Robot reporters, Brand Journalism, and getting engaged with the news: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Beat in time, but not in style:

An NPR reporter went head to head against a “computer reporter” (WordSmith) to find out if this new mechanized version of really saves enough time to replace reporters entirely. Both the human reporter and the computer wrote about the same subject– a brief about Denny’s earnings reports– and, sure enough, the computer was faster. WordSmith was able to get the story out in two minutes, while the human reporter took seven. There is a noticeable difference in writing style, though; mostly, the fact that the computer doesn’t really have any. But reporters worry that could change, and computer-generated reports could eventually become more stylized and interesting.

Koala Pixels:

Here’s a fun, interactive lesson in pixels and image resolution; if you have the time to move your mouse around a screen for a while, definitely check this out.

Interactive stories are good stories:

Need some inspiration for interactive stories? Michelle Balmeo has cultivated quite the collection on Pinterest; go check it out and see if you can get your staff to work towards more dynamic, interactive stories.

The Journalist: more important than the content?

Journalists are feeling more pressured to market themselves— rather than their style or their stories– in today’s brand-obsessed culture. Image has always been important when it comes to media, but it seems almost unavoidable when it comes to becoming a big-name journalists. You don’t get parodied on Saturday Night Live for being forgettable; they’ve mocked CNN as a whole, impersonated Piers Morgan, andeven Dateline. Why? Because they’re all memorable enough to make fun of.

And, don’t forget….

It’s News Engagement Day today!

What does that mean? It’s really just a day that encourages people to interact with the news in some way; whether that be by tweeting, sharing on Facebook, commenting on, or simply listening to, the news today.

You can check out the news quiz created by Kansas State University; inspired by the well-known NPR segment, “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”, and make sure to find ways to engage with the news today.

In non-journalism related news:

>> A fourteen-year-old punched a shark in the face (for his own protection.)

>> Al Roker apologizes for his (highly insensitive) “flood selfie” in South Carolina.

>> Colbert gets real in the face of a tragedy.