News organizations are increasingly turning toward personalization techniques to grow and retain audiences, but there are potential downsides to this strategy: “While news personalization can help people manage information overload by making individuals’ news diets unique, it also threatens to incite filter bubbles and, in turn, bias.”
A matter of space: Designing newsrooms for new digital practice
October 18 2017
This report from API examines how redesigning physical newsroom spaces can “better support the behaviors, workflows and attitudes required in an adaptive, modern media company,” which can lead to an increase in collaboration and innovation. Some are also incorporating impact metrics into physical design by displaying analytics on the walls.
The Journal News and lohud.com in New York’s Westchester County built an impact tracker “to record not the clicks but the real-world change our journalism inspires.” Rather than focus on social media numbers, the organization is seeking to understand whether their reporting increased understanding, changed people’s minds, or uncovered the secrets of the powerful: “You get what you measure, and we’re simply more interested in inspiring real-world change.”
Can Hollywood movies about climate change make a difference?
October 2 2017
Climate change is a difficult concept to present on film—research indicates that apocalyptic accounts of climate change in movies are unlikely to spur viewers to act, and there is a delicate balance between conveying an appropriate sense of urgency with providing opportunities for action.
This primer into outcome harvesting provides a useful overview for funders and grantees seeking to understand impact when causal relationships aren’t entirely clear. Rather than “measure progress towards predetermined objectives or outcomes,” outcome harvesting “collects evidence of what has changed and, then, working backwards, determines whether and how an intervention contributed to these changes.”
Report: Comparing models of collaborative journalism
September 20 2017
Many news outlets are finding they can increase their impact through collaborative journalism efforts. This study from the Center for Cooperative Media takes a close look at the different models for such collaborations, including “temporary and separate,” “temporary and co-creating,” “temporary and integrated,” “ongoing and separate,” “ongoing and co-creating,” and “ongoing and integrated.”
This report from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) and commissioned by the Skoll Foundation engaged a group of funders from the Porticus, Ford, and Draper Richards Kaplan foundations to examine how specific organizations and approaches have been able to produce changes at the systems level. The report urges funders to “hold ourselves accountable to shifting systems as much as we hold grantees accountable for it.”
BuzzFeed’s strategy for getting content to do well on all platforms? Adaptation and a lot of A/B testing
September 15 2017
How does Buzzfeed get so much of its content to go viral? It employs a complex strategy that involves “tailoring subject matters to the platforms with the most receptive audiences, plus constant A/B testing.”
The back-of-the-envelope guide to communications strategy
September 7 2017
This four-question framework for communicating effectively about complex issues is designed to help advocates move away from “raising awareness” and toward specific, measurable goals—and it’s simple enough to fit on the back of an envelope.
Are nonprofit news sites just creating more content for elites who already read a lot of news?
September 6 2017
This Nieman Lab interview with Rodney Benson, author of Can Foundations Solve the Journalism Crisis, explores Benson’s perspective on foundation-funded nonprofit news sites. “It’s a Catch-22,” he says. “The foundations are asking nonprofit media to be [financially] sustainable and to have impact. Those two things don’t go together easily.”
Improving accountability reporting: How to make the best of journalism better for audiences
August 8 2017
This strategy study from the American Press Institute explores a new approach to accountability journalism to make complex information more accessible by “emphasizing the non-narrative, data or visual elements made possible by digital news.” It includes a portfolio of successful examples of journalism projects that effectively convey complex topics in digestible formats.