In CJR piece entitled Why journalists have the right to cover the University of Missouri protests, Jonathan Peters sums up the Mizzou fracas, after photojournalism student Tim Tai, covering a public protest on public property, was strong-armed. The protesters demanded media attention. They got it. Then they wanted to turn it off — again, on public property. The ignorance of First Amendment freedoms on the part of students, academics and staff was appalling.

Tai, 20, a senior photojournalism major from St. Louis, Missouri, was on the front lines of that battle—however unwittingly. He was on assignment for and found hundreds of people singing and celebrating in the quad after the president announced his resignation. Tai quickly set to work to capture the moment—from inside the quad—but the 1950 supporters interfered.

As the video shows, one tells him to back up because nearby signs instructed the media to stay out. Another supporter says, “You do not have a right to take our photos.” Tai explains that he does have that right, and he says the First Amendment principles that allow them to be in the quad also allow him to be there. And then, two minutes into the video, a university administrator joins the fun.

Janna Basler, Mizzou’s director of Greek life and leadership, tells Tai that he needs to “back off” and “go.” She brushes against him, and Tai asks if she’s employed by the Office of Greek Life. Basler responds, “My name is 1950.” She also tells Tai that he is “impinging on what [its members] need right now, which is to be alone.” As the students behind Basler begin to push forward, she makes physical contact with Tai, prompting him to object, to which she responds, “I don’t have a choice.” The students seem to decide that since he’s not going to move, they’re going to move forward as a human chain, physically pushing him back with their bodies. A student adds, “It’s our right to walk forward.”

The video, shot by Mark Schierbecker, 22, a junior history major and photographer for The Maneater, the independent campus newspaper, also captured a confrontation with a faculty member. Melissa Click, an assistant professor of communication who specializes in popular culture, refuses to answer any questions from Schierbecker—before telling him to “get out” and grabbing at his camera. Then she turns to the 1950 supporters scattered behind her and says, “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here.”

NPR’s David Folkenflik spoke with Missourian editor Brian Katzer:

No matter what you think of their cause, the intimidation was a serious mistake. Then again, you expect college students to make mistakes during their years on campus. It’s part of the point of coming to campus. You screw up, you learn, and you take those lessons with you.

You don’t expect people holding positions of authority to make those same mistakes. Yet in several instances, faculty members and administrators were documented — some on video — harassing those merely seeking to report what was unquestionably news while standing in an unquestionably public space.

“You can study there. You can nap there. You can eat there. You can sleep there,” Kratzer said. And report there too.

Yet an administrator repeatedly tried to block a student journalist, Tim Tai, from taking pictures on assignment for ESPN. “You need to back off,” she told him, flanked by student protesters. “You are infringing on their right to be alone.” She helped lead a group of students who essentially steamrolled Tai away, even as he calmly asserted his First Amendment rights to be there.

The offending adults have since apologized.


Current reports that the Public Media Platform, “launched in 2012 as a nonprofit founded by NPR, PBS, Public Radio Exchange, Public Radio International and American Public Media,” will move to a spot under NPR’s wing. Th API makes it possible for public media outlets to access each others’ digital content. We got a little bit of insight into the PMP when I was an editor at Minnesota Public Radio (American Public Media).

Instant Articles, Cont.

You know how, when you’re on Facebook, you click on a link that sounds promising only to wait forever for the page to load (i.e. about the same time as it takes to spell Mississippi) and then you say “screw it,” click the cancel button and move on? Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic.

But what has struck me about the first three days of using Instant Articles is that my behavior has already significantly changed to account for the speed boost. Posts of an Instant Article have a little lightning-bolt icon in the corner; I already find myself looking for that icon to decide whether to open a story. If it’s there, I figure there’s no opportunity cost, so I tap recklessly (“how bad could it be?”), the page loads more or less immediately, and I read it. If it’s not there, I go through a little mental routine of making sure that I really, really do want to read the story—and then, even though I know I’m going to pay the loading tax, I groan after I tap and that blank page appears.

Whoa There

Over at Greater Public:

People assume that if you have 100 fans, all 100 get your content in the news feed. That’s not how Facebook works, nor has Facebook ever worked that way.

EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm that decides which stories appear in each user’s newsfeed. About five years ago, 30% – that’s three out of every 10 of your fans – actually got your post in their news feed, and that was an EdgeRank peak. Facebook does this to try to weed out spam. When you post more frequently, Facebook decreases the visibility of your post.Let’s say you make the first post of the day at 9:00 a.m. If you post again at 11:00 a.m. Facebook is likely to decrease your EdgeRank score by half. Another post in the afternoon? Your score might be at 1%. Now, if you have 100,000 fans, it’s probably worth posting several times a day because you’ll still reach 1000 people with your lowest-visibility post. But if you have 5000 fans, all of those posts aren’t worth the effort.

One study looked at 1.1 million Facebook pages and determined that posting every other day had the strongest correlation to growth of “likes” and net fan growth rate. The number one reason why people will unlike your organization is because they’re seeing you in their feed all the time. Aim to post no more than 3-5 times per week.

If you’re posting more frequently, try using your spare time to check out other social media like Instagram or Snapchat.

Against Connecting

“The moment that people are alone, even for a few seconds, they become anxious, they panic, they fidget, they reach for a device. Just think of people at a checkout line or at a red light,” Turkle says in her TED Talk “Connected, But Alone?” “Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved. And so people try to solve it by connecting. But here, connection is more like a symptom than a cure.” — Jane Porter, Fast Company

Twitter Publish

Twitter has launched Curator and Publish for creating embeddable grids of Twitter content. It’s part of the product rollout with Moments.

Moments, edited by Twitter, was created in order to draw people to the platform who might not otherwise use it — people who want someone else to help them follow the news because the Twitter stream pisses them off. (Drew Olanoff at TechCrunch calls these folks “Normals.”) Curator and Publish are tools that anyone with a Twitter account can use to create their own “moments,” and embed them on a website. The embed looks pretty slick, with photo tweet images running full width, and it’s responsive so it looks good on mobile too. Try it. It’s easy:

  • Sign into Twitter
  • Open Curator:
  • Create a project. I called mine “Colorado”
  • Create a collection. I called mine “November Snow”
  • Create a curation. I called mine “November 5”
  • Enter search terms (i.e. #cowx, a common hashtag for Colorado weather)
  • Click the tweets you want to move from the feed to the curated column
  • Have what you want? Click the gear box > embed over the curated column
  • That takes you to Publish, which generates your embed code.
  • Copy and paste the embed code into a page, just as you would a tweet

Here’s my own test from today:

Here’s how the above demo grid looks embedded on a WordPress page:

Here’s a New York Times demo grid embedded on a WordpRess page:

Better Gramming

HootSuite’s advice for a clear Instagram strategy:

  • Research your competitors
  • Define your story
  • Set goals

Make your account more visible:

  • Announce your account on other networks,
  • Link to your account on your website, email etc.
  • Follow and comment/like on other accounts
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Embed your photos on your own site.

Also: Find the best time to post, post consistently, don’t go overboard, don’t use hashtag gimmicks, make creative use use of captions, ask questions, tag users and your location.

And: Use contests and campaigns, help others build their community, consider Instagram advertising to gain more followers, and measure and analyze your Instagram results and act on them.

Not Dead Yet

Matt Ingraham at Fortune

If you’re of a certain age, the web has a single thing at its core, and that is the hyperlink—those blue links that connect one page to another, creating a kind of interlocking mesh of URLs that encircles the globe. But if you’re someone who lives on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, links don’t matter nearly as much because you hardly ever see them, and even if you do, you probably never click on them.

Facebook’s “Instant Articles” and Twitter’s new Moments feature seem to be accelerating this phenomenon, for better or worse. The whole point of Facebook’s Instant Articles project, in which it has formed partnerships with publishers like the New York Times, is that the content from those publishers exists completely inside Facebook’s mobile app. It’s consumed there, and shared there—there’s no link to an external site because it’s unnecessary.

Twitter TWTR -2.43% seems to be taking a similar approach with Moments, a listing of tweets and images that are selected by the company’s editorial staff. They are a great way to catch up on the news, but if you want to get at the link to the underlying story, it is hidden three clicks deep. Realistically, there’s zero chance that anyone will actually click those links.


Via DP Review:

VSCO, the company behind the very successful VSCOCam app, has launched its contribution to GIF-making: DSCO for iOS. The new app is extremely simple. After signing in with your VSCO-account it lets you capture a few seconds of footage and in a second step, just like in VSCOCam, you’ll choose from a number of preset filters by swiping left and right. Filters are applied to the preview immediately. Once the desired look has been achieved and editing is done, the final results can be posted to your VSCO account or shared on social networks.



Focus, Go Deep

Bilton, at Digiday, riffs on the news that the Weather Channel is going to focus on, um weather:

More publishers are waking up to the reality that they can’t do everything — and that they’re much better served doing less. (As part of the Weather Channel deal, IBM will provide data to — and likely slap its logo on — the Weather Channel app.) New Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait sent out a memo in September detailing the company’s decision to concentrate on its strengths, which meant that it would stop covering topics such as sports and education. The rationale: “People don’t turn to us for news on schools and baseball,” he wrote.

Which reminds me: The Travel Channel used to be pretty good, too.