mfioretti: online journalism*

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  1. for us, changes like this can be disastrous. Attracting viewers to a story relies, above all, on making the process as simple as possible. Even one extra click can make a world of difference. This is an existential threat, not only to my organization and others like it but also to the ability of citizens in all of the countries subject to Facebook’s experimentation to discover the truth about their societies and their leaders.

    Serbia is a perfect example of why the political context of Facebook’s experimentation matters. Serbia escaped the dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, but it hasn’t developed into a fully functioning democracy. One party, led by President Aleksandar Vucic, controls not only the Parliament but also the whole political system. Our country has no tradition of checks and balances. Mr. Vucic now presents himself as progressive and pro-European, but as minister of information in the Milosevic government, he was responsible for censoring news coverage.
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    Today, censorship in Serbia takes a softer form. Pliant outlets loyal to the government receive preferential treatment and better funding from local and central budgets. Those that stray out of line find themselves receiving unexpected visits from the tax inspectors.

    This isn’t an easy place to be an independent journalist. Since 2015, my investigative nonprofit, KRIK, has covered stories the mainstream media won’t touch. In return, we have been spied on and threatened, and have had lurid fabrications about our private lives splashed on the front page of national tabloids.

    Last year, KRIK published an investigation showing that when he was a young surgeon, Zlatibor Loncar, who is now minister of health, had been contracted by a gang to kill one of its enemies, according to court testimony by protected witnesses. You’d think the story of a future minister administering poison through an IV would make a splash — but the mainstream outlets ignored it.

    Going to KRIK’s website is the only way Serbian citizens could learn the truth about that story and many others like it. And until last month, most of our readers went to our site via Facebook.

    Facebook allowed us to bypass mainstream channels and bring our stories to hundreds of thousands of readers. But now, even as the social network claims to be cracking down on “fake news,” it is on the verge of ruining us.

    That’s why Mark Zuckerberg’s arbitrary experiments are so dangerous. The major TV channels, mainstream newspapers and organized-crime-run outlets will have no trouble buying Facebook ads or finding other ways to reach their audiences. It’s small, alternative organizations like mine that will suffer.

    We journalists bear some responsibility for this, too. Using Facebook to reach our readers has always been convenient, so we invested time and effort in building our presence there, helping it become the monster it is today.

    But what’s done is done — a private company, accountable to no one, has taken over the world’s media ecosystem. It is now responsible for what happens there. By picking small countries with shaky democratic institutions to be experimental subjects, it is showing a cynical lack of concern for how its decisions affect the most vulnerable.
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  2. With Facebook prioritizing video and rolling out Watch, the pivot to video trend reflects how many publishers depend on Facebook to reach users. The publishers making these changes will argue that traffic on owned and operated properties is irrelevant in the distributed platform world.

    But publishers are making a risky bet when they cast off their own websites and rely on platforms. Monetizing audiences on platforms is much harder than it is on owned and operated properties. Facebook is also notorious for randomly throttling traffic to publishers, and recent reports suggest it has declined as a source of referral traffic to publishers.

    Prohaska said he’s seen an uptick in publisher clients asking for help in weaning themselves off of Facebook.

    “People are becoming overly dependent on platforms, and it is becoming dangerous,” he said.
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  3. The latest skirmish in the long-running battle between Google and the German media establishment — over the search giant’s right to display short excerpts from news stories in Google News — appears to have been won by Google. Media giant Axel Springer admitted on Wednesday that removing its news content from the search engine caused traffic to plummet, and so it is allowing Google News to display short excerpts of its news stories again.

    As my colleague David Meyer has explained in a number of previous updates, Springer and several other German companies have been fighting with Google for years over what they claim is the company’s theft of their content.

    After much lobbying of the government, Germany finally passed a law that requires anyone who publishes more than a short “snippet” of text from a newspaper to pay royalties, a law that was clearly aimed directly at Google News. The definition of a “snippet” hasn’t been determined, however, and Google hasn’t paid any royalties. Instead, it just removed any excerpted content from those German publishers.
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  4. aditional news organizations have spent the past decade responding to an enormously disruptive piece of technology: the web browser. Their old monopolies, their old claims on the audience’s attention, were broken by a platform that let anyone publish — no printing press or broadcast tower required. The impact on their business models, particularly at newspapers…well, you know all about that.

    But just when news organizations were starting to feel more at home on the web — just when, in many newsrooms, digital was no longer being treated as a sad sister to print — along comes another blow-up-the-model moment: mobile.

    It would be an exaggeration to say that the rise of the smartphone is a shift on par with the rise of the web. But it wouldn’t be that much of one. Seven years after the iPhone, smartphones have moved from a tool of the tech elite to a handheld computer in everyone’s pocket. They’re radically changing how people are getting their news. And I fear that many news outlets still haven’t wrestled with how big a change they represent.
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  5. Non ne posso più di leggere articoletti sgrammaticati, titoli sventrati da refusi, brevi senza notizie, colonnine di destra con donnine al sole senza costume, la Marcuzzi su instagram il cui “seno prorompente” non entra nel costume, Belen col marmocchio sulle ginocchia, il video esclusivo dell’incidente drammatico, il titolo acchiappallocchi dove il morto non è morto. E poi, sul locale, tutte le cronache sono choc, tutte le notizie sono esclusive, tutti i toni sono gridati, ma vai a leggere i pezzi e trovi sciatteria, pettegolezzi, si dice, pare che, rumors, forse ma, oppure scariche di opinioni senza una notizia, lisciate di pelo allo stomaco acido della gente, e, al più qualche news di agenzia, che prima leggevano solo gli addetti ai lavori, e che oggi rimescolata viene spacciata da chiunque come unica.

    Possibile che debba finire così la grande avventura del giornalismo sul web?
    Voting 0
  6. I fear the app-based tablet approach to magazines leads straight to oblivion, at least for individual magazine titles.

    Not that tablets aren’t suited for reading. I discover most of the articles I read every day through my favorite iPad apps: Zite, Flipboard, Facebook and Twitter. These apps don’t produce any content themselves. They’re merely curating what’s already out there. My dedicated magazine apps, on the other hand, have been lost among the many other apps on my iPad. I never read them, even those I pay monthly subscription fees for. Here’s why.
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