News literacy, sneaky editing (and advertising,) and exploding stars: This week’s Fresh Powder report
New in news literacy:
News Literacy 2016 is a collaboration by the students in the Studio 20 program at NYU – a master’s level program focused in newsroom innovation and digitally adaptive journalism. The News Literacy project attempts to summarize what these students had to learn prior to beginning the project work, and wanted to share this content with other journalists in the hopes of improving the learning curve. The eleven different topics presented on the site explore a variety of areas that significantly impact journalism today, and what journalists can do to tailor their content to the current demands of the industry.
Stealth Editing: The practice of publishing an article, then going back and making major changes to the article well after it has been published and read without notifying your readers. In a recent New York Times article focusing on Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, this exact phenomenon occurred; a fairly neutral article that focused on Sanders’ political progress rather than his setbacks remained online for several hours before two paragraphs were added, subjectively critiquing his proposals. The major criticism of this type of editing stems from the fact that making substantial changes to an article that change the tone or viewpoint of the article after readers have posted or shared it seems unfair and dishonest to those who posted the article prior to the stealth editing.
The codependency of political media:
All politics – especially politics surrounding the presidential race – naturally form a codependent relationship with the media. The media has the power to shape a narrative, or provide insight to a political figure that the general public may not have access to otherwise. The mutually beneficial relationship between political candidates and news media is nothing new – but the intense focus news medias are taking when it comes to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, and the way this attention benefits him – is a different beast entirely. It’s hard not to continuously report on Trump; as a candidate, he makes it easy, as he’s remained consistently outspoken during his campaign. However, Trump isn’t like other candidates; he understands the media in ways that his fellow presidential hopefuls can’t, thanks to his extensive background in reality television, and decades of being a public figure. He knows how to gain media attention, and he knows how to control the narrative. This puts journalists in a very delicate position; choosing not to cover Trump could severely impact ratings and viewership, while continuing to report on Trump only serves to further this extreme codependence.
Why fooling readers with ads isn’t a cool thing to do:
“Native Advertising” is an increasingly popular form of advertising that aims to make ads look more like articles, thereby making it more difficult for readers to tell the difference. As of this week, the Federal Trade Commission is getting involved with this somewhat questionable practice; the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection believes “consumers have the right to know when they’re looking at paid advertising.” This form of “trick” advertising hasn’t been a problem with print journalism; online, however, this kind of advertisement is becoming more common. The biggest problem with native advertising? Disclosure. Are news sites actually letting their audience know when a story is a real news article and when a story is being paid for entirely by an advertiser? It’s a new standard of journalistic integrity almost exclusive to online media, and something to be aware of when using advertisements in your publication.
These things also happened this week:
The shockwave from an exploding star was captured on camera for the first time.
A new environmental study suggests that the earth is even worse shape than we probably realize.
Serena Williams responds to a tournament director’s incredibly rude – and scarily outdated – remarks regarding female tennis players.