News Wrap: Are You a Journalist or a Content Provider?
Will newspapers eventually stop using job titles like "editor" and "reporter?"
August 15, 2014


EDITOR’S NOTE: Links to selected media news from the past week.

SHORT TAKES

* The debate over journalists vs. “content providers” heats up as Gannett attempts to redefine some newsroom jobs. Romenesko

* At CNN’s Digital Politics, more than a dozen employees’ jobs were eliminated, and they were allowed to reapply for newly defined positions, with the idea that staff will actually grow in size. Capital New York

* How do you redefine this newsroom redefinition thing? Erik Wemple takes a stab at it. Washington Post

* First Look Media’s reboot. Columbia Journalism Review

* One of Gawker Media’s own sites — Jezebel — criticized the company for not being aggressive enough against anonymous commenters posting violent videos on Jezebel. Digiday 

* Interns this summer are trying very, very hard to get published. American Journalism Review

* And one former intern tells the story of her rookie mistakes. It only took 10 years to confess all of them. American Journalism Review

ARRESTED

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery’s write-up on his arrest in Ferguson, Mo., the site of the Michael Brown shooting, is a must-read. As he tells it, he and another reporter were working at the McDonald’s a few blocks from the scene of Brown’s shooting. He says he was taken into custody (after being slammed into a soda machine). Lowery and the other reporter, Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post, were released; they say they have not received a report detailing the reason for their arrest.

THE BUZZ ON BUZZFEED

BuzzFeed gets an infusion of $50 million. Journalism world pauses. The next question is whether the company “can maintain the agility and skills of a tech start-up while building the breadth of a large media company,” says The New York Times. 

BuzzFeed’s major investor, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, doesn’t seem concerned, calling the startup a future “preeminent media company” along the lines of Time, CBS and Viacom, the Guardian reports.

BuzzFeed will be dividing its producers into three areas, reports Nieman Lab: those who write “socially oriented and experimental” content, News and Life.

BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE?

One of the best lines from David Carr’s deep dive into the recent news about newspaper spinoffs and the way print owners have reduced their own value through ad discounts and downsizing: “It’s a little like trashing a house by burning all the furniture to stay warm and then inviting people in to see if they want to buy the joint.”

One who has been spun off has his say.

TRYING TO MAKE NATIVE ADVERTISING WORK

We spent a lot of code space last week talking about native advertising. Here’s one tale of how it appeared to work for everyone involved.

KEEPING IT CLASSY

Another romantic take on the soulful and tactile joys of print — as likened in The New York Times to “an intimate, nice dinner, where the table is well set, and six or seven people are having an informed and elegant conversation, instead of being in a gym with 10,000 people yelling.” Should dinner guests who mix metaphors be invited back?

You like me, you really like me. Well, not really. Starting Nov. 5, Facebook is making brands stop offering incentives like discounts, rewards or even free games on mobile for “likes,” reports Digiday. From like to love — that is, if you’re tired of such things.

Using YouTube as a “global focus group.” Wonder if a video will go viral? Test it out on YouTube — it’s a strategy being employed by CollegeHumor, and the stakes are huge — as in millions of advertising dollars for company partners.

There seems to be one person who is winning Facebook. His name is Ben Dreyfuss and he’s the engagement editor at Mother Jones. “He definitely has his own voice,” says publisher Steve Katz in Nieman Lab, which profiled Dreyfuss’s work on building traffic to the Mother Jones site from Facebook.

 This post contains contributions from Lisa Rossi

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