Build engagement, one reader at a time | Long-form can work on mobile | Making Census data easy

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

May 10, 2016: A trio of news media stories, videos, and data viz compiled weekly. Get notified via email? Email 3toread (at)

  1. How to build audiences by engaging your community: The term, “building engagement”, is one of the most over-used in journalism, to the point it means everything to nearly nothing. But here comes a thoughtful, well-researched series of stories by Monica Guzman for the American Press Institute on practical steps newsrooms can take for, yes, building engagement. A good read.
  2. Yes, indeed — long-form on mobile can work: As mobile use soars, one of the big questions for newsrooms is whether readers will read long-form stories, on a device where bouncing in and out of apps and stories seems to be the norm. Can readers stick with complicated, thoughtful stories that can take awhile to read? The Pew Research Center answers: Yes, readers do spend more time on long-form stories than shorter articles, to a point. Not a ton of time more, but there is a measurable difference.
  3. Making mining Census data easy: Want US Census data, but hate the obtuse, counter-intuitive Census site as much as I do? Well, there is an excellent alternative: Data USA. It’s simple and intuitive, plus allows embeds, maps, and allows all sorts of cool uses. I don’t usually do app reviews, but I’m making an exception for this for two reasons: 1.) It comes out of the MIT Media Lab, where I work and I love this, and 2.) Did I tell you how much I hate the Census site? Check it out.
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Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.