When you’re publishing to Facebook, or tweaking a headline to align with some carefully honed SEO strategy, how closely do you take note of story topic?
New research from Parse.ly suggests that news organizations trying to make the most of Facebook referrals and Google search traffic need to be extra discerning about story topic, as some — like lifestyle or entertainment — see the majority of their referral traffic coming from Facebook, while others — like tech, sports, and business — see the lion’s share of their traffic coming through Google search. (The findings were based on Parse.ly’s analysis of more than 10 million articles published last year by outlets within its network.)
Call it, if you like, a replication experiment. Twenty-one years ago, the New York University physicist Alan Sokal attempted to prove that the influence of postmodern ways of thinking in the humanities had reached the point where academic nonsense was indistinguishable from academic sense. As a physicist, Sokal found writing about science to be particularly offensive, and he submitted a “hoax” paper to the important academic journal Social Text titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” Sokal was conducting an experiment to see if “a leading North American journal of cultural studies — whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross — [would] publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.” They did.
When it comes to metrics and measurement, digital publishing has brought both the good and the bad. While news organizations are now able to see, with increasingly accuracy and depth, exactly which stories resonate with readers, metrics have also taken an outsize role in determining which stories reporters are encouraged to chase. That’s often bad news for important investigative stories that are unlikely to draw big audiences.
Efforts by online activists didn’t stop Emmanuel Macron from winning the French presidential election, but they were further proof that campaigns of misinformation, smears, and targeted leaks are now part and parcel of major democratic events. Pepe the frog may have been pronounced dead on May 8, but the movement that took cartoonist Matt Furie’s creation as its mascot lives on. As the dust settles on an extraordinary presidential campaign, here are some questions Storyful thinks newsrooms need to consider about how they will cover these new communication dynamics.
Here is a (far from complete) list of places where you can listen to NPR programming: Your old school radio. Your car radio. Your smartphone. Your smartwatch. Your Amazon Echo. Your Google Home. Your refrigerator?
If you own a Samsung Family Hub fridge (which features a giant screen on one of its doors), you can get a bulletin briefing of your calendar for the day, as well as an hourly news update, via NPR. (That’s in the United States. In Europe, the news partner is Upday; in Korea, it’s Kakao.)