AJR News Wrap 3/28: Fake Web Traffic and Zombie Planes
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March 28, 2014

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

PAY-PER-CLICK: Journalists will have to reconcile their natural aversion to numbers with the industry’s sharpening focus on web traffic and metrics, according to The New York Times’ David Carr. Gawker is among the media companies that pays based on traffic, according to a post in AJR.org’s ongoing series on analytics. One of its writers participating in the program said the model seems logical. “I can think my work is so fantastic and awesome and everyone should love it,” Tyler Rogoway said. “But if it’s not getting traffic or it doesn’t have entertainment value, it doesn’t matter what I think.”

THE FACT CHECKER’S LAMENT: Bethany McLean, once a fact-checker for Fortune magazine, looks at how fact checking has declined amid the “need for speed.” This piece is part of a LinkedIn series, LinkedIn Influencers, in which professionals analyze the future and state of their industry.

J-SCHOOL ISN’T ENOUGH: Journalism students need to take control of their own education and exhaust every available resource to learn the industry instead of just going through the motions in class, according to University of Southern California journalism professor Robert Hernandez’s post on Nieman Lab.

CODING FOR DUMMIES: Coding newbie Adam Benzion compares the options for novices to learn coding basics at TheNextWeb.com.

TWITTER ADDS VIEW COUNT: Twitter’s new view count will appear below each post, showing how many people saw the tweet, according to The Verge.

DIGITAL MEDIA OUTLETS ARE HIRING!: Pew’s annual State of the Media report finds 5,000 new professional full time jobs were created in the last few years as a result of digital news expansion, reports AJR.org.

UPWORTHY’S ‘NOBLE PURSUIT:’ A New York Magazine profile on Upworthy says the site uses the same aggressive marketing tactics that companies use to sell commercial products. “Marketing to get people’s attention onto really important topics is a noble pursuit,” said Upworthy’s editorial director, Sara Critchfield.

THOSE CLICKS AREN’T REAL: While billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising, marketers are forced to battle a frustrating issue: rampant fraud. “About 36 percent of all web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

OVERCOVERAGE OF MH370?: CNN’s mega-coverage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has driven media critics mad but brought in the ratings. USA Today’s Rem Rieder points out that coverage has included talk of black holes, zombie planes and other “supernatural” forces.

‘SMOOTH BUTTRY GOODNESS’: Steve Buttry, the digital transformation editor at Digital First Media, changed the name of his personal blog to “Mmm. Smooth Buttry Goodness” with the help of the Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten. For every $1,000 they can raise for the  American Copy Editors Society Education Fund, Buttry will change the name of his blog for a month.

This post includes contributions from Kaylin Bugos, Maddie Tallman, Juliana Sesay, Jim Bach and Lisa Rossi.


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