The intrusiveness of photojournalism, why computers shouldn’t grade essays, Facebook’s alleged exclusion of conservatives: today’s Fresh Powder Repo

The duality of photojournalism:

“Six of our guys were buried under the rubble of a compound that had been struck by a car bomb. More than a few of us were crying as we scrambled to retrieve their lifeless bodies. I watched a distraught staff sergeant run over to the photographer, whose presence at that moment felt intrusive, and tell him to go away. The photos were published in The New York Times the next day, and there we were: a bunch of soldiers clawing desperately at a pile of rubble. Eventually, everyone, including the sergeant, agreed it was a good thing. The photos were for us. It was our story, in all its agony and truth. Six years later, it’s the only record we have of that terrible day.” -Adam Linehan

Robots aren’t poets….yet:

Can a machine accurately grade a piece of writing? Is a computer scoring program capable of capturing the nuance or flow of a prose piece or an exam essay? The studies haven’t been all that encouraging; an essay written by the BABEL generator (an automated writing machine that essentially generates gibberish) received the highest score by the GRE computer scoring program. Because computer scoring cannot analyze meaning, argumentation, or even narrative, it relies solely on grammar, length, and vocabulary to compile a score. Educators preparing students for these tests have started training them how to write essays that lack substance, but are full of flowery vocabulary in order to receive high scores.

“What” journalism just isn’t enough:

Political reporter Chris Cillizza claims journalism isn’t “dying” – it’s just changing, and some people simply have a harder time adjusting than others. He calls on the wisdom of Erik Rydholm, executive producer of “Pardon the Interruption,” dividing journalism into three “baskets”: the “what” basket, the “so what” basket, and the “now what” basket. Cillizza argues that the “what” basket has been losing it’s appeal in new media; the “what” is almost too accessible, the “so what” and “now what” are what readers seek out in the age of digital journalism. While the “what” still matters, the “so what” and “now what’s” matter just as much; with shows like “The Colbert Report” and “Last Week Tonight” finding so much success, it’s clear audiences crave knowing more than just what’s going on – they want to know why they should care.

People will still pay for good news:

As long as we’re keeping the glass half full, Lydia Polgreen, editorial director of the New York Times, explains in a keynote address why readers will keep paying to read the New York Times. Polgreen urges publishers to look not at what they think they’ve lost in terms of revenue, resources, and retention, but focus on what their customers – the all-important consumer of news – has gained in this new age of media. Sure, the transition has been tough, and yes, journalists have suffered – but the Times is actually making more revenue from their subscribers than their advertisers, simply by staying true to their journalistic business strategy of being a subscription-based news service. The Times can do it, as they’ve long established themselves as a media platform that delivers journalism readers won’t find anywhere else – other digital journalism services may not be established enough to rely on such a firm method of subscription, but it’s still a solid form of reassurance in a time of transformation and fluctuation.

These things also happened last week:

Meghan Trainor stays true to her body-positive message, taking down her latest music video after noticing her waist was retouched in order to make her appear “thinner.”

The fire that ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta, is finally slowing down – but not before over 2,000 structures were burned to the ground.

Facebook denies censoring politically conservative articles after a former Facebook news curator claimed that stories featuring more conservative subjects were intentionally left off of the “trending news” sidebar.