Friday, 21 October 2016

Online News Comsumption: Video Vs Text (and Text is Winning)

Contrary to what media consultants, gurus and the like may have been saying, text, not video, is still the preferred medium for accessing and consuming news among the 18-29 age bracket (the so-called “millennials”).


The findings come from the Pew Research Center, but also Reuters Institute published a report outlining similar findings:

Website users in particular remain resistant to online video news with only around 2.5% of average visit time spent on video pages in a range of 30 online news sites; 97.5% of time is still spent with text. Around 75% of respondents to a Reuters Institute survey of 26 countries said they only occasionally (or never) use video news online.

Why do people prefer text over video?

Well, no surprises here. According to respondents in a survey conducted by the Reuters Institute, the main reason (41% respondents) was that reading text was “quicker and more convenient”. But I think we could come up with a lot more reasons, easily:

  • Text is quotable and more easily shareable
  • Text is accesible to people with disabilities
  • Most videos don’t have subtitles, forcing me to turn up the volume / stop listening to music or whatever I was doing.
  • Video demands full attention, text is easily scannable and can be consumed at my own pace.
  • With text I can easily keep switching tabs to attend other matters, then come back and keep reading.
  • Most people avoid streaming video on their mobile phones due to low data plans
  • Most of the time, video doesn’t add any value to the information. See this one as an example.

In order to see what kind of videos would work in online news, we should take a look at what works outside online news sites. According to the same RI report:

We find that the most successful off-site and social videos tend to be short (under one minute), are designed to work with no sound (with subtitles), focus on soft news, and have a strong emotional element.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

20 years of signing up

I signed up for my first email account on Yahoo! just about 20 years ago. I didn’t know what to do with it. None of my friends had one, and the only person I knew with an email was a friend that signed up with me, and we saw each other almost everyday. Data limits back when this was a problem mean that my email archive starts 6 years later, in 2002. I had to delete all previous email to free up space. Looking back at that archive I see friends and acquaintances I’m no longer in touch with, comments and memories from a past self, as foreign to me now as if I was peeking into someone else’s email.

During these 20 years I’ve given up my data to hundreds of companies, websites and services. Along the years these companies have dissappeared, merged, crashed, or grown into multimillion dollar businesses. But what’s common to all of them is that once I signed up for an account, I lost whatever degree of control I had over my personal data. Most of them never offered a way to delete the account, and when they did, they were outright lying, as ownership of my data was a revenue stream and/or an asset they could use in a sale negotiation.

Services like Twitter, Google and Facebook offer the possibility to sign up on external services using their credentials. That is the closer we ever got to a personal data protocol we could use to easily manage the services we sign up for, and we paid a dear price by giving up even more of our privacy to the advertisement industry.

Privacy and the control over personal data is going to become a key civil and digital rights issue in the coming years. While I’m conscious of the danger of having centralized data providers that would become instant magnets for malicious hackers, I think it’s not inherently more dangerous than spreading our data over dozens of services who may dissapear, be sold, be attacked or transfer your data without your knowledge and consent. We need a new architecture that gives us back control over our own data.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Storytelling with data

Data journalism can be much more than an impressive, interactive visualization or an inmmersive longform piece. There’s also the option of letting the data and the visualizations lead the storytelling, allowing for a much deeper comprehension of the subject at hand, as it’s the case with this work from the Tampa Bay Times. There, visualizations lead the story to show us the case they are investigating and explain to us why it’s important, taking us through each step.

Visit the story to see for yourself.


Friday, 10 July 2015

Podcasts are the next frontier of the digital media revolution

During the last 20 years, almost every communication business, channel and practice has been dramatically subverted by the digital deluge. We live today in a world where Telcos are content providers, an online shop produces TV series, newspapers are no longer in paper, TV is increasingly more downloaded and streamed than broadcasted and radio… well, radio is mostly still there, just as it was 20 years ago. The only unscathed survivor of the digital media apocalypse that has dethroned kings and built new behemoths. At least until now.

Ira Glass - This American Life
Ira Glass – This American Life

For some reason, podcasting has never been much of a threat to traditional radio stations, despite the hype about ten years ago. Actually, if you think about it, there are a few reasons:
Continue Reading

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Friday, 25 April 2014

#jpd14 – Gabriela Rodríguez (La Nación) & Mar Cabra (ICIJ, Civio, OKFN…)

Gabriela Rodríguez (La Nación), speaking at the II Jornadas de Periodismo de Datos in Barcelona:

Successful media companies work with their communities

Data journalists share with hackers their passion about what they do.

There’s a lack of collaboration between journalists. They should take more risks. The more successful journalists would be those that reach out and collaborate with more people.

Mar Cabra (ICIJ, Civio, OKFN…), speaking at the II Jornadas de Periodismo de Datos in Barcelona:

Journalists and coders share a vision of the world based in their curiosity.

#jpd14 – Juan Francisco Caro (Extremadura en Datos)

Juan Francisco Caro (Extremadura en Datos), speaking at the II Jornadas de Periodismo de Datos in Barcelona:

Data journalism is not just getting data out there. You have to verify sources and master statistical concepts to avoid publishing mistaken assumptions and interpretations. If not, information becomes disinformation.

#jpd14 – Nicola Hughes (The Times)

Nicola Hughes (The Times), speaking at the II Jornadas de Periodismo de Datos in Barcelona:

If you can write it, record it or film it it’s not from the web, you’re putting something else on the web

Data journalism is becoming too popular, in the sense that some people think that it’s enough to do some line charts, bar charts, just putting data out there, but they are not telling the story. There’s a need for storytelling.

The internet is transient, there’s no control over the tools you use, they can disappear. But knowing how to code solves that. And it also helps to document, backup, reproduce projects, and reuse tools in different projects.

The problem right now is not that information is scarce, it’s the opposite, organisations and institutions publish a ton of information, and because most journalists only look for press releases and copy to rewrite, interesting things become hidden in the deluge.

Advice to journalists: Take risks. Use your imagination. Think of yourself as a craftsman.

There’s no such thing as “I don’t know”, just “I haven’t googled it yet”.

Do one coding course, just one, and then start building things. You have to write a lot of bad poetry to start writing good poetry. it’s very much a craft.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

#jpd14: data journalism event in Barcelona

This whole weekend the second edition of the Jornadas de Periodismo de Datos will take place in Barcelona, Madrid and Almería, starting today. I’ll be participating with a modest workshop on spreadsheets in Barcelona on Saturday, but the speaker roster is filled with pretty big names in the spanish and latin-american data journalism community. The sessions are streamed online, but if you happen to live in any of the hosting cities, it’s worth attending the sessions on site.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

How to get rid of a newspaper editor

No han echado a Pedro J. porque los ministros no fuesen a sus entregas de premios. Eso era solo simbólico. Las presiones han sido mucho más sencillas: han consistido en cortar el grifo de la publicidad institucional. Según cálculos internos de Unidad Editorial, la guerra desatada por el escándalo Bárcenas –y especialmente por los SMS del presidente del Gobierno al extesorero del PP– le ha costado al grupo unos 14 millones de euros en publicidad institucional.

Todas las administraciones gobernadas por el PP, desde el Ministerio de Empleo hasta el Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, pasando por Castilla-La Mancha o la Comunidad de Madrid, han cortado el grifo de las subvenciones a El Mundo. Todo ese dinero público, que el PP reparte arbitrariamente y utiliza para domesticar a los medios de comunicación, ha pasado de El Mundo al ABC. Y de la misma manera que hace unos años Esperanza Aguirre se cargó a José Antonio Zarzalejos, hoy Mariano Rajoy ha desbancado a Pedro José.

via La extinción del PedroJotasaurius Rex.