#RIPTwitter no more?

This was how Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey reacted to #RIPTwitter.  The twitterverse was in uproar over reports that Twitter is planning to tweak its algorithm to make it more like Facebook, rather than in reverse chronological order as they are now.

At the Sydney Morning Herald,  Sarah Frier wrote, “The problem with the crowd: They seem to agree Twitter is flawed, but they don’t have a solution, and they don’t like change.”  So now Jack Dorsey is promising change without change, which pretty tough to finesse.

Other news:  the New York Times had better than expected results with 1.1 million digital subscribers, though print is continuing to decline.  They’ve announced another big newsroom strategy review, trying to figure out the way forward.  As Dean Baquet wrote in his memo to staff, 

“Experimenting with new forms of journalism and presentation has sparked tremendous creativity in the newsroom,” he wrote. “But in trying to balance the new and the old, reporters and editors are sometimes left exhausted and confused. Simply put, we keep turning things on — greater visual journalism, live news blogs, faster enterprise, podcasting, racing against an ever-growing list of new competitors on an expanding list of stories – without ever turning things off.”

There’s an interesting piece in Poynter about how the New York Times is resurfacing unused images in its archives to tell new stories.  It’s the perfect example of how evergreen content can be brought back to life again, and is being used at the Unpublished Black History project this month.  The picture below is one example, from the Newark riots, which cost 23 lives in 1967.


Neal Boenzi/New York Times


1)How Americans Get TV News At Home (Pew)                                                                                                                                2) In the Digital Era, What Does Watching TV Even Mean? (WSJ)

ASSIGNMENT:  Audio pieces should be posted to your blogs by Tuesday night at 9pm.

(Soundcloud c439mich@gmail.com, password: disruption)

Welcome to COMM 439!

Welcome to Comm 439 on Digital Disruption and the Future of Journalism.

As if to encapsulate the travails of the print media, this was the week that Boston Globe reporters were forced to get out on the streets to deliver their own newspapers by hand after a distribution deal broke down.   They had been enjoying the critical success of Spotlight, a film based on their coverage of sexual abuse within the Catholic church.

Pulitzer prize winning reporters were out delivering newspapers – and afterwards writing about the experience.

The lack of newspapers caused angry tweets from readers and profuse apologies from the management.


David Uberti, writing at CJR, had the following analysis:

The mishap is staggering considering that print still provides a large chunk of news organizations’ revenue. Sheehan insists the service change was in fact an effort to preserve the print subscriber base, citing internal analyses that pegged delivery problems as a leading cause for cancellations.

But Globe management is being battered with accusations that the switch to a new carrier was more about saving money than saving subscribers.

Poynter had this useful summary of the highlights and lowlights of journalism innovation in 2015.   Among the highlights were the New York Times virtual reality push:

Here we have a vision of things to come, another essential tool for storytellers. While we may not see many newspapers experimenting with virtual reality on a regular basis, I believe that the Times is right when it describes virtual reality as “a new frontier for journalism”. My suggestion: Add virtual reality to your bag of storytelling techniques.  Start modest. Plan for one virtual reality project this coming year.

Assignment:  Read ps 1-45 (Introduction and Section 1) of Post-Industrial Journalism.                                               Register yourself on WordPress and set up a site.   Decide what beat you would like to cover.  If you are unsure, bring at least two different ideas for beats to class on Monday.
Monday’s class will be in the Mac lab in the MLB building.