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Issue #89 | 2018-08-22
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This is issue #89 of this newsletter and soon enough we'll hit the big 100. Which has got me thinking that it may be time for some new ideas. Most of the first 80 or so newsletters have followed a pretty standard format and, like most things, that format probably needs to be re-visited. So don't be surprised if you notice a few small changes over the coming weeks. And mostly please feel free to let me know if you like/hate any of these changes. 
 
 

How they did it: How the New York Times designed a faster and more flexible home page

With most of its investment focus on mobile over the past few years, the New York Times' desktop site had barely changed in a decade. This also meant that the Times had an aging set of tools and its engineers were having to duplicate work across platforms. So it set out to build a new site that gives readers a consistent view across all devices and eliminates duplicate work for its teams. This piece takes an interesting look at some of the design choices made during the publication's recent redesign.
 

Three reasons junk news spreads so quickly across social media

Yes, algorithms are number one on the list but it's not just code that's helping spread fake news. This is a short summary of a much longer white paper(PDF) which is also worth reading. 
 

The other side of online comments

Just the mention of reader comments is often enough to send a chill down the spine of any editor. But in some cases there may actually be hidden opportunities in the comments. For example, The Seattle Times uses registered readers/commenters to move potential subscribers through the sales funnel. And this Argentinian newspaper made reader comments the centerpiece of its membership programme.
 

"We lost subscribers over the crossword"

It's easy to forget that readers subscribe not only for the news articles we produce but also for other things like crossword puzzles. And if you don't get that right it could cost you.

 

Tips & Tools

 

Listener's corner

A number of podcast episodes crossed my path this past week which I thought worth re-sharing.

Subscription journalism
In the first, The Information's Jessica Lessin spoke to DigiDay's Brian Morrissey about five years in subscription journalism and how the company has grown to 20+ editorial staff. 

Podcast growth
Founded four years ago to make quality podcasts, Gimlet Media has grown to a staff of over 100 with six studios, and is producing dozens of podcasts. Recode's Peter Kafka spoke to founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber about the rapid growth of the network

The proof is in the eating
The Pudding regularly produces some of the most accomplished data-based stories available today, like this one on the size of women's pockets versus those of men. Find out how The Pudding does it in this interview with one of the pockets' creators, Amber Thomas.
 
 

Tech & Data Hub

The Best Javascript Data Visualization & Charting Libraries is an excellent round up of the current state of tools. This is not drag-and-drop stuff but there is much to explore here if you're looking for some new ideas. 

The Marshall Project has been doing some amazing data-based coverage of criminal justice, including this piece: Sending Even More Immigrants to Prison. And this is how they made it

The New York Times has been exploring new ways to engage with audiences through games. Its Games Team has has been experimenting with rapidly prototyping and testing games

 

If you enjoy this newsletter please tell your friends and colleagues about it and encourage them to subscribe. Just click this link to share: Forward to a friend. If you didn't enjoy it please tell me what I could be doing better. 
 

 



Until next week,
Alastair
@alastairotter
Copyright © 2018 Media Hack Collective, All rights reserved.


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