Need to Know: May 30, 2018

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


You might have heard: Referral traffic from Google Search is up, due primarily to increased traffic from mobile, and more specifically from pages that use AMP

But did you know: Mobile traffic surpasses Facebook traffic to media sites for the first time, signaling device behavior is the real driver of consumption (Chartbeat)

New data from Chartbeat shows that for the first time, mobile direct-to-site traffic has surpassed Facebook referrals. With all of the discussion around the duopoly and the lack of control publishers have over their traffic, Chartbeat took a look at its data to observe traffic differences since the Facebook algorithm changes were announced in January. Overall traffic to publisher sites has not declined — it’s remained steady. “For as long as we can remember … mobile readers = social readers, where someone on mobile most likely found your content from Facebook. Our latest data shows that’s no longer the case. Now, mobile readers are arriving to a site (website or app) directly to the homepage or section front more often than from attributed social platforms, namely Facebook.”

+ Noted: Tronc buys Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot for $34 million (The Virginian-Pilot); Bankruptcy judge accepts $1 million opening bid for Gawker from ad agency Didit (New York Post); Veteran CBS News radio correspondent Bob Fuss, who covered Capitol Hill for more than two decades, has died (Hollywood Reporter); Shari Redstone says National Amusements had already advised Viacom it no longer supported a merger with CBS, before CBS moved to strip her of voting power (The Wrap); An antitrust professor says the AT&T-Time Warner merger is in trouble (New York Post)


How the Anchorage Daily News used the Iditarod sled dog race to rethink how it covers events (Better News)

Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Use annual events to experiment with storytelling approaches, form audience/content teams, and stretch resources. “Like a lot of newsrooms, we deal with coverage of certain events every year. For us at the Anchorage Daily News, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is one of those events … The Iditarod is important, but we also felt like it was a good vehicle to experiment with some coverage concepts that could ultimately have a more strategic payoff. The stakes were much lower than, say, an election. We’re heavily focused on growing digital audience and looking closely at what content resonates with readers and what doesn’t.”

+ More resources and guides to reinventing newsroom staffing and workflow (Better News)


The latest USA Today app has the push notification features we all deserve (Poynter)

Expanding from USA Today’s list of general topics — breaking news, sports, technology and others you’d expect — its app now allows users to also pick from a list of suggested narrower topics, things like midterm elections, virtual reality and social security. Further suggested topics exist within stories, too — a story about Uber rolling out an emergency feature displays an “Add Topic” button for Uber, for example. Users can mix and match topics to receive the news, culled from across the USA Today Network, that’s most interesting to them. “We’re helping folks organize all of the information that’s out there … and find something of relevance,” said Jason Jedlinski, head of consumer products at USA Today Network.

+ Peter Doucette, chief consumer revenue officer at The Boston Globe, discusses why it’s essential to empower journalists with data to inform editorial decisions (Reuters)


Axel Springer open-sources its GDPR consent management tools (Digiday)

The German digital media group, which owns Business Insider, Bild and Welt, has spent the last 18 months developing a GDPR consent management tool, which can also be adapted to address cookie-consent requirements under the pending ePrivacy Regulation once it is finalized, according to the publisher. A consent management platform is a technical capability needed by any company that wants to capture what personal data its audience and customers have given it permission to use. That information is then relayed to all partners that publisher works with in its digital advertising supply chain. The aim is to ensure that all data needed for activities such as personalized advertising is only used when the user has given consent.

+ Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, a fierce critic of Kremlin policies, was shot and killed Tuesday in Kiev (Associated Press); Big tech industry groups claim EU’s new ePrivacy Regulation will limit growth online (The New York Times); Papua New Guinea says it will ban Facebook for a month in a bid to crack down on fake users and study how fake news and pornography spreads (The Guardian); India’s Hotstar draws over 10 million concurrent viewers, sets new global record (Medium, Manish Singh)


How companies can identify racial and gender bias in their customer service (Harvard Business Review)

Research shows that minority customers regularly receive worse customer service than whites in ways that are not immediately obvious to onlookers (or even managers). These results prompt a couple of questions for executives and managers. One, does your company hire individuals to interface with customers? Most likely, the answer is “yes.” Two, do you know if your employees are treating all customers equally? The answer here is probably “no.” This is, in part, because many aspects of customer service are intangible, nuanced, and difficult to observe. A well-designed internal audit can help you understand exactly how your employees are treating customers, and can help you formulate changes to implement.

+ Imgur, the GIF and image sharing site, launches video support (TechCrunch)


How social media became a pink collar job (Wired)

One job in the digital economy falls predominantly to women. It’s an oft-overlooked position, drawing on both marketing and editorial skills, that has become increasingly critical both to business success and online discourse. The pay is poor, and the respect can be limited. Take a look at the job posting for any social media manager. Social media managers are “the behind-the-screens labor involved in media and technology, central to propelling our digital economy forward,” says Brooke Erin Duffy, who is an assistant professor in communications at Cornell. Between 70 and 80 percent of social media workers self-identify as women on the salary compilation site Payscale.

+ Lie? Falsehood? What to call the president’s words (Columbia Journalism Review); A DNC lawsuit against WikiLeaks raises press freedom questions about whether journalists could be implicated by sources’ illegal behavior (Committee to Protect Journalists)


What it’s like when Elon Musk’s Twitter mob comes after you (The Daily Beast)

“Female journalists who cover Elon Musk have the same personal rule: Mention his name on Twitter at your peril,” writes Erin Biba. “That’s because there is an army — mostly young, mostly white, almost entirely men — that marches behind him. These MuskBros, as we call them, make it their mission to descend on women who criticize Musk, and tear them to pieces. I know, because it has happened to me. More than once.”

+ Don’t read the comments: Wikimedia researcher Caroline Sinders on online harassment (Logic Magazine)