Posts tagged with ‘New York Times’

A New York Times Explainer
Some learning moments in this graph from a New York Times article on Washington DC’s new marijuana rules. 
First, tucked away in a style guide up on 8th Avenue and 40th Street is an entry that tells copyeditors that it’s a “jay” and not a “j”. Fair enough.
Second, “marijuana cigarette”? Who says that? Ever?  ”Joint” is in the dictionary. Use it. — Michael

A New York Times Explainer

Some learning moments in this graph from a New York Times article on Washington DC’s new marijuana rules

First, tucked away in a style guide up on 8th Avenue and 40th Street is an entry that tells copyeditors that it’s a “jay” and not a “j”. Fair enough.

Second, “marijuana cigarette”? Who says that? Ever?  ”Joint” is in the dictionary. Use it. — Michael

Sometimes the CIA or the director of national intelligence or the NSA or the White House will call about a story. You hit the brakes, you hear the arguments, and it’s always a balancing act: the importance of the information to the public versus the claim of harming national security. Over time, the government too reflexively said to the Times, “you’re going to have blood on your hands if you publish X,” and because of the frequency of that, the government lost a little credibility. But you do listen and seriously worry. Editors are Americans too. We don’t want to help terrorists.

Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of The New York Times, to Cosmopolitan. I’m Not Ashamed of Being Fired

In a Q&A with Cosmo, Abramson talks about life after the Times and offers good advice to young journos. For example:

I taught at Yale for five years when I was managing editor and what I tried to stress for students interested in journalism, rather than picking a specialty, like blogging or being a videographer, was to master the basics of really good storytelling, have curiosity and a sense of how a topic is different than a story, and actually go out and witness and report. If you hone those skills, you will be in demand, as those talents are prized. There is too much journalism right now that is just based on people scraping the Internet and riffing off something else.

It all comes back to storytelling.

Navigate the News
The Upshot, a new, data-driven venture from the New York Times, launches tomorrow. It will cover politics, policy and economic analysis, Quartz reported in March, and added:

David Leonhardt, the Times’ former Washington bureau chief, who is in charge of The Upshot, told Quartz that the new venture will have a dedicated staff of 15, including three full-time graphic journalists, and is on track for a launch this spring. “The idea behind the name is, we are trying to help readers get to the essence of issues and understand them in a contextual and conversational way,” Leonhardt says. “Obviously, we will be using data a lot to do that, not because data is some secret code, but because it’s a particularly effective way, when used in moderate doses, of explaining reality to people.”

Today, Leonhardt explained the why of it on Facebook:

You have no shortage of excellent news sources — sources that expertly report and analyze news as it happens. Like you, those of us at The Upshot rely on those sources every day. So why are we starting a new site to help people understand the news?…
…One, we believe many people don’t understand the news as well as they would like. They want to grasp big, complicated stories — Obamacare, inequality, political campaigns, the real-estate and stock markets — so well that they can explain the whys and hows of those stories to their friends, relatives and colleagues.
We believe we can help readers get to that level of understanding by writing in a direct, plain-spoken way, the same voice we might use when writing an email to a friend. We’ll be conversational without being dumbed down. We will build on the excellent journalism The New York Times is already producing, by helping readers make connections among different stories and understand how those stories fit together.

Image: @UpshotNYT announces its launch.

Navigate the News

The Upshot, a new, data-driven venture from the New York Times, launches tomorrow. It will cover politics, policy and economic analysis, Quartz reported in March, and added:

David Leonhardt, the Times’ former Washington bureau chief, who is in charge of The Upshot, told Quartz that the new venture will have a dedicated staff of 15, including three full-time graphic journalists, and is on track for a launch this spring. “The idea behind the name is, we are trying to help readers get to the essence of issues and understand them in a contextual and conversational way,” Leonhardt says. “Obviously, we will be using data a lot to do that, not because data is some secret code, but because it’s a particularly effective way, when used in moderate doses, of explaining reality to people.”

Today, Leonhardt explained the why of it on Facebook:

You have no shortage of excellent news sources — sources that expertly report and analyze news as it happens. Like you, those of us at The Upshot rely on those sources every day. So why are we starting a new site to help people understand the news?…

…One, we believe many people don’t understand the news as well as they would like. They want to grasp big, complicated stories — Obamacare, inequality, political campaigns, the real-estate and stock markets — so well that they can explain the whys and hows of those stories to their friends, relatives and colleagues.

We believe we can help readers get to that level of understanding by writing in a direct, plain-spoken way, the same voice we might use when writing an email to a friend. We’ll be conversational without being dumbed down. We will build on the excellent journalism The New York Times is already producing, by helping readers make connections among different stories and understand how those stories fit together.

Image: @UpshotNYT announces its launch.

Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices…

…All of this is entirely because of information provided to journalists by Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who stole a trove of highly classified documents after he became disillusioned with the agency’s voraciousness. Mr. Snowden is now living in Russia, on the run from American charges of espionage and theft, and he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community…

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government.

New York Times Editorial. Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower.

FJP: First, good on The New York Times.

Second, as the Times points out, Snowden’s been charged with two violations of the Espionage Act “involving unauthorized communication of classified information, and a charge of theft of government property.”

While the editorial suggests Snowden should receive clemency or, at the very least, a reduced sentence compared to the decades he faces under the current charges, take a look at the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s analysis of what Snowden would be able to present in his defense should he wind up in court. Basically, nothing:

If Edward Snowden comes back to the US to face trial, he likely will not be able to tell a jury why he did what he did, and what happened because of his actions. Contrary to common sense, there is no public interest exception to the Espionage Act. Prosecutors in recent cases have convinced courts that the intent of the leaker, the value of leaks to the public, and the lack of harm caused by the leaks are irrelevant—and are therefore inadmissible in court…

…[I]n Snowden’s case, the administration will be able to exclude almost all knowledge beneficial to his case from a jury until he’s already been found guilty of felonies that will have him facing decades, if not life, in jail.

This would mean Snowden could not be able to tell the jury that his intent was to inform the American public about the government’s secret interpretations of laws used to justify spying on millions of citizens without their knowledge, as opposed to selling secrets to hostile countries for their advantage.

If the prosecution had their way, Snowden would also not be able to explain to a jury that his leaks sparked more than two dozen bills in Congress, and half a dozen lawsuits, all designed to rein in unconstitutional surveillance. He wouldn’t be allowed to explain how his leaks caught an official lying to Congress, that they’ve led to a White House review panel recommending forty-six reforms for US intelligence agencies, or that they’ve led to an unprecedented review of government secrecy.

Chilling, and worthwhile to keep in mind when people say he should return from Russia and make his case to court.

Corrections: Setting the Record Straight

Via The New York Times:

This just in: we made a mistake – 136 years ago.

It was in a Jan. 9, 1877 article about a police officer shot by a saloon burglar.

The Times called him Officer McDonnell.

His name was McDowell.

The error came to light when we researched a correction to a recent article about the history of the New York Yankees logo.

The record is now set straight.

FJP: We give the Times a pass but presume this caught mistake won’t be the last.

Welcome to the Morgue

A few floors under Times Square is the “Morgue,” a New York Times archive repository of clippings and photographs dating back to the 1870s.

The archive holds 6-8 million physical photos, according to Jeff Roth, the morgue’s manager, about 98% of which have never been digitized.

"It’s an incredible collection of forgotten history," says the documentary filmmaker Katerina Cizek in the video above. Cizek spent a week in the morgue to gather materials for HIGHRISE, an interactive series created by The New York Times’s Op-Docs department and the National Film Board of Canada that explores the history of vertical living.

Haven’t seen it? We recommend you start exploring it now. Want more information about the multi-year series? Visit the NFB.

The intelligence community has worried about ‘going dark’ forever, but today they are conducting instant, total invasion of privacy with limited effort. This is the golden age of spying.

Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist of Cryptography Research, in an interview about the NSA’s ability to crack mobile and Internet encryption technologies in order to eavesdrop on online communications and other activities. ProPublica, Revealed: The NSA’s Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security.

The News: The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica have partnered on the Edward Snowden NSA leaks to reveal that “the NSA has secretly and successfully worked to break many types of encryption, the widely used technology that is supposed to make it impossible to read intercepted communications.”

Key Takeaway, Part 01: “For the past decade, NSA has led an aggressive, multipronged effort to break widely used Internet encryption technologies… [Now] vast amounts of encrypted Internet data which have up till now been discarded are now exploitable.”

Key Takeaway, Part 02: “Some of the agency’s most intensive efforts have focused on the encryption in universal use in the United States, including Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL; virtual private networks, or VPNs; and the protection used on fourth-generation, or 4G, smartphones.”

Key Takeaway, Part 03: “Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the NSA invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth.”

FJP: “Stealth” is an interesting word choice here. The reason for that is that back in the 90s, the NSA wanted backdoor access to encryption technologies via what it called the Clipper Chip. Proposed during the Clinton administration, and debated publicly, the effort went nowhere with critics pointing out the obvious privacy concerns as well as the economic concerns of US companies being required to allow intelligence agencies access to its encryption technologies. (Read: why would any foreign entity — government, business, individual or otherwise — choose a US technology solution that it knew wasn’t secure?)

As Techdirt notes, “That fight ended with the NSA losing… and now it appears that they just ignored that and effectively spent the past few decades doing the same exact thing, but in secret.”

Very Interesting Aside, Part 01: “Intelligence officials asked The Times and ProPublica not to publish this article, saying that it might prompt foreign targets to switch to new forms of encryption or communications that would be harder to collect or read. The news organizations removed some specific facts but decided to publish the article because of the value of a public debate about government actions that weaken the most powerful tools for protecting the privacy of Americans and others.”

Very Interesting Aside, Part 02: ProPublica explains why it published the story.

'New York Times' Creating Digital Longform Magazine →

The New York Time'slatest adventure in the longform world is a new digital-only magazine. Jill Ambramson, executive editor of NYT, sent a letter to her colleagues which highlighted shifts in responsibility within NYT. She wrote:

[…] part of my strategic push to have the newsroom take a leading role in developing new ways to present our journalism in digital forms and to create new products.

Former national editor Sam Sifton will now be the senior editor in change of the longform project. 

His first assignment is to create an immersive digital magazine experience, a lean back read that will include new, multimedia narratives in the tradition of Snow Fall and last weekend’s compelling account of the Arizona fire, as well as some of the best reads published during the previous week.

The Editorial Observations of a URL Shortener 

The Editorial Observations of a URL Shortener 

Pushy Notifications →

AdAge reports that the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are using more push notifications on their mobile and tablet apps than they did in the past.

The move reflects a strategy to increase user engagement with the apps that while downloaded, sometimes sit dormant on people’s devices. Specifically, each newsroom is using notifications for breaking news.

Via AdAge:

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in terms of U.S. digital circulation, according to the Alliance for Audited Media — are putting more emphasis on using mobile alerts to distribute breaking news stories and promote their mobile apps.

News publishers have long considered push notifications, which pop up on phone and tablet screens, too intrusive to use more than sparingly. In recent months, however, The Journal and Times have reconsidered that stance and started using them more often.

"We felt comfortable that our breaking news alerts have been well-received by readers and that we may have been a little too stringent about what alerts we should have been sending," said Jonathan Ellis, deputy editor of digital platforms at The Times, which has revised its guidelines on the subject. "More frequently, we’re asking ourselves the question ‘Should this be a mobile push alert?’"

FJP: The strategy is similar to one used by app developers and their frequent updates, no matter how small. It’s a reminder to the User that the app exists and hopefully prods him or her to use it again.

AdAge reports that those that opt in to push notifications are five times more likely to use an app but does take this warning from Brent Hieggelke, CMO at Urban Airship, “Push is not a channel to nag your customer. That’s a terrible experience.”

I also would like to say: You really should have kids review the children’s books (especially reviewers who are the same age as the kids whom the book is intended for).

Second grader Rosa Cohn in a letter to the New York Times (via schoollibraryjournal)

FJP: Brilliant advice.

(via libraryjournal)

The Complete Glossary of Hipster Hallmarks, cribbed from the pages of The New York Times and presented without comment. →

Starting with A, "all-night roof parties" (May 19, 2002), and ending with W, women with Feist haircuts” (“young”) (June 11, 2009).

Unfortunately, there’s no X, Y or Z.

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?
We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”
Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYC, Mashable, Time, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 
The consensus (here, here, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 
The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.
FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.
Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy
Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?

We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”

Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYCMashableTime, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 

The consensus (herehere, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 

The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.

FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.

Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (FacebookTwitterPinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy

Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.

Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg
Survival Facts: If you were a third class passenger, your chance of survival was 25 percent
First class passengers had a 62 percent survival rate. Second class passengers had a 41 percent survival rate. The crew had a 24 percent survival rate.
Fun Fact: What happened to the iceberg?
Bonus: Images of the Titanic wreck made by stitching together hundreds of optical and sonar images collected by robots via Scientific American Woods Whole Oceanographic Institute, and National Geographic.
Image: April 16, 1912 edition of the New York Times.

Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg

Survival Facts: If you were a third class passenger, your chance of survival was 25 percent

First class passengers had a 62 percent survival rate. Second class passengers had a 41 percent survival rate. The crew had a 24 percent survival rate.

Fun Fact: What happened to the iceberg?

Bonus: Images of the Titanic wreck made by stitching together hundreds of optical and sonar images collected by robots via Scientific American Woods Whole Oceanographic Institute, and National Geographic.

Image: April 16, 1912 edition of the New York Times.