting to see this is a good example
that sort of DNA getting into the news business you do have on the downside
sites like the gun crisis project in Philadelphia and homicide Watson DC
crime projects that that were very lauded and did a lot of good work to
basically go out of business or curtail their work there’s a lot of money being
pumped into the news business from a venture capital perspective right now
but the funding is far from universal almost done I promise
The New Yorker did a big redesign this year which again there are lots of
interesting things that you could think you could
about switching to a metered paywall model well I think it’s kind of maybe
the most interesting to me is that they decided not to have premium content the
the long pieces from the magazine the archives of John McKee as as one kind of
content and the relatively quickly blog post is a different kind of content the
way that Mita works is if you read 720-thousand epics about granite from
the archives or whether you read seven short blog posts about the day’s news
that they’re both trigger that pay well in the same way the idea that the New
York would value those kinds of content equally is it kind of an interesting
move we heard about serial earlier on if you saw this you meant this may have
been after you were getting ready to come over here but Best Buy
and if you listen to Best Buy tweeted something today saying Best Buy should
never tweet to Best Buy should never tweet about murder that’s the thing they
should not do if you listen to the show a big element is whether there’s a
payphone I’ve just Best Buy where this murder
allegedly happened and Best Buy tweeted something to the effect today of Best
Buy you’re a source for everything except payphones hash tag cereal which
is terrible like record time from tweet to apology for tweet just they say the
new cycle is shortening and I think we can see that here but this year did
really mark the 19300 48th time that someone said podcasts are really booming
they seem to bloom every few months or so but in this year we I think we really
did see a significant increase in the mainstream attention being paid to
podcasting which opens up a lot of potential the last thing I will say a
final challenge to you since it’s rare that I get to speak to a group of people
who thought about these issues and know as much about these issues as as you do
in part and I have a piece about that’s coming out tomorrow so you can read it
right and just tell you in 30 seconds one thing that I’ve noticed is that we
there’s so much interesting stuff going on in the news world so much interesting
innovation so many new startups new products new projects new technologies
and they are all really great for the kind of people
who come to events like this I think we’re really seeing a growing gap
between a news upper-class that knows about all the tools knows about all the
platforms knows about all the sites and knows how to and wants to use them and
the broad masses for whom Facebook is the entire Internet in an era when
everyone read the same newspapers everyone is in quotation marks there
when everyone read the same newspapers never one watch dan Rather or Peter
Jennings or Walter Cronkite we had there was a certain unity to to that to the
news consumption experience and I think that you see that mostly through the
through local TV news local TV news is still today in 2014 the number one way
that Americans get their news local TV news is not something I ever watched I
don’t know that’s true for anyone else in this room if NoCal TV news is on in
my house that means there there’s a sporting event and it ended and we did
not change the channel on time that’s all that means but nonetheless I just
want us to there’s a parting thought think about all the energy that goes
into creating these amazing new tools and think how are you going to create
those tools and those platforms and those experiences in such a way that
they are low friction enough that they are easy enough that they are the user
experience is good enough that the kind of people who just want to watch 30
minutes of local television news that they’re gonna get their news that way
because I really do worry about that growing gap we have the most if you are
interested in a subject there is more information for you at than ever before
in human history but there’s a big gap between those people and everybody else
and so I would love it if we spent 2015 thinking about products for the
everybody else that’s all I got okay you got to give me two more minutes
for thanks and then we’re done first of all
Josh Benton great job I’m so glad you agreed to do this
because I really think you probably know more about this subject than anybody in
the world I try to follow the same things that Josh was talking to you
about tonight I try to follow myself and understand and I put them in my Twitter
feed and I know when josh is excited about something I should understand it
and what he’s skeptical about something that I have to kind of question it so
it’s it’s great to have you here as a fellow traveler in this field so thank
you secondly there’s a lot of people here
who supported our students whether you’re their parents which is one kind
of support or you are partners they work with in their projects or your friends
or there’s people here who came to speak to our students this year all of you are
participants in this learning project of ours and I and I really want to thank
you hugely for for your contributions and
then finally to these students who are graduating you guys did amazing tonight
you like blew me away and I have to say goodbye to you so that’s a little bit
sad but just the way that you put everything together the way you improved
your presentations from 48 hours ago when they sucked now and as I was
listening to you I realized that every one of you was testing some big idea
something something huge and no matter how modest your results were the fact
that you put yourselves out there and risked your ideas is hugely inspiring to
me so that’s what this and next year we’ll do it again I hope
you’ll come if you’re invited we’re adjourned

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