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Quality Journalism in the Digital Age

10 must-reads on media trends and changes

iPad girl Charis Tsevis BY NC NDIt’s difficult for anyone – let alone busy journalists – to keep up with everything happening in the media world. But don’t worry, onMedia’s got it covered. From changing newsroom practices to new ways of analyzing Twitter and presenting stories online, our guest author Gianna Grün brings you this list of thought-provoking reads.

I’m an online editor at Life Links, a crossmedia DW documentary project that is currently readjusting its online concept. Because of this, I’ve been interested in what others are doing, or thinking about our fast-changing media world. I found myself plowing through expert interviews, research papers and lists of things to watch out for.

So to save you some time, I thought I’d share a few of my “top” lists for things well worth reading if you want to catch up on what’s happening on the media landscape.

Top 3
1. The News Mixtape. “Not quite the cassette tape you made your high school crush, but similar in sentiment,” writes author Katie Zhu. For her, the news mixtape is a way of discovering and sharing online content, while still allowing the randomness of stumbling over an amazing article.

2. Five Social Media Tips from The Wall Street Journal. I know that images are crucial on Facebook, but I was still surprised how crucial they were for WSJ media editor, Liz Heron. A sentence I circled twice on my printed version of Heron’s list was: “We need to be creating content that’s designed to be shared and not just read.” While I’m not too sure whether I share that opinion, it’s an interesting perspective nonetheless.

3. Mobile = Local = Me: Context Over Content. This one grabbed me because it reminded me again of the diversity of news and news audiences, especially when talking about mobile. (And no, I didn’t only include the article because it’s by journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, whose articles appear frequently on many top 10 lists.)

Top 5
If you have some more time, we can extend the Top 3 to a Top 5 …. here are two more articles for your list:

4. Investigative Impact – a collection of case studies of investigative reporting. Put together by the Global Investigative Journalism Network, it has examples from Brazil, Pakistan, Ghana and the Philippines and highlights “how investigative journalism impacts public policy and accountability,” irrespective of a media outlet’s size.

5. Mapping Twitter Topic Networks. While it’s a pretty dense read, this analysis by the American Pew Research Center can give you a helping hand with building an audience on Twitter. They dissect different kinds of interactions and the dynamics that can evolve from different networks.

Top 10
If you still can’t get enough, here are a few more recommendations of things worth checking out :

6. Bad Community is Worse than No Community. It sounds pretty obvious but apparently you can’t repeat it often enough. So, please, all new community-builders out there, please remember: if you want to build a community to honestly interact with, you have to take care of it.

7. Learning From Mobile-First Markets. “The newest digital news consumers are in emerging markets,” says author Dayo Olopade in this article about her book. She continues with many intriguing thoughts on what to keep in mind when approaching these markets.

8. An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media. A social media researcher writes a response to the widely shared article, “A Teenager’s View on Social Media,” written by an actual teen. The response nails the one point that I miss too often in debates around social media communities or what-is-going-to-work-in-the-future debates: “(Teens) are very diverse and, yet, journalists and entrepreneurs want to label them under one category and describe them as one thing.” Don’t get me wrong: it’s interesting to read about a single person’s opinions and it’s crucial to talk to the people you usually talk about. But please, never forget: it is one person’s opinion. And groups of people are diverse. As are communities and audiences. Full stop.

9. Weekly Filet. With people tired of subscribing to lots of different feeds, and then having to sort through the relevant ones themselves – the new trend is newsletters (well, it’s really a new old trend). Weekly Filet is my new favorite (not only because of the great name, but also for its diversity).

10. Can We “Snowfall” This? Yes, it’s a paid article but it’s a fantastic read if you can get free access through an educational institute or library. The study analyzes the New York Times’ Snow Fall multimedia feature as well as two more examples. It explains how to create a compelling parallax scrolling experience.

Of course, any selection like this is personal and subjective. Two eyes can only manage to see a certain amount PLUS it’s hard to get out of one’s filter bubble. That’s why we’d like to know from you: what are your Top 3 must-reads about the media world?

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Written by guest author, Gianna Grün and edited by Kate Hairsine.

Image: flickr/Charis Tsevis CC:BY-NC-ND


Friday 2015-01-30