The Future of News

Or "Reality Bytes"

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Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block

…this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it.

Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block,” Julia Angwin, ProPublica.com

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Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all.
In “A Note to Our Readers,” the New Yorker’s editors announce that NewYorker.com has gone responsive, they’re posting all content online and it’s all unlocked for the summer, they’re implementing a meter in the fall and all print archives, back to 2007, are now available.

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"Social Media Tuesdays" teach journalists at USA Today how to think like their readers

For Social Media Tuesdays, the staff must act as if there is no other way to get their articles except through sites likes Facebook and Reddit. That means USA Today’s journalists diligently place each of their famously punchy, graphic-rich stories onto various social media platforms. The purpose is to get them thinking like their readers, who increasingly get news through their Twitter feeds instead of the paper’s front page or home page.

For now, he and USA Today’s editor in chief, David Callaway, are coming up with all sorts of strategies to drive Internet traffic. All of the paper’s journalists have tools allowing them to track the online viewership of their stories. An electronic board displayed prominently in the newsroom tracks overall top performers. Reporters are not penalized if their articles do not make the list, but their skills at promoting their articles online are considered as important as front page bylines.

A premium is placed on reporters’ speed and digital output. Because search engines give higher rankings to USA Today’s original content rather than wire service stories, Mr. Kramer has insisted that 95 percent of its digital content is produced in-house — and goes up quickly. Only 15 percent of the USA Today online stories run in the print edition. “Reporters have to write 5- and 30-minute stories,” Mr. Kramer said.

USA Today Goes Viral,” Leslie Kaufman, NYT

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For media companies, blending print & digital cultures remains a work in progress

[Vineet Nayar, vice chairman of HCL Technologies] offered a three-step process for organizational transformation.

Step 1: Create dissatisfaction.

“It’s very important to say, everything is not OK,” Nayar said. “A lot of companies sell a dream that they’re the greatest company in the world. If that’s the way you feel, then how will you change?

Step 2: Create a compelling vision.

An organization’s vision has to be “so compelling that it will make people jump out of their bed and go work for you,” he explained.

Step 3. Experiment with new ideas.

Testing and learning has become a mantra for digital businesses, but too many organizations continue to make assumptions and decisions based on past performance. 

“If you ask employees to help shape and change the ideas you are testing, they will work hard to make them successful.”

For media companies, blending print & digital cultures remains a work in progress,” Rob O’Regan, LinkedIn

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Soon enough, almost all human activity and the Internet will be inextricable.

They Have Seen the Future of the Internet, and It Is Dark,” Quentin Hardy, NYT on the PewResearch Internet Project report, “Net Threats.”

From the report:

The Net Threats These Experts Fear

  • Actions by nation-states to maintain security and political control will lead to more blocking, filtering, segmentation, and balkanization of the Internet.
  • Trust will evaporate in the wake of revelations about government and corporate surveillance and likely greater surveillance in the future.
  • Commercial pressures affecting everything from Internet architecture to the flow of information will endanger the open structure of online life.
  • Efforts to fix the TMI (too much information) problem might over-compensate and actually thwart content sharing.