Journalism Student Link Dump

Articles, blog posts, videos, screencaps and links that are informative and interesting or not. Mainly, things to remember.

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futurejournalismproject:

The Robots are Coming, Part 132
First, some background, via Kevin Roose at New York Magazine:

Earlier this week, one of my business-beat colleagues got assigned to recap the quarterly earnings of Alcoa, the giant metals company, for the Associated Press. The reporter’s story began: “Alcoa Inc. (AA) on Tuesday reported a second-quarter profit of $138 million, reversing a year-ago loss, and the results beat analysts’ expectation. The company reported strong results in its engineered-products business, which makes parts for industrial customers, while looking to cut costs in its aluminum-smelting segment.”
It may not have been the most artful start to a story, but it got the point across, with just enough background information for a casual reader to make sense of it. Not bad. The most impressive part, though, was how long the story took to produce: less than a second.

If you’re into robots and algorithms writing the news, the article’s worth the read. It’s optimistic, asserting that in contexts like earnings reports, sports roundups and the like, the automation frees journalists for more mindful work such as analyzing what those earning reports actually mean
With 300 million robot-driven stories produced last year – more than all media outlets in the world combined, according to Roose – and an estimated billion stories in store for 2014, that’s a lot of freed up time to cast our minds elsewhere.
Besides, as Roose explains, “The stories that today’s robots can write are, frankly, the kinds of stories that humans hate writing anyway.”
More interesting, and more troubling, are the ethics behind algorithmically driven articles. Slate’s Nicholas Diakopoulos tried to tackle this question in April when he asked how we can incorporate robots into our news gathering with a level of expected transparency needed in today’s media environment. Part of his solution is understanding what he calls the “tuning criteria,” or the inherent biases, that are used to make editorial decisions when algorithms direct the news.
Here’s something else to chew on. Back to Roose:

Robot-generated stories aren’t all fill-in-the-blank jobs; the more advanced algorithms use things like perspective, tone, and humor to tailor a story to its audience. A robot recapping a basketball game, for example, might be able to produce two versions of a story using the same data: one upbeat story that reads as if a fan of the winning team had written it; and another glum version written from the loser’s perspective.

Apply this concept to a holy grail of startups and legacy organizations alike: customizing and personalizing the news just for you. Will future robots feed us a feel-good, meat and potatoes partisan diet of news based on the same sort behavioral tracking the ad industry uses to deliver advertising. With the time and cost of producing multiple stories from the same data sets approaching zero, it’s not difficult to imagine a news site deciding that they’ll serve different versions of the same story based on perceived political affiliations.
That’s a conundrum. One more worth exploring than whether an algorithm can give us a few paragraphs on who’s nominated for the next awards show.
Want more robots? Visit our Robots Tag.
Image: Twitter post, via @hanelly.

futurejournalismproject:

The Robots are Coming, Part 132

First, some background, via Kevin Roose at New York Magazine:

Earlier this week, one of my business-beat colleagues got assigned to recap the quarterly earnings of Alcoa, the giant metals company, for the Associated Press. The reporter’s story began: “Alcoa Inc. (AA) on Tuesday reported a second-quarter profit of $138 million, reversing a year-ago loss, and the results beat analysts’ expectation. The company reported strong results in its engineered-products business, which makes parts for industrial customers, while looking to cut costs in its aluminum-smelting segment.”

It may not have been the most artful start to a story, but it got the point across, with just enough background information for a casual reader to make sense of it. Not bad. The most impressive part, though, was how long the story took to produce: less than a second.

If you’re into robots and algorithms writing the news, the article’s worth the read. It’s optimistic, asserting that in contexts like earnings reports, sports roundups and the like, the automation frees journalists for more mindful work such as analyzing what those earning reports actually mean

With 300 million robot-driven stories produced last year – more than all media outlets in the world combined, according to Roose – and an estimated billion stories in store for 2014, that’s a lot of freed up time to cast our minds elsewhere.

Besides, as Roose explains, “The stories that today’s robots can write are, frankly, the kinds of stories that humans hate writing anyway.”

More interesting, and more troubling, are the ethics behind algorithmically driven articles. Slate’s Nicholas Diakopoulos tried to tackle this question in April when he asked how we can incorporate robots into our news gathering with a level of expected transparency needed in today’s media environment. Part of his solution is understanding what he calls the “tuning criteria,” or the inherent biases, that are used to make editorial decisions when algorithms direct the news.

Here’s something else to chew on. Back to Roose:

Robot-generated stories aren’t all fill-in-the-blank jobs; the more advanced algorithms use things like perspective, tone, and humor to tailor a story to its audience. A robot recapping a basketball game, for example, might be able to produce two versions of a story using the same data: one upbeat story that reads as if a fan of the winning team had written it; and another glum version written from the loser’s perspective.

Apply this concept to a holy grail of startups and legacy organizations alike: customizing and personalizing the news just for you. Will future robots feed us a feel-good, meat and potatoes partisan diet of news based on the same sort behavioral tracking the ad industry uses to deliver advertising. With the time and cost of producing multiple stories from the same data sets approaching zero, it’s not difficult to imagine a news site deciding that they’ll serve different versions of the same story based on perceived political affiliations.

That’s a conundrum. One more worth exploring than whether an algorithm can give us a few paragraphs on who’s nominated for the next awards show.

Want more robots? Visit our Robots Tag.

Image: Twitter post, via @hanelly.

13 notes

Google has powerful data to see exactly what the audience wants, and produce news-on-demand. The entire world was searching for Neymar — Brazil’s superstar player who sat out after fracturing a vertebra. Google could have looked for related search terms, and created content for people to grieve or laugh. I ask the team why they wouldn’t use a negative headline. Many headlines are negative. “We’re also quite keen not to rub salt into the wounds,” producer Sam Clohesy says, “and a negative story about Brazil won’t necessarily get a lot of traction in social.”
In Google Newsroom, Brazil Defeat Is Not A Headline : All Tech Considered : NPR

(via infoneer-pulse)

858 notes

shortformblog:

shortformblog:

One year ago, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas revealed to the world that he was an undocumented immigrant — building his entire career, which included time at The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, on a lie. Vargas looks back at the past year in an interview with BuzzFeed, where he considers the weirdness of becoming an activist, his friends lost (many in the news industry), and his friends gained (Mark Zuckerberg, Aaron Sorkin). Great piece.

From the archives—a great piece on Jose Antonio Vargas for some backstory.

shortformblog:

shortformblog:

One year ago, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas revealed to the world that he was an undocumented immigrant — building his entire career, which included time at The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, on a lie. Vargas looks back at the past year in an interview with BuzzFeed, where he considers the weirdness of becoming an activist, his friends lost (many in the news industry), and his friends gained (Mark Zuckerberg, Aaron Sorkin). Great piece.

From the archives—a great piece on Jose Antonio Vargas for some backstory.

210 notes

Why is Tumblr blue?

unionmetrics:

theawl:

image

A designer for Tumblr says Tumblr is blue, and “dark,” because nobody notices blue. “Everything’s blue,” he says. “Posts are bright on that blue background and lifted up with shadows.” Blue is for the parts you “don’t need immediately.” You can make your Tumblr any color you want; it will appear that way to you, and to people to come directly to your page on their own. Your Tumblr doesn’t have to be blue until it shares space with others.


Internet, Why So Blue?

The sky suggests infinity but the little screen on dad’s phone seems to supply it. What is the answer, then, when a child asks: Why is the internet blue?

Read More

Weekend reads. 

(via fastcompany)

226 notes

Slightly More Than 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism

onaissues:

futurejournalismproject:

Conor Friedersdorf from The Atlantic released a comprehensive list of his favorite reads from 2013 and categorized them by topic: “Man Vs. Nature,” “War and Peace,” “Science and Beyond.”

Going through the list is quite possibly the best way to lose track of several hours of your day today. 

FJP: Some of my own favorites in this list of favorites include Learning about Humanity on Public Transportation by Chris Gethard, The Only Black Guy at the Indie Rock Show by Martin Douglas, and A Pickpocket’s Tale by Adam Green. Hopefully you’ll see some of your favorite pieces on the list and discover many more to add to your own reading list. —Mariana

Did you create a fantastic piece of journalism in the past year? Submit to the Online Journalism Awards. Deadline is June 13. 

102 notes

fastcompany:

“Take it up with the National Institutes of Health,” Bill O’Reilly snapped.

“I am a council member on the National Institutes of Health. Your number is wrong.” - Columbia University neuroscientist Carl Hart.

A Neuroscientist’s Quest To Debunk Harmful Misconceptions About Addiction

Columbia neuroscientist Carl Hart untangles the reasons researchers have gotten so much wrong about addiction—and how it’s fueled our obsession with the war on drugs. 

Read More>