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Russia Conspiracy Theories Trap Putin Malaysia Airlines MH17

An old journalism joke suggests that, during the Cold War, the USSR state-run news agency reported the results of a two-car race this way: “Soviet car finishes second; Americans next-to-last.” In a culture without a free press, the official story is the only story. Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia? Well, it’s all true—at…

Peter Greste trial: Egypt rejects criticism of judicial system after jailing of Al Jazeera journalists

Egypt sentences Al Jazeera journalists to years in prison

An Egyptian court has sentenced two Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison and another to 10 years, on charges including aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and reporting false news. A judge delivered the verdicts Monday against Peter Greste, an Australian citizen; Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen; and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen. Al Jazeera has always rejected the charges against its journalists and maintains their innocence. –Al Jazeera America.

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Why Audiences Hate Hard News—And Love Pretending Otherwise

A reminder that polls that ask people to predict (or remember) their behavior are not as reliable as measurements that track what people actually do. (This is why usability testing — asking people to use something and measuring how well they perform — differs from simply gathering opinions.) The more attention-starved we feel, the more we thirst for stimuli that are familiar. We like ice cream when we’re sad, old…

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It’s alive! What NPR learned from turning its @nprnews Twitter account from a bot into a human

My student journalists tell me they learn a lot from assignments that involve livetweeting events. It’s encouraging when students ramp up the social media work on their own, outside of classroom assignments, as part of their work for The Setonian Online. This article offers a helpful reminder that even the pros have to experiment in order to discover current best practices (which change rapidly, with the technology). But no matter…

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We are in a golden age for journalism

Most handwringing about the state of journalism is done by journalists. They are worried about losing their jobs, so it’s not surprising that they tend to be fretful. But turn the issue upside down for a second, and think about the state of journalism from journalism’s audience. The real purpose of journalism, after all, is not to provide me a job, but to inform and entertain the public. And by…

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Facebook’s Mike Hudack rants about the media: Why won’t anybody do something about these shallow viral stories?

When a Facebook executive whines about all these shallow viral links clogging our feeds, Slate’s Jordan Wiessmann clicks him a new one. If only we, the American people, could summon a champion. Someone who could, with the change of a single algorithm, turn the entire media ecosystem on its head. But who? –Jordan Weissmann, Slate.

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Why do so many small US newsrooms shun innovation? “The goat must be fed.”

We started this report to assess the use of digital tools and provide a road map for the work of the Reporters’ Lab at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy. Along the way, we discovered that despite all the hype we’ve heard in the past five or 10 years, there is still a wide gap between digital haves and have-nots in the use of data reporting and…

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Times photo staffer’s invention: the streaming backpack

“From a photographer’s perspective it makes our photography process more similar to the days of film, where you went out you did your assignment, dropped off your roll of film, and went off to do another assignment. Now you download your cards, color correct and caption it. It takes away from the creative process of photography.” There’s certainly an entrepreneurial opportunity if the newsroom gets the smaller iteration down pat,…