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Friday Reading
Letter sent on Jan 8, 2016

Friday Reading S03E04

It’s my first weekly round-up of 2016. Things I read on the internet about media, technology, politics and other stuff that interests me, which I thought you might like to read too. Over the weekend, or on the way home from work on a Friday. Simple really.

There’s a crushing reality that everybody is posting too much content to Facebook to expect everybody on Facebook to have time to see or interact with it. And that means that the way Facebook selects the stories people see has become a pressing concern for publishers.

“The news feed algorithm’s outsize influence has given rise to a strand of criticism that treats it as if it possessed a mind of its own — as if it were some runic form of intelligence, loosed on the world to pursue ends beyond the ken of human understanding.”

Who Controls Your Facebook Feed” — Will Oremus, Slate

I still think large parts of the media struggle with the ethical issues around incorporating social media content into their stories — joke round-ups are one thing, dealing with grieving teens quite another, as this study shows.

“Initial findings from my study of the content of print media found that newspapers in Northern Ireland routinely printed photographs accessed from social networking sites of young people who have taken their own lives.
My research study also included the voices of 33 children and young people in Northern Ireland, aged between 14 and 23, who describe the direct impact of media intrusion on the grieving process.”

How children feel when journalists exploit their social media profiles”— Faith Gordon

Decent round-up of some of the key issues facing publishers in 2016. *gulp*

Passionate defence of using metrics in regional newsrooms as the key way to keep those 150+ year old brands relevant in 2016 from David Higgerson.

“Constantly, newsrooms have to ask how do we make this important subject more widely read, shared, engaged with to ensure that the important thing is widely received. No journalist who wants their content to be read should fear this.”


“It’s gotten so bad that I believe we’ve reached a troubling inflection point: it is now easier to raise money for your startup than it is to find the people who are going to build it.”

UK tech doesn’t have a culture problem. It has a developers problem.”–Benji Lanyado

I enjoyed this from former colleague Sophie Warnes about “How to Humpty Dumpty and put yourself together again

A lovely piece from last year by John Doran in the Guardian about his enduring love for Swans, who he says are now making the best music of their lengthy career. I first saw them live in 1987, as part of my now lengthy gig-going career.

I finally got to see Star Wars Episode VII this week, and fortunately I had managed to avoid spoilers for everything except all of the important bits. Ho hum. Anyway this week I found out about Bigger Luke Theory and my mind was a tiny bit blown.

Your annual reminder that 3 years ago Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos launched a campaign to rid the web of abusive trolls, by promising to dox them.

Yes, that is the same “ethics in journalism mmkay” guy, you’re right.

And yes, it does seem a little bit ironic, doesn’t it?

Wishing a slightly belated healthy and happy new year to you and yours…

Not that this guy was that keen on me lasting through mine…

Oh #GamerGate supporters, never change. Never change.

Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from journalist and designer Martin Belam, covering media, technology and politics. And frequently Doctor Who and 80’s music too.

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