Need to Know: April 20, 2016

Fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism


You might have heard: Publishers can now create bots for Facebook Messenger

But did you know: With the rise of messaging apps and chatbots, publications and brands will need to figure out the right metrics (Digiday)
More publications and marketers alike are turning to messaging apps as a new way to reach audiences, but the challenge of how to measure success on these apps remains. When communicating with people through chatbots such as those on Facebook Messenger, publications are looking for ways to quantify those interactions, whether by measuring the number of interactions or the quality of interactions. Eyal Pfeifel, CEO of artificial intelligence company Imperson, says: “A new set of metrics will develop over time around these new kinds of experiences.”

+ Noted: Yahoo bidders include Verizon, private equity firm TPG, and Bain Capital paired with Vista Equity Partners, which includes some former Yahoo executives (Re/code); New York Daily News fires an editor for removing attribution from columns written by Shaun King, making it appear that King had plagiarized others’ work (CNN Money); Facebook may let users add a “tip jar” to posts as a way to make money or promote a cause (The Verge); Tribune Publishing buys Chicago magazine Splash from the Sun-Times (Talking New Media)


Charting the ethical terrain of nonprofit journalism
We’ll be at Columbia University in New York City tonight to talk about the ethics of nonprofit journalism and our new research with funders and nonprofit leaders. If you’re in NYC, we hope you’ll join us, but if you can’t be there, you can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #APInonprofitethics.


NPR’s lessons on what kinds of audio work well on Facebook (Nieman Lab)
During a monthlong experiment, NPR asked, can audio go viral on Facebook? Using Facebook’s new inline audio player, NPR posted a variety of clips ranging in length, content and style to Facebook, tracking reach and engagement. NPR found that the most popular audio clips in the experiment were breaking news, news that’s best experienced through listening, and clips from the NPR archives.

+ Earlier: Instead of “why doesn’t audio go viral?” we should be asking why audio can’t benefit from the social Internet like text or images does


The Independent’s mobile app has twice as many subscribers as its print edition did (Digiday)
The Independent ended its print edition on March 26, and the newspaper encouraged subscribers to download The Independent Daily Edition app as an alternative to the print paper. Nearly a month later, that mobile app now has twice as many subscribers as the print edition: The Independent’s print circulation was around 55,000 with 7,500 subscribers.


How online abuse could be leading to Twitter to shrink (Business Insider)
Jon Ronson, a journalist who studies online abuse and the author of “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” says that shaming and abuse could be leading to Twitter’s decline in user growth. For his book, Ronson spent several years following people such as the woman who tweeted that she hoped she didn’t get AIDS before going to Africa who were publicly abused by Twitter users. Despite the attempts Twitter has made to address abuse on the platform, Ronson says: “I don’t think Twitter have addressed the problem at all. They’ve been terrible at addressing the problem.”


Chris Cillizza: Journalism isn’t dying, but it is changing faster than most people understand (Washington Post)
Offering a rebuttal to the cries that journalism’s death is imminent, Chris Cillizza says that it’s just changing much faster than most people understand. Ten years ago, journalists focused on the “what” of the story, and the Internet allowed people to get the “what” from anywhere, leading that element to lose value with the readers. The declining interest in the “what” of a story is what’s leading to the rise in analysis, context and commentary that focus on the “why,” “now what” and “so what” of a story.


More than 20 months after Ferguson, some journalists still face charges in St. Louis County (Columbia Journalism Review)
More than 20 months after they were arrested at a McDonald’s in Ferguson, Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery (who just won a Pulitzer for the coverage) are still facing charges in St. Louis County, Missouri. The charges against Reilly and Lowery were filed in August just days before the statute of limitations was up, and have been the subject of numerous legal proceedings in Missouri since then. Columbia Journalism Review’s Jonathan Peters breaks down Reilly and Lowery’s challenges to the charges, the response from St. Louis County, and what we can expect to happen next.