journalism

 

What News Story Characteristics Make People More Likely to Share It?

Posted 27 June 2016 by Matt Shipman

Online news outlets are interested in driving traffic to their websites. One way to do that is to get people to disseminate news stories through social media. A recent study attempts to outline which features in a news story make people more likely to share it. Getting people to share news stories online is important to online news companies, particularly those whose revenue models rely on online visitors. A study from Columbia University and the French National Institute found that... Read more

An Attempt to Outline What Constitutes ‘Valuable Journalism’

Posted 24 May 2016 by Matt Shipman

Journalism is essential to having an informed public, and therefore to having healthy, representative government. But the news that people actually read, watch or listen to is often focused on entertainment, sports, or funny cat videos. So, what constitutes “valuable” journalism? Is it what people want? Or is it what people “need”? A recent paper published in Journalism Studies attempts to address the issue, laying out four aspects of reporting that the paper’s authors call the dimensions of “valuable journalism.”... Read more

Why a TV Producer Created a Database for Finding Subject-Matter Experts

Posted 19 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s Note: This is guest post by Stavros Rougas, a co-founder of Expertise Finder and a former producer at the Toronto-based current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin. I recently heard of Expertise Finder and wanted to learn more about it. I figured that the fastest way to learn about it was to get the founder to explain it to me. To be clear, I’m not endorsing Expertise Finder, and have not been compensated in any way for running... Read more

How U.S. Reporters Are Using Facebook, Twitter

Posted 8 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

Social media are used to connect with people and share information, so it is not surprising that reporters are using social media platforms in their work – connecting with sources and collecting information are fundamental aspects of journalism. A recent paper offers insights into how, and to what extent, newspaper journalists are using Facebook and Twitter in their reporting. The paper, “Tapping Into a New Stream of (Personal) Data: Assessing Journalists’ Different Use of Social Media,” was published online April... Read more

For (German) Journalism Sites, Comments Are Only Bad News

Posted 7 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

It’s not news that the comments sections of online news sites can be hot spots for sharing ill-informed views, ad hominem attacks, or just good old fashioned vituperation. A recent study out of Germany finds that online comments – even polite, well-reasoned ones – can also hurt the perceived quality of news stories. One reason this is worth noting is that people in the U.S. get a lot of their science news from online sources – and that number is... Read more

A (Podcast) Conversation About Science Communication and Outreach

Posted 22 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

Want to hear me talk about some of the nuts and bolts of science communication? Now’s your chance. In autumn of 2015, PLOS launched a podcast series called PLOScast. The podcasts include periodic “Research Reading” roundups, as well as interviews on issues ranging from the future of scientific collaboration to open access publishing. Episode 8, which went online recently, was a conversation between me and Elizabeth Seiver, a science communication researcher at PLOS. The conversation was, naturally enough, focused on... Read more

Working Toward a Tool to Help Us Understand How Misinformation Spreads Online

Posted 18 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people are often wrong on the internet. This can manifest itself in the form of conspiracy theories, inaccurate information related to breaking news, or misleading (or just plain wrong) information related to science and research. Sometimes inaccurate information is annoying, or even comical. Sometimes, however, inaccurate information can have serious consequences – such as online memes that mislead people about public health issues or when news reports say that an innocent person is... Read more

Why It Was So Mysterious: an Interview with Steve Silberman

Posted 29 February 2016 by Matt Shipman

Neurotribes is an ambitious book. It is, as Oliver Sacks describes it in the foreword, “a sweeping and penetrating history of [autism, Asperger’s syndrome and how those diagnoses are understood]. Grappling with such a sweeping topic is a challenge, especially when it is subject to public controversy. How does a science writer deal with readers whose fears have led them to discount science (as is the case with those who claim vaccines have caused an autism “epidemic”)? For author Steve... Read more

Checking in on Mosaic at the Two-Year Mark: an Interview with Editor Giles Newton

Posted 22 February 2016 by Matt Shipman

In March of 2014, the Wellcome Trust launched Mosaic, an online science magazine devoted to publishing long-form science journalism. At the time, I interviewed Mark Henderson, the trust’s head of communications, about his expectations for the fledgling publication. Now, almost two years and about a hundred stories later, it’s time to check back in. Has Mosaic lived up to expectations? And how has it evolved over time? To find out, I caught up with Giles Newton, Mosaic’s editor. Giles earned... Read more

Happy Birthday, SciCheck – How Was Your First Year?

Posted 29 January 2016 by Matt Shipman

On January 29 of 2015, FactCheck.org – the nonpartisan fact-checking site based at the Annenberg Public Policy Center – launched a new feature called SciCheck. At the time, Eugene Kiely, the director of FactCheck.org, said in a statement that SciCheck “will focus exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.” I was curious about how SciCheck has done in its first year, so reached out to Dave Levitan, who was the primary... Read more