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Can an algorithm really assert originality?

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
The Facebook news feed is a fickle beast. Every time we think we’ve got a handle on what sticks and what doesn’t, the weather changes and Facebook shovels another algorithm into the engine to fuel the next wave of confusion.
 
For users? No big deal. If they’re happily scrolling through the feed they see what they see and engage with whatever they choose to engage with. For news orgs? If they’re trying to maximise their visibility on the river, they’ll tweak and massage and adjust and wonder what in the world they did right or wrong.
 
Did you hear that? It’s the sound of a thousand social media managers crying out in agony. Here comes another News Feed algorithm. Good luck out there...
 
Facebook has been under fire in recent days over its poor management of conspiracy content, with advertisers pulling budgets as a boycott campaign has shown many brands the kinds of content their ads have been appearing against. So it’s no surprise that it is announcing a new ‘something’ that doesn’t directly address the complaints but does speak to the idea that it is working on improving the quality of what gets the viral bump and what does not.
 
The new adjustment aims to boost original reporting. The official word is:
 
“When multiple stories are shared by publishers and are available in a person’s News Feed, we will boost the more original one which will help it get more distribution. Defining original reporting and the standards for it are complex, so we will continue to work with publishers and academics to refine this approach over time.”
 
But here’s an extra nugget that I’m sure many Australian journalists know too well:
 
“We do this by looking at groups of articles on a particular story topic and identifying the ones most often cited as the original source.”
 
Citation as originality? Being first rarely means you’re the most cited, especially if you’ve worked at a smaller publication in a regional territory. You might get the scoop, and you might even get a link back from a bigger site that covers your lead, but then the world goes and links to that second publication and your referral traffic from your great get disappears.
 
I guess an algorithm has to start somewhere. But Google has been supposedly delivering better priority to originality for a long time too, and it doesn’t seem to do much better at actually delivering the most clicks to the true first source either.
 
It’s a big world. Facebook can’t even moderate inappropriate content properly due to volume and limited staff working on the problem. It’s a big ask to demand we get our rightful attribution for breaking news. But what we do demand is an end to the easy gaming of such systems.
 
The second big factor is transparent authorship:
 
“We are also starting to demote news content that does not have transparent information about the publisher’s editorial staff. We will review news articles for bylines or a staff page on the publisher’s website that lists the first and last names of reporters or other editorial staff. We’ve found that publishers who do not include this information often lack credibility to readers and produce content with clickbait or ad farms, all content people tell us they don’t want to see on Facebook.”
 
I know a few too many outlets that don’t do a great job of attribution to their own staff of journalists. Update those ‘About’ or ‘Our Team’ pages, folks. Get those bylines running with more clarity. Your team deserves it, and so do your readers.
 
The suggestion right now is that it won’t change the feed very much at all. And Facebook says that while original reporting may see a boost (“may” a carefully chosen operative), “but it’s important to remember that News Feed uses a variety of ranking signals to prioritise content.” Originality algorithms versus engagement algorithms. It’ll be an interesting fight.

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Which-50 bought by Boardroom.Media

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Digital content portal Which-50 has been officially acquired by multimedia outfit Boardroom.Media. 

Which-50 editor-in-chief Andrew Birmingham said the purchase agreement was signed late last week. 

The brand and website will be retained as its staff is integrated within the Boardroom organizational structure. 

“We will keep writing the stories we have always written. We will also utilise the Boardroom Media capabilities and incorporate video and other multimedia into our coverage,” explained Birmingham.

“Another change the Which-50 audience should expect is to see a wider range of perspectives in stories. Traditionally we would interview chief digital officers, or CMOs or CIOs in our stories, or founders if they are an emerging business. With the expanded focus expect also to see more perspectives from CEOs, CFOs, HR, risk managers. We always wanted to do this in the past, but lacked the scale to do so.”

The acquisition came months into a pa

Knowing who journalists write for

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

 

Following on from the question of having your contact buckets in order last week, and bouncing off Redrup’s 5 Minutes yesterday, there’s an important issue that constantly crops up in discussions with other journalists about what goes wrong in PR pitches.
 
“Why are you pitching me this? I would never write about this.”
 
The ‘me’ in that sentence is critical. We know why you’re pitching it. It’s your job.
 
But if you treat everyone in your contact bucket as exactly the same – a generic list that tells your client you contacted THIS MANY journalists – then you get a reputation as a timewaster that starts to get filtered into our own special bucket… the ‘Ignore’ list.
 
Journalists are under the pump. Overworked. Underpaid. Time poor. And when I say that I don’t want to discount that PR teams are also under a lot of pressure to move fast and hit targets. But, like those

3MP radio back on the air

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The ACE Radio Network has officially reactivated Victoria regional station 3MP.

The network stated that the new 3MP will be an Easy Music station catering to the Mornington Peninsula over 1377AM. It will also be available on Melbourne DAB+, iHeartRadio, and CRA’s RadioApp. 

SEN granted ACE Radio the licence. 

Launching out of Frankston in July 1976, the original station, 3MP Classic Hits, was changed when the Pacific Star Network rebranded it as Classic Rock Radio in 2016.

ACE Radio announcer Emily Canning kicked off the broadcast on Friday night. 

John Vertigan and Julie Strini are hosting The Easy Breakfast, followed by Canning from 9AM to 3PM. Cathy Jubb is on drive and primetime duties from 3PM to 9PM, while Dave Drinkell goes on the late-night run.

Hamilton exits MTV

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Lisa Hamilton has bowed out of MTV Australia.

She will be up for freelance opportunities.

Hamilton had been with MTV since 2013, when she came in as writer for MTV Travel Co. She later moved up to writing for MTV Style and MTV News, and later promoted to VJ and editor of MTV.com.au.

Follow Hamilton on LinkedIn.

5 minutes with Yolanda Redrup

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
When she’s not breaking news at the AFR, you might find Yolanda Redrup in the pool, on a run, or chowing down on popcorn while smashing out words on a deadline. Here’s her 5 Minutes with Influencing Tech.
 
What do you do and where does your work appear?
I’m a technology and healthcare reporter for The Australian Financial Review. You’ll see my stories appearing in the daily paper, as well as the Tuesday tech section.
 
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
I moderate panels at events and you might also hear me pop up on podcasts every so often.
 
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut because I loved space, but I quickly realised that was unrealistic because I hated amusement park rides that went upside down… or really fast. I knew I wouldn’t get through the training. By the time I was in my early teens I’d settled on becoming a journalis

Tilli hosts Triple M Albany breakfast show

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Anthony Tilli has started hosting Triple M Albany’s breakfast show, now named Anthony for Breakfast.

He takes over from Ray Love, who pitched in during the recruitment period but will handle other assignments at the station. 

The move is also Tilli’s first radio gig in four years. He previously aired over on Radiowest in Merredin before leaving to work in the real estate business. 

“Anthony brings so much experience and creativity to the team. We’re so thrilled he’s decided to return to what he does best – entertaining and relating to his audience, while making them smile as their day begins,” said Triple M Southwest group content director Jarred O’Brien.

SENTrack 1593 AM goes live

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Sports Entertainment Network (SEN) has assumed the 1593AM frequency in Melbourne for its racing station, SENTrack.

The new station is already rolling with a strong lineup.

The Odds Couple with Simon O’Donnell and David Taggart is up at 8AM Saturday with previews of the weekend races, followed by Saturday Trackside at 11:30AM with Jack Heverin joining O’Donnell and Taggart promising punters the latest mail on race day.

The Sunday lineup is headlined by 11AM show Tricks of the Trade.

For weekdays, listeners are treated to Harness Racing Victoria’s Blake Redden and Jason Bonnington from 11AM to 1PM with Talking Trots on Track. Taggart, Heverin, Campbell Brown, and Sam Hargreaves bust up the 1PM-5PM block with Trackside.

The 5PM-6PM block on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, will have Thrill of the Chase keeping greyhound fans tuned in, while Hargreaves and Molly Haines take over the 6PM-10PM slot with The Lids Fly.

The new station also resulted in current

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