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Need to Know: How to avoid burnout, how CMS's are becoming mobile-friendly, and what exactly is the 'mainstream media'?

Need to Know
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism

You might have heard: Facebook and Google dominate online ad revenue in the U.S., and Facebook has focused its efforts on growing video on the platform

But did you know: Facebook and Google are expected to expand their digital ad dominance as Facebook’s video efforts attract advertisers (Wall Street Journal)
A new report from eMarketer suggests that digital ad spending is expected to grow by 16 percent this year, and Facebook and Google’s dominance is expected to grow, too. Google’s U.S. revenue from digital ads is expected to grow by about 15 percent, while Facebook’s is expected grow by about 32 percent. And as Facebook places an emphasis on promoting video content, eMarketer’s report suggests that this has been successful in attracting advertisers: “Facebook’s users are increasingly captivated by videos on the platform — not just on Facebook but on Instagram as well. Video, both live and recorded, is a key driver of growing user engagement and advertiser enthusiasm,” wrote eMarketer forecasting analyst Monica Peart in the report.

+ Noted: Axios already has plans to add a dozen more staff members before the end of 2017 as it expands into science coverage (Vanity Fair); “The battle for supremacy [between The New York Times and Washington Post] has transcended daily stories and is throwing off innovative ideas that make both newspapers better,” as well as take hold in other news organizations (Poynter); Google is adding a tag for “upsetting-offensive” content, explicitly avoiding the term “fake news” (Search Engine Land); Tronc pulls out of a deal to purchase Us Weekly from Wenner Media, leaving the magazine open to purchase by American Media (The Street)


4 questions nonprofit newsrooms and funders have about their evolving relationships
More news organizations are turning to nonprofit and foundation support as a way to support their journalism, but taking money from private foundations comes with its own ethical issues concerning how news organizations maintain their editorial independence. At an event hosted by the Center for International Media Assistance, a panel including API’s executive director Tom Rosenstiel discussed those questions and others — including how funders can support an environment for independent journalism and what’s OK for funders to ask for in terms of measurement.


Standing out on mobile might mean making tweaks to your CMS (Digiday)
To get editors more focused on how content appears on mobile, Max Willens reports that some publishers are making tweaks to their CMS. For example: Vox Media gives editors a preview of how stories will look on mobile within its in-house CMS Anthem, while the text editor inside BuzzFeed’s CMS starts small and only expands as as writers add more text to it. “These moves aren’t intended to change how these publishers monetize their mobile sites,” Willens writes. “But they are a notable step toward emphasizing readers’ experiences on mobile, an important hedge against the design homogeneity imposed by products like Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles, that also opens the door for future experimentation with things like Google’s Progressive Web Apps.”

+ A tool to make checking crowd sizes easier: MapChecking estimates how many people could be in a specific geographic area (Poynter)


German Justice Ministry proposes fining social media platforms up to €50 million for failing to remove illegal content fast enough (The Verge)
The German Justice Ministry has proposed a draft law that would fine social media companies up to €50 million (about $53.2 million) for failing to remove hate speech, “fake news,” threats or other illegal content fast enough. As part of the law, the ministry is also asking social media companies to name one person responsible for handling the complaints — and in cases where the company doesn’t respond fast enough, that person could be fined up to €5 million (about $5.3 million). Under the law, content that is “obviously illegal” would have to be removed within 24 hours, while other reported content that is later determined to be illegal would have to be removed within 7 days.

+ "The self-commitments of the companies led to initial improvements. But these are not sufficient. Too few comments are deleted. And they're not being deleted quickly enough,” said German Justice Minister Heiko Maas (Deutsche Welle)

+ Axel Springer is trying to offset losses from newsstand sales with online classified ads (Wall Street Journal)


Tips for avoiding burnout: Take your vacation time and look for development opportunities outside the newsroom (Poynter)
This week’s installment of Poynter’s Local Edition series takes on how journalists can avoid burnout. Poynter’s Kristen Hare talked to journalists about what they do ensure their jobs stay enjoyable. Some things you can do yourself include making sure to take time off from work, realizing that you can’t do everything you once did with fewer resources, and focusing on your work/life balance. Some tips for how managers can help employees include fostering an environment where employees can learn from each other, look for development opportunities outside the newsroom, praise your employees when they do good work, and reward them (whether that comes in the form of paying them more or something else).


Fixing the problem of ‘fake news’ means fixing larger problems within journalism (Backchannel)
“Even if [Facebook’s] efforts evolve into a robust strategy for combatting online fabrications, we will not have succeeded in fixing fake news  —  because what we mean to do is fix journalism,” Jessi Hempel writes. “Too often, we conflate fake news with biased news and badly reported news. To restore journalism so that it can continue to function as our fourth estate—holding powerful people accountable and providing the language for common conversation in our country.” To get to the root of the problem, Hempel says we need to look at all three issues — false news, biased news and badly reported news.

+ Gary Weiss asks, should journalists band together against Trump — or is that short-sighted? “News people are simply not into the ‘injury to one is an injury to all’ brand of solidarity. Journalists are never going to adopt that credo. But if we stop worrying so much about access, and push back against the tactics of Trump and his supporters, we’re not just being altruistic. If we stand with reporters who are attacked — physically or on the Internet — by Trump acolytes, we’re not taking sides against the administration. We’re not adopting the ‘resistance’ tactics of activists, nor should we. We’re just doing our jobs. By helping each other, we’re helping ourselves,” Weiss writes (CJR)


What news organizations make up the ‘mainstream media’? (Washington Post)
The term “mainstream media” is one that gets thrown around a lot — but also one without a clear definition. Erik Wemple delves into the varying definitions of mainstream media: If you go by the White House Correspondents’ Association’s seating chart, then Fox News is part of the “mainstream” — but Fox News also puts itself in opposition to the “mainstream media.” “To qualify as part of the generally-recognized community of independent, professional journalists, a news organization must follow certain basic rules: separate fact from opinion, avoid conflicts of interest, eschew ideology, put the First Amendment first, stuff like that,” says former Washington Post managing editor Robert Kaiser.


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