Offbeat

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

News organizations including NYT and the BBC have said their sites were infected with ‘ransomware,’ but how does this kind of malware work?

Some major news organizations including The New York Times, AOL and the BBC have said their websites were attacked by “ransomware” that attempted to install the malware on users’ computers. Southern California public radio station KPCC reports that while this form of malware isn’t new, the attacks are becoming more common and often target organizations […]

ZenithOptimedia says it expects digital advertising to overtake TV as the biggest global ad category in 2017

ZenithOptimedia predicts that digital advertising will overtake TV advertising as the biggest global ad category in 2017, a year earlier than it had previously predicted. Zenith also reduced its predictions for ad spending both in the U.S. and globally for 2016, citing weaker print ad sales than it expected. On the U.S. ad trends, Zenith […]

Twitter’s 140-character limit isn’t going anywhere, CEO Jack Dorsey says

On the Today Show, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that Twitter’s 140-character limit is here to stay. It was reported in January that Twitter may have been considering extending its character limit to 10,000 characters, an idea that would have fundamentally changed the social network and was protested by many Twitter users. Dorsey told the […]

More social networks are introducing algorithmic feeds to combat information overload

With the news this week that Instagram may introduce an algorithmic feed, Caitlin Dewey writes there’s a reason why we’re seeing more social networks introduce algorithmic feeds: “We follow too many people on too many platforms to ever dream of keeping up — a state of perpetual Sisyphean treadmilling so unsatisfying that some users would […]

If Instagram moves to an algorithmic feed, publishers who already perform well will get a boost

News broke Tuesday that Instagram may move to an algorithm-based feed similar to that of Facebook’s. But what would those changes mean for brands and publishers on Instagram? Publishers who are already performing well on Instagram will be helped by the algorithm, especially those who post content around trending topics. But brands and publishers who […]

Instagram may change its reverse-chronological feed to an algorithm-based feed

Since it was launched, Instagram has shown users a feed of images in reverse chronological order. But it’s testing an algorithm-based feed that’s similar to what’s used by its parent company Facebook, Mike Isaac reports. As for how this feed could work, Isaac writes: “That could mean that if your best friend posted a photo […]

An argument for why you should disclose your salary to your co-workers: It will lead to greater fairness in pay

David Burkus, professor at Oral Roberts University and author of “Under New Management,” says salary transparency will lead to more fair pay. Employees will know what everyone else makes, which Burkus says makes it easier for people to know what it takes to move up the ladder. In Harvard Business Review’s Ideacast podcast, Burkus explains […]

The Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker case could limit news organizations’ ability to report on unflattering details about public figures online

In Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker, both sides are arguing that the case will have serious implications for the Internet. While Hogan’s side is arguing that a loss would mean weakened privacy for Americans, Gawker argues that if Hogan is to win, press freedom is at risk. Gawker argues that if Hogan wins, it would […]

The scientific reason why your first idea is rarely your best one

Neurologist David Eagleman says there’s a scientific reason why your first idea isn’t usually your best one: Our brains are lazy, and the first idea we have is usually the handiest idea, rather than the best idea. To get your brain to your best idea, Eagleman says: “The key to innovation is to distrust the […]

The downside of Slack at work: ‘Group chat is like being in an all-day meeting with random participants and no agenda’

Group chat apps for the workplace such as Slack and Hipchat have some major advantages when it comes to improving workflows and internal communications, but Jason Fried writes that these apps also have their issues when used improperly. The potential downsides, Fried writes, include creating a culture where everything needs to be handled ASAP, a […]