Offbeat

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers news and ideas from unusual sources or other industries beyond journalism.

Why digital transformations require leaders to change some of their core beliefs

Many businesses, in the news industry and outside of it, believe they can transform into a digitally focused organization by making small tweaks, Barry Libert, Megan Beck and Jerry Wind write. But a real digital transformation requires a change in the leadership’s core beliefs. While industries are built around a set of traditional assumptions and […]

How the decline of local newspapers is affecting Congress

The decline of local newspapers is leading to fewer reporters covering Congress, a shift that has a big potential impact on Congress, Jonathan Bernstein writes. To secure re-election, politicians typically advertise, claim credit for accomplishments, and take positions, all strategies that Bernstein says largely depend on media organizations taking notice. Bernstein writes: “The demise of […]

For those getting started on Snapchat, two tools can help you find more interesting users to follow

There’s no good way within the Snapchat app to discover new accounts to follow, which can be a challenge for publishers trying to get started on Snapchat and build an audience there. But two new tools are trying to fix that problem. GhostCodes and Peek help Snapchat users find interesting users to follow, and help other […]

By designing its products to be accessible for those with disabilities, Google’s products become better for all its users

“Accessibility is a basic human right,” says Google’s senior manager of accessibility engineering Eve Andersson. “It benefits everyone.” Though Andersson’s team focuses on how to make Google’s products just as usable for those with disabilities as those without, that focus creates a better product for all users. For example, autocomplete and voice controls are features […]

Twitter will stop counting links and photos in its 140-character limit

Twitter is making a major change to how it counts characters and giving users more space and flexibility in their tweets. Within the next two weeks, links and photos will no longer be counted in the 140-character limit, Bloomberg reports. Even after links are shortened by Twitter, a single link takes up 23 characters in […]

How to create a living style guide for your website

Living style guides are essential for keeping web developers and designers on the same page, genealogy site FamilySearch’s lead web developer Steven Lambert says. Lambert explains how FamilySearch created their living style guide. Among Lambert’s advice: FamilySearch started by printing off every page of the site and hanging them up, so everyone could see why […]

How to build trust with employees as people are staying at jobs for shorter tenures

Building employee trusts takes time — often longer than people are staying at jobs these days, BuildDirect CEO Jeff Booth writes. Booth explains how BuildDirect, a startup for home improvement products, is fostering trust with its employees, even as they’re staying in their jobs for shorter periods of time. Among his advice: Showing vulnerability accelerates […]

Media companies who want to join Snapchat Discover must be prepared to pay

For a publisher to be on Snapchat Discover, they need to be prepared to pay Snapchat for the opportunity, The Information’s Tom Dothan writes. While the terms may vary, all publishers have agreed to give Snapchat a cut of their ad revenue, which is usually 30 percent. But some publishers’ agreements with Snapchat include a […]

Some Reddit moderators consider blocking links from publishers that ban ad blockers

Moderators of Reddit’s technology subreddit are considering banning links from publishers, including Wired and Forbes, that prevent users with ad blockers enabled from accessing their sites. In particular, Forbes was singled out by a moderator for serving readers malware when ad blockers are disabled. That moderator also said the ban could be expanded to websites […]

Publishers and advertisers are both fighting for people’s attention, and working more closely together as a result

With the rise of ad blockers and more competition for people’s attention, advertisers are trying to make their ads seem less like an advertisement, and even changing the way they talk about ads. At the NewFronts, companies such as Hulu and Time Inc. proposed that “ads are the products of symbiotic relationships, rather than frustrating […]