Five on Friday: comment bots, student readers, WhatsApp stories

The way we were

The ever-excellent folk at NewsWhip are taking us back in time to look at how publishing to and distribution on social platforms has changed in the past few years — all backed up with their data.

No wonder the ghost looks sad

My usual reaction to posts that call time on a network/technology is extreme caution while reading, but this from Owen Williams is great — a really thoughtful read on audience behaviour and “growing up” with different platforms.

Tell me a story

There’s now a version of stories for WhatsApp — seemingly a direct introduction by Facebook of Instagram’s feature. Possibly a more useful way for news orgs to interact there?

Get some Perspective

Now, good comment thread moderation and community management relies on investment in tech and people, but this development is interesting as a way to supercharge human moderators:

Jigsaw, the Google-owned technology incubator, released a tool Thursday that uses machine-learning algorithms to separate out the worst comments that people leave online.
The tool, called Perspective, learned from the best: It analyzed the Timesmoderators’ decisions as they triaged reader comments, and used that data to train itself to identify harmful speech.

Sponsor a habit

Aiming to get the next generation hooked on reading the New York Times, the news organisation’s ‘sponsor a student’ scheme seems to be going great guns. For every sponsorship pledged, the Times is matching the amount.

I’m a freelance journalist and digital media consultant. You can look at my work on or chat to me on Twitter @lauraoliver.