posts about or somewhat related to ‘Washington Post’

Yahoo admits this blog is 75% air →

cnnmoneytech:

Well, kind of.

The tech world reeled when Yahoo announced in May that it would buy Tumblr, the weblogs platform favored by those tech-savvy young ‘uns, for a total of $1.1 billion.

Five intriguing tidbits about the deal came out in Yahoo’s quarterly financial documents, which landed last night.

Most eye-popping: Yahoo bought Tumblr for $990 million (the remainder of the billion-plus total goes to founder David Karp and other Tumblr employees), and an incredible $751 million of that value was attributed to “goodwill.”

Goodwill is an accounting term for the worth of an intangible asset blahblahblah, and in this case it means brand value. So 75% of Tumblr’s value lies in its cool factor. (More details in our main CNNMoney story here.)

FJP: Read through for the rest but know who could have used a perception of cool? The Boston Globe. Founded in 1872, it sold to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million. Or, if you take into account pensions and other debts, it sold for negative $40 million.

The Washington Post might wish it had some “goodwill” too. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, of course, just bought the 136-year-old paper for $250 million.

Takeaways: Don’t get old. Stay cool. Valuations are a weird gig.

Never Let a Correction Interfere With a Headline
Lessons learned from the Washington Post.
H/T: Jay Rosen

Never Let a Correction Interfere With a Headline

Lessons learned from the Washington Post.

H/T: Jay Rosen

Watergate: The Video Game

mediareporter:

Journalists: It’s the game you’ve always wanted to play. Forget finding Carmen Sandiego. In Watergate: The Video Game, you’re on the hunt to expose Richard Nixon’s corruption. Here, the real sleuthing happens through interviews, document acquisition and hard-hitting reporting. This is the best way to celebrate the Pulitzer Prize that the Washington Post received 40 years ago today for its coverage of the Watergate scandal.

FJP: I like the 8-bit glory of it all. — Michael

Can Robots Tell the Truth?
Hi, I am a student in journalism and am preparing an article about robots (like the Washington Post’s Truth Teller) validating facts instead of journalists. I am curious to know the Future Journalism Project’s point of view of about this. What are the consequences for journalists, journalism and for democracy? — Melanié Robert
Hi Melanié,
Many thanks for this fascinating question and my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Here’s what happened:
I started thinking about this, and then I started writing about it. And then I started thinking that what I really needed to do was some reporting. You know, journalism.
I didn’t know much about the Washington Post’s Truth Teller project. For others that don’t, it’s an attempt to create an algorithm that can fact check political speeches in real time.
Since I didn’t know much about it about I got in touch and interviewed the two project leads: Steven Ginsberg, the Post’s National Political Editor, and Cory Haik, the Post’s Executive Producer for Digital News.
They gave me background on Truth Teller and how it came about, and then where they hope it leads. 
But that doesn’t really get to the sociocultural and philosophical questions you pose. So I called upon someone else. His name is Damon Horowitz.
Damon’s spent his career in both artificial intelligence and philosophy. He’s currently Google’s In-House Philosopher (seriously, it’s on his business card) and Director of Engineering. He also teaches philosophy at Columbia University.
So, after talking to these people, and thinking about it some more, I wrote a fair bit. 
You can find your answer at theFJP.org and I hope it answers some of what you’re looking for. — Michael
Have a question? Ask Away.
Image: Marvin the Paranoid Android, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Can Robots Tell the Truth?

Hi, I am a student in journalism and am preparing an article about robots (like the Washington Post’s Truth Teller) validating facts instead of journalists. I am curious to know the Future Journalism Project’s point of view of about this. What are the consequences for journalists, journalism and for democracy? — Melanié Robert

Hi Melanié,

Many thanks for this fascinating question and my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Here’s what happened:

I started thinking about this, and then I started writing about it. And then I started thinking that what I really needed to do was some reporting. You know, journalism.

I didn’t know much about the Washington Post’s Truth Teller project. For others that don’t, it’s an attempt to create an algorithm that can fact check political speeches in real time.

Since I didn’t know much about it about I got in touch and interviewed the two project leads: Steven Ginsberg, the Post’s National Political Editor, and Cory Haik, the Post’s Executive Producer for Digital News.

They gave me background on Truth Teller and how it came about, and then where they hope it leads. 

But that doesn’t really get to the sociocultural and philosophical questions you pose. So I called upon someone else. His name is Damon Horowitz.

Damon’s spent his career in both artificial intelligence and philosophy. He’s currently Google’s In-House Philosopher (seriously, it’s on his business card) and Director of Engineering. He also teaches philosophy at Columbia University.

So, after talking to these people, and thinking about it some more, I wrote a fair bit

You can find your answer at theFJP.org and I hope it answers some of what you’re looking for. — Michael

Have a question? Ask Away.

Image: Marvin the Paranoid Android, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

In Which The Washington Post Helps You Date
So The Washington Post created Love Train to help you identify places along the DC Metro to go on a date (click-through the image above to explore). They clarify:

The Metro served as our inspiration for this guide to D.C. dating, because that’s how many dates begin and end — at the stops between daters’ offices or homes. We eliminated the stops that were mostly waystations for commuters or that had nothing romantic within walking distance to recommend. 

It’s not the only love tool they’ve come up with. There’s also Date Lab, which finds you a date and pays for your night out.
FJP: Journalism as a public service. 

In Which The Washington Post Helps You Date

So The Washington Post created Love Train to help you identify places along the DC Metro to go on a date (click-through the image above to explore). They clarify:

The Metro served as our inspiration for this guide to D.C. dating, because that’s how many dates begin and end — at the stops between daters’ offices or homes. We eliminated the stops that were mostly waystations for commuters or that had nothing romantic within walking distance to recommend. 

It’s not the only love tool they’ve come up with. There’s also Date Lab, which finds you a date and pays for your night out.

FJP: Journalism as a public service. 

The Washington Post Company’s newspaper division has lost money in 13 of the last 15 quarters. Total loss over that period: $412m. The latest quarterly figures reveal a $23m loss and a 7% drop in revenue. Indeed, revenue has now slithered down in 20 of the last 22 quarterly returns. Last year’s annual figures show it at $314m, a third less than in 2006. Print advertising has shrivelled by 53% in that period. As for digital ad revenue, and supposed salvation, that’s down too – by 8% in the new returns. Amazingly, it too has slipped back over the past five years.

Peter Preston, The Guardian. Washington Post’s sad decline raises tricky questions in US.

See also, Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review. The Washington Post Co.’s Self-Destructive Course.

News consumption is growing more mobile, but with the number of smartphone and tablet users on the rise, it might make sense for newsrooms to abandon text alerts — which can cost money for both sender and receiver — and shift to push notifications and that old standby, email.

Wrote Adrienne LaFrance over at Nieman Lab, in response to news that the Washington Post will end its text blasting news service on April 30.

The exact details of the buyout, technically a voluntary Separation Incentive Program, will come later.

Memo to Washington Post staff that the newspaper plans to lay off — err, offer a Separation Incentive Program to — 200 20* people. Via the New York Times.

*Correction: WaPo is cutting 20 positions.

“I can say from personal experience that when I have gone into threads to explain how our comments work or help users with questions/issues they might have, the tone changes simply because the user realizes someone from The Post is listening.”

- Jon DeNunzio, The Washington Post’s Interactivity editor

— The story, as reported by Nieman Journalism Lab, shows yet another major news outlet embracing and engaging its audience rather than try to keep them at arms length from the discussion.

Here’s the solution: spin it off. Slate doesn’t deserve to be slowly whittled away to the bone, or to be publishing link-bait, traffic-gaming pieces, no matter how witty the conceit. Slate is an established, valuable brand, with a lot of smart people (still) working on the editorial side. But the business side of Slate has not kept pace with the desires or the needs of the editorial team. Both sides are stifling each other — Slate’s bookkeepers demand budget cuts that lead to staff reductions, and Slate’s editors are under the gun to deliver a more valuable product with less resources. Weisberg may be Chairman of the (dwindling) Slate group, but what Slate needs is a CEO, someone who can lead a spinoff, attract venture capital, talent in the engineering, sales and business staffs with the prospects of equity and a clean, er, slate, with which to reinvent the modern online magazine.

The Washington Post may not love the idea of selling out — Slate was supposed to be a feather in their cap, and an incubator of ideas and talent, but like Microsoft before them, the Post should accept that they didn’t manage the acquisition well, and be willing to divest it. They could try to sell Slate to another company, as they did with Newsweek, but that makes little sense — Slate was conceived without the extraneous baggage and overhead of a print publication. Physically, it’s little more than office leases and web servers.

Paul Smalera, How to reboot Slate

I concur. Which probably means it won’t happen, and Slate will instead die the death of a thousand cuts.

(via stoweboyd)

FJP: Smalera writes that Slate should act like a nimble startup. Question though: after 15 years of being relatively cocooned by first Microsoft and then the Washington Post, could they?

Or is Slate DNA pretty much fixed at this point in time?

(via stoweboyd)

Jose Antonio Vargas did approach us with this idea some time ago, and I worked with him on the story for some weeks, with the intention of running it in Outlook. In the end, a decision was made here to pass on it. I’m delighted that the author found such a great home for the piece in the Sunday Magazine at The Times — certainly a fine second choice after The Washington Post Outlook section.

Message from Carlos Lozada, the editor of The Washington Post’s “Outlook” section to Chris Suellentrop, Story Editor, The New York Times Magazine, regarding the publication of Pulitzer-Winner Jose Antonio Vargas’ coming out story as an illegal immigrant in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

Chris Seullentrap, New York Times, My (Legal) Editor’s Dream.

The Washington Post launched a public beta for a social  aggregation news site.

Called Trove, it has Users log in via Facebook Connect and gathers data from your Facebook profile to initiate a news preference identity by analyzing your social graph.

In a welcome letter to (potential) Users, Washington Post Company CEO Don Graham writes:

Trove harnesses smart, flexible technology that learns from the choices you make. Some have called it “Pandora for news,” and the serendipity in its suggestions, pulled from around 10,000 sources, makes Trove a powerful tool for information discovery.

But it’s not just algorithms that drive Trove. Our editors are constantly working to inject the latest news onto the site’s home page and into channels of information that users can choose to follow. Meanwhile, our crew of engineers keeps Trove in a state of perpetual evolution.

The video? Yes, WaPo hired Next Media Animation to do it. 

FJP Caveat: Note how Obama and Palin get rid of news they don’t like. Unless you have an exceptionally diverse social graph — or are feeling particularly open minded to news that aggravates — our information silos and echo chambers grows stronger and louder.

I think there’s too much emphasis on speed and feeding the impatience people have. … In many ways, journalism is not often enough up to the task of dealing with the dangerous and fragile nature of the world, or the community, or anything you might try to understand. [The world requires] high quality, probing journalism. And there’s just not been enough of it.

Bob Woodward, the Long-time Washington Post reporter (and journalism legend), speaking at Sciences Po in Paris about what he perceives as a “journalism bubble.” Although Woodward thinks that focusing on the profitability of news organizations will lead to more robust and independent coverages, free from the swaying influence of donors and their subsidies, linking journalist’s pay to site performance is extremely detrimental. 

Why try explaining what’s really going on at the Fukushima nuclear plant, or digging through the arcana of E.U. policy (even though it shapes the life of 450m people) if, two desks away, your colleague will make more money by recycling celeb gossip?

(Source: mondaynote.com)

The Washington Post and its Trials in Education →

File this one under #longreads, but read it nonetheless.

It ostensibly explores the Washington Post Company’s foray into privatized education via its purchase and vast expansion of Kaplan (yes, that Kaplan, the one that does the test prep many of us have taken).

A little background:

Today, Kaplan is a multinational, multibillion-dollar enterprise with 70 campuses and nearly 100,000 students, many of them online, many of them reliant on government aid. This newspaper, meanwhile, has struggled to remain profitable amid dramatic changes in the news industry. Newsweek was sold. The Post Co. now calls itself an education and media company — no longer the other way around.

While a fascinating education story, here’s why it’s important from the FJP’s perspective: as newspaper’s struggle financially they’re branching out into different businesses. For the Post Company, this means education, and this means being very involved in governmental decision making by the very same government its news organization covers, needles, and if it does its job right, agitates by uncovering malfeasance and spreading sunlight in the dark corners that some hope to keep hidden.

What then of the newspaper’s mission when it comes to covering educational policy and funding issues?

Part of the answer is that the article is in the Washington Post.