‘The Media’, Plagiarists Beware, and Analytics All Day: this week on Fresh Powder

Conscious Re-branding

Well, we all know the president is waging a self-described “war” with the media. Cool. By “the media,” he means, like, all journalists. He’s made a habit of lambasting the media and, without irony, encouraging the American public to distrust journalists, whose job it is to tell the truth (if that doesn’t sound like some 1984-style doublespeak, I don’t know what does). And yes, there are “news” orgs that specialize in sensational, over-wrought and even fake news, but there always have been, and lumping them all together as “the media” de-legitimizes actual news orgs (see Trump’s press conference statement that CNN is “fake news” for proof). So possibly, it’s time for journalists and the American public to stop contributing to Trump’s rhetoric by rejecting the term “the media,” and opt instead for more accurate descriptors. It’d be a start, at least.

Just Say No

Ok- it’s like the first rule in journalism: don’t plagiarize. Just don’t. It’s not a hard concept, but somehow it’s one journalists go round and round with. And it’s not getting any better in our world of rapid-cycle, news NOW media consumption–– copy and pasting content and republishing without credit has become a regular practice for more than a few news outlets. But Ginger Gorman, whose original story about male sexual abuse victims was ripped off, found that she wasn’t alone in her outrage after she made an angry tweet and it went viral. The net lesson? Even in such an ethically dubious time as this one, people are paying attention, and stealing still isn’t cool.

Analytics All Day

Here’s a cool thing about journalism today (we know, you did a double take when you read that section after like, all of 2016 happened): analytics. Publications can access hard data from their readership at anytime: what’s the big story? What’s catching attention? What’s not? As a result, journalism orgs can dial in their coverage–– offering readers stories they’ll engage with. It’s pretty cool, and it’s totally worth learning how to do it.

The Mommy Market

There’s a new parenting site, it’s called Motherly, and it’s for millennials. Everyone knows that parenting intelligence is fluid and dynamic, and Motherly, looking at their targeted audience of highly educated, successful, (also married, also rich…) millennials, is tailoring their product to appeal to the burgeoning market. They’re using analytics (hey!) to tune in with their audience, and they’re utilizing a primarily decentralized workforce. It’s kinda cool, but also kind of disheartening: like, yay! One more product specifically designed to meet the needs of a highly catered-to niche group, AND it’s getting press coverage! And all those other kinds of women who are having babies and who are not married or rich or highly educated? Well. They can just stick with BabyCenter.

These things also happened last week: Executive orders happened, but you knew that. First, a sweeping ban on immigration. Then, a weird one about federal regulations: for every new regulation proposed, an agency must rescind two existing regulations. It’s like a children’s game made up but the recess bully. If you’re feeling a measure of cognitive dissonance, don’t worry, we all are. And if you’re having trouble understanding the mood you’re currently experiencing, that’s normal, too. Thank goodness there’s a Buzzfeed quiz for that.