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3 to read
Letter sent on Apr 27, 2016

3 to read: Respecting the audience | 5 points on copyright | Is Facebook’s latest tweak good for news?

By Matt Carroll <@MattatMIT>

A busy, interesting week in journalism:

  1. A serious problem the news industry does not talk about — its audience: Too many journalists treat their audience with disdain and as the “great unwashed,” argue Jennifer Brandel of Hearken and Andrew Haig of Groundsource. How to transform journalists’ thinking? Start by thinking of the audience as intelligent individuals, and not as an ignorant mass. Some practical tips and examples.
  2. 5 points to remember about copyright & breaking news: The story is hot, breaking, and there are amazing pictures on Twitter. But before grabbing those pictures for publication, think first. Copyright issues have led to million-dollar-plus court verdicts against publishers. Practical tips on handling these common situations.
  3. Facebook’s latest algorithm tweak is (take your pick: good, bad) for newsrooms: Facebook will pay more attention to how much time they expect readers to spend on an article. A good thing for more in-depth journalism, right? Definitely… maybe, says Fortune’s Mathew Ingram. The bottom line is that journalists have a poor understanding of how Facebook’s algorithm works, which leaves them guessing about new effects every time it’s tweaked.

Matt Carroll runs the Future of News initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

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