Journalists, beware: Twitter is less potent than you assume
- For most, it doesn't generate much traffic
Life as a journalist now means reporting, writing a story, tweeting that story, tweeting it again, going for lunch, tweeting about your lunch, tweeting that first story again, looking up at CNN, then tweeting something about Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper or, of course, Donald Trump. And, finally, tweeting that story one more time, desperately hoping that another three relatives in Pittsburgh, Nebraska and Rhode Island, and perhaps a political consultant in Los Angeles, will retweet your tweet.
Now there's sobering news. "Twitter generates 1.5 percent of traffic for typical news organizations, according to a new report from the social analytics company Parse.ly that examined data from 200 of its client websites over two weeks in January." (Nieman Lab) Media firms were said to be "poring" over this report, noting "how important Facebook had become to their business." (The New York Times) But it also informs that "the median publisher saw roughly 8 tweets per post, 3 clicks per tweet, and 0.7 retweets for each original tweet."
Yes, yes, we journalists love Twitter, even feeling compelled to constantly regurgitate quotes from events, like presidential primary debates, that our prospective audience is already watching, as if we were AP correspondents in the Belgian Congo in a pre-Internet, pre-TV age. But, "despite its conversational and breaking news value, Twitter remains a relatively small source of traffic for most publishers. According to Parse.ly, less than 5 percent of referrals in its network came from Twitter during January and February 2016. Twitter trails Facebook, Google, and even Yahoo as sources of traffic, the report said." At Poynter, Twitter accounts for 38 percent of the social referral traffic year to date, likely owing to the fact that our audience comprises mostly journalists with their own sizable Twitter followings.
Now, the obvious thing to do now is tweet this item, then go to get coffee at Starbucks and, perhaps, tweet something about the curious ascendency of pumpkin spiced Latte. Or the culturally ambiguous tattoos of a woman you saw at Starbucks. Or what Donald Trump just tweeted. And on and on.
- Verizon still in for Yahoo, Time Inc. isn't
Amid Monday's deadline for preliminary bids for monumentally-beleaguered Yahoo, Verizon seems to be in stronger shape as a bunch of folks have decided not to waste their money. Time Inc. concluded "the degree of difficulty in righting Yahoo’s fortunes is too great," while others apparently taking a pass are Google parent Alphabet Inc., Comcast Corp., AT&T Inc. and Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp." (The Wall Street Journal)
- America's growing suspicion of the media
"Trust in the news media is being eroded by perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans' skepticism about what they read on social media. Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public's view of other institutions. In this presidential campaign year, Democrats were more likely to trust the news media than Republicans or independents." This all comes from a new study by the Media Insight Project, a partnership of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute. (The Associated Press)
- A.O. Scott on 'white maleness' of criticism
While pushing a new book, New York Times film critic A.O Scott told a Chicago audience that a great promise of the internet was its democratizing impulse and the possibility of dealing with the white-male dominance of cultural criticism and journalism. But film criticism, at least, has become even more male-dominated during his career. But, "While still finding flaws with the slowness of change in the industry, Scott cites a recent meeting at the New York Times: 10 film-related New York Times staffers joined to discuss the #oscarssowhite trend; he was the only white male in the group, evidence that change is happening, albeit slowly." (The Chicago Reader)
- Trump 'massacred'
No surprise, the cable morning shows today were fixated on tomorrow's New York primary (though Fox News preferred, again, to beat the drums on what it's convinced will be a Hillary Clinton email indictment). But "massacred?" Weekend GOP wrangling in Wyoming, Georgia, Kansas, Florida and South Carolina brought more delegates to Ted Cruz. "Trump massacred in delegate fights once more." (POLITICO) MSNBC's self-appointed political-anthropological analyst Joe Scarborough warned of the end of the American two-party system ("duopoly," he calls it) if Donald Trump is shafted at the GOP convention. "The system is rigged," he said. Meanwhile, CNN's Chris Cuomo found cultural insight on a Little League field over the weekend. "When people didn't like the calls, they yelled out, "establishment, establishment!" he disclosed. Whatever. My 6-year-old was playing AYSO soccer in Chicago. The ref, a parent clad in neon yellow shirt and black shorts, met no such satirical derision over calls on corner kicks or lousy throw-ins. Divining presidential campaign insight was rather difficult, especially when post-game snack time beckoned.
- Why The New York Times didn't take part in Panama Papers investigation
Writing in The New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann discusses why the real lesson of the Panama Papers investigation may be the worldwide collaboration among a loose networks of smaller media groups, not big ones. Along the way, he briefly touches the still-hazy matter of why The New York Times didn't take part.
The investigative consortium that ran the show "talked to the Times and at least several other major American news outlets about joining the teams associated with other major leaks, prior to the Panama Papers story. These talks did not go well, according to sources that were not authorized to speak on the matter, because the big-dog news organizations did not want to abide by the (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists') condition that they operate as co-equal members of a large team. So when the Panama Papers came along, the I.C.I.J. didn’t even bother pitching the Times and the other papers on joining the consortium." Dean Baquet, editor of The Times, told Lemann, “What people forget is that everybody has to agree on what’s a story. The logistics are really tricky. Let’s say some document has not enough proof for me, but enough for another news organization—or vice versa. How do you manage that? It’s not as easy as you think. It’s not just ‘Go!’ It’s really difficult.” (The New Yorker)
- Key parts of new VICE union contract
Having cast their lot with the Writers Guild of America, East, about 70 VICE Media employees now have a three-year deal with management that includes at least a $8,000 pay boost in the first year. For a fair number of kids earning in the $40,000s in New York City, that's a significant hike. (Poynter) There are 5 percent hikes in each of the last two years and, by the union's reckoning, the whole package is worth about 29 percent over the agreement if you throw in and quantify all the economic-related matters. As telling, there are new comp time provisions for weekend work and new processes for discussing intellectual property rights visavis books, TV and movies (VICE is obviously aggressively entering the video sphere, with $400 million in investments from Walt Disney Co.). So if you do a story and management has ideas about turning it into a TV show, everybody will discuss and, at minimum, the writer gets on-air credit.
- Stop what you're doing and...
Check out a fun, tongue-in-cheek video from the terrific Washington Post food section that satirizes the typical food video. Why does every food video look basically alike? This explains the rudiments of it all. (The Washington Post)
- Zuckerberg blast from the past
Well, Mr. Social Media Visionary doesn't seem quite that in a 2005 video interview that's resurfaced. "Both the interviewer and Zuckerberg are drinking beer out of red Solo cups during the interview ('Should I put the beer down?' Zuckerberg asks at the start), and at several points the video cuts away to scenes such as an employee doing a keg stand." As far as goals for his new company, he talked about it expanding to other colleges beyond Harvard. “There doesn’t necessarily have to be more,” Zuckerberg said. “Like, a lot of people are focused on, like, taking over the world, or doing the biggest thing, getting the most users. I think, like, part of making a difference and doing something cool is focusing intensely. There’s a level of service that we can provide at Harvard that we can’t provide for all of the colleges. And there’s a level of service we can provide when we’re a college network that we wouldn’t be able to provide if we went to other types of things.” (Re/code)
- The 2 Hillarys
Indira A.R. Lakshmanan covered foreign policy and politics for Bloomberg News the last few years, including traveling with Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign and as the lone reporter to then segue to cover her full-time as Secretary of State. "Watching her on those two different stages, the contrast between the two Hillarys was stunning. Up close, it felt like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. From the start of her first trip as secretary of state in February 2009, I was struck by how different she seemed from the presidential candidate she had been only several months before. Clinton was relaxed, at ease with the press and radiating charisma in front of crowds. In Indonesia, thousands of people crammed into a Jakarta slum, all wanting to touch her or catch a glimpse as she greeted new mothers at a maternal health clinic." This is a very good, insightful job. (POLITICO)
- Our egalitarian First Golfer
Alexis Simendinger of RealClearPolitics drew White House pool duty Sunday, meaning she was part of the presidential motorcade that wound its way to Caves Valley Golf Club in suburban Maryland. This was President Obama's 285th round of golf as president, according to Mark Knoller, the encyclopedic White House correspondent for CBS News. Covering these outings is tedious labor with the White House generally keeping you far, far away from the action.
But at least it prompted her to dig up a Golf Digest article that explained, "Caves Valley was conceived as an egalitarian 'golfers paradise' with an invitation-only membership policy blind to race, sex, creed or political affiliation — a novel idea in the hidebound Washington, D.C., metroplex. Most of the 500-member club is made up of national and international members, and they take advantage of the club's collection of five cottages and clubhouse lodge rooms to stay and gorge themselves on golf and gourmet food. A club's logo is a badge of honor at many places, but this membership holds the distinctively linked C and V in particularly high esteem. The Caves' 'jersey' is a golf shirt with a members-only red logo." Yes, they're blind to race, sex, creed or political affiliation. But not to the color green. The initiation fee is about $100,000. How egalitarian!
- Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
Kieran Corcoran is now a reporter for Heat Street. Previously, he was a reporter for Mail Online. (@kj_corcoran) | Colin Campbell is now deputy politics editor for Yahoo News. Previously, he was politics editor for Business Insider. (New York Playbook) | Stephanie Ruhle is joining MSNBC. She is an anchor at Bloomberg. (CNN Money) | WJLA is looking for a general assignment reporter. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves: firstname.lastname@example.org.