Welcome to a new political era

The 2016 U.S. presidential election has just been concluded and the world saw Republican candidate Donald Trump win over rival and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but the outcome shocked many because Clinton won the popular vote and Trump’s election-related statements within and outside social media garnered controversies. The world is now asking how Trump won. Did Facebook and Twitter help him win? The U.S. president-elect thinks so.

With social media having its role in the elections, it is now evolving from a communication tool to a news and information platform. Media analysts also ponder on the idea of predicting election results through social media after posts and tweets were used in forecasting results of both the European Union membership referendum in Great Britain and the U.S. election. The U.S. elections also cast a different light on social media because instead of enabling democratic discourse, people seemed to use it in spreading more negativity. Facebook also received a lot of flak on its handling of fake news appearing in its News Feed, but its CEO Mark Zuckerberg denies the company’s influence in American politics because he sees the website as a medium for sharing information.

The elections also have ramifications in journalism: there are reports of journalists fearing for their safety after receiving hate messages and threats over social media; journalism’s delivery system seems to be flawed given examples of how disjointed the current media landscape is; and journalistic standards collapse when networks begin choosing revenue and ratings over credibility and facts.

Here are other stories of interest:

Image: “American bald eagle” by Getty Images. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license

Ditto is a seasonal collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

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Misinformation in Social Media

 

In this day and age when information can be easily shared with a click, perhaps everyone has used social media to disseminate information. But not everything about this is positive because not all information shared is true and verified. The ability to instantly publish and share content to your readers has enabled trolls and hoax news to thrive; worse, once you click “share” and your content has wrong details, every second or minute that it stays uncorrected all the more perpetuates misinformation.

 

In response, media and Web-supporting companies such as Google have implemented measures to ensure that the content released through them is verified and fact-checked, while others have begun to educate readers, teaching them to choose the right sources of information and to fact-check the stories on their own because the cycle of misinformation will only end if the media providers and platforms, as well as the audience, all work together.

 

Here are our stories for this issue:

 

  • Facebook launches Workplace, made it’s news feed work better for users with slow network connections, and now offers free online courses for journalists who would like to use the social media platform for their media work.
  • Twitter announces that it will be discontinuing Vine in the coming months.
  • Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker tells how his experience with hatred on social media inspired this season’s finale, “Hated in the Nation.”
  • University of Connecticut associate professor Dave D’Allesio discusses media bias and the US presidential elections.
  • Poynter presents a brief history of data journalism.
  • The Pulitzer Prize Board announces a few changes for the annual contest. Both print and online magazines can now submit an entry in every Pulitzer category.
  • Paul Beatty takes home this year’s Man Booker prize, the first US author to do so.
  • Websites these days use lighter and thinner fonts, but these fonts make it difficult for the elderly and the visually impaired to read the websites.
  • Artists around the world celebrate Inktober by sharing one ink drawing or doodle each day for the whole month of October.
  • The “information literacy” framework used by librarians offers media practitioners and audience members a “more meaningful way to engage with and manage information” especially in the current milieu where information is constantly repackaged and repurposed, especially via social media.
  • Research shows that the decline of traditional media platforms and the reliance on a single platform (like a social media one) for news – that is mixed with gossip –  encourages clustering of like-minded individuals and may contribute to weakening the setting up of a “common public agenda” that can lead to destabilizing behavior in politics as well as in markets.
  • An investigative reporter who probed into the identity of Elena Ferrante, author of the best-selling multivolume Neapolitan novels, discusses his motivations for revealing the real identity of Ferrante, who has been likened to authors like Thomas Pynchon for shunning the public eye.

 

Image: “Confusion” by Getty Images. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license

Ditto is a fortnightly collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

Public news consumption and journalistic objectivity and accountability in the social media era

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The values of both traditional and new media seem to have merged as the popularity of social media as news platforms has significantly grown in recent years. Public news consumption also seems to be shifting away from traditional to digital media. Journalists should keep up with the changing media landscape and not take journalistic principles like objectivity and accountability to the public for granted now that news and information can be accessed with just one click.

As journalists increasingly use social media in their work, it seems they need to be reminded of two important principles in their line of work — objectivity and accountability to the public — amid developments like dubious sources and trend lists as reported below:

  • Columbia Journalism Review revealed how phony news sites trick journalists and how the news industry seems to consider errors related to reporters’ use of questionable information as a “forgiveable sin.”
  • NYU technology researcher Danah Boyd said that recent controversies regarding Facebook’s “Trending Topics” go beyond the issue of neutrality. She asserted that Facebook must be accountable to the public because it is among “powerful” institutions that need checks and balances in the interest of the responsible functioning of society.

 

Here are other interesting posts in our reading list:

 

  • Facebook announced that it has developed a new AI called “DeepText” that can understand textual content with “near-human accuracy.”
  • Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his opinion on how he would address the problem of media killings in the country in a recent press conference. He said that the journalists who are corrupt and who accept bribes were “legitimate targets for assassination.” Meanwhile, journalists’ groups in the Philippines have slammed Duterte’s statement about the problem of media killing in the country.
  • Facebook has taken down reporter Ed Lingao’s post against former President Marcos’ burial at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani,” citing violation of “Facebook community standards.” Some Facebook users have called out the site for violating press freedom and reposted Lingao’s article on their timelines.
  • The UK’s National Environment Research Council (NERC) got itself in a tight PR situation when it crowdsourced the naming of its new ship and “Boaty McBoatface” got the most votes to be the name for the new research vessel. Here are some lessons on brand control on the Internet.
  • A recent study suggests that “Grammar Nazis,” or people who are obsessed with correcting others’ grammar mistakes, may not be nice people after all.
  • Mobile livestreaming apps like Facebook and Periscope need a waiting room to keep people entertained while they wait for their livestreams to begin.
  • Is today’s “selfie culture” bad for our brains? Philosopher-psychoanalyst Elsa Godart discusses the impact of “egoportraits” and how there is a real danger of losing the connection and consciousness of the world around us.
  • Paleoanthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger has found markings around Europe that may point out how writing began.
  • Do you want to know how productive people send their e-mails? This article provides six ways on how to do it.
  • Gmail is now the world’s largest e-mail service. Nathan McAlone shares 17 tips and tricks that will change the way you use Gmail.
Image: “Survey Delves into Journalists’ Social Media Habits” by Marketwired Blog. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license
Ditto is a fortnightly collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

Adapting and adopting innovations in social media

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Twitter just announced that its user growth is still in a slump despite the introduction of its Moments feature. This seems to show that in the age where everything for a social media site could change in an instant, one of the keys to surviving the social media rat race is to offer innovation whenever possible.

Users could easily come and go, so social media sites offer new content and retool features as a way to make them stay. Whether it be through big moves, such as Facebook lining up new features ranging from indexing all user’s posts, testing out emoji reactions, instant articles, to rolling out a notification card system, or via small changes, like Twitter changing its star-shaped “favorite” button to a heart-shaped “like” button, these are decisions that site owners need to make to tip the scales in their favor.

Whether it’s for the upcoming elections or for the Internet’s biggest phenomenon, social media use plays a key role in how trends develop. With social media, site owners have an opportunity to showcase their flexibility and tech-savviness and a platform to discuss society’s biggest issues. It also powers the cycle where users adapt and adopt technology.

Here are the other stories that made it to our reading list:

Image: “50 Days of AWE” by AWSC. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license
Ditto is a fortnightly selection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

Social media as news platforms

socialmediaJournalist Elizabeth Jane Cochran, under the pen name Nellie Bly, once said “energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.”

In celebration of Nellie Bly’s 151st birth anniversary last May 5, Google presented a Doodle tribute showing her milestones that left a legacy in the field of investigative journalism and in the world.

The field of journalism has changed drastically over the last two decades, particularly due to the Internet. The emergence of social media platforms will have an impact on the future of journalism and communication as the new source of news and as the vital tool for information dissemination. Examples of social media-influenced journalism in the last two weeks include:

 

  • In Philippine news, Mary Jane Veloso was granted a last-minute reprieve on her execution for the crime of drug trafficking in Indonesia. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the top three newspapers in the country, however, published an article with an erroneous headline implying that Mary Jane had died. Here is a blog post reflecting on how this incident shows what is happening to journalism today.
  • The Baltimore riot has been the topic of major U.S. headlines because of the violence, the looting, and the city’s state of emergency. Here is the back story and timeline on Freddie Grey’s death, the investigation on six police officers involved, and the alleged police brutality that led to the riot.
  • Al Jazeera used their social media app unit AJ+ for real-time reporting on the Baltimore riots.

 

Here are other posts in our reading list:

Image: “Social Media” by Yoel Ben-Avraham (Flickr). Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license.
Ditto is a fortnightly collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

On time management, emotional intelligence, and developing habits

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It’s the second quarter of the year. How are you doing with your goals and resolutions? Our picks for this week include a book review on how you can get yourself to develop habits that will help you with your goals, as well as readings on managing your schedule so you can leave work on time and prioritizing using psychological distance. Check out:

Other posts of interest:

Image: “time” by Sean MacEntee (Flickr). Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license.
Ditto is a fortnightly collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

What’s haunting you?

Halloween (or Hallowe’en) may be over, but for writers and editors, the haunting season lasts more than a day or two. We have demons that prevent us from typing that first word in a story we’ve been wanting to write or from suggesting that an awkward phrase be changed in an author’s work. And these may continue to disturb us even long after a work is published.

Aside from zombies and possessed dolls, one fear that perhaps we all share is the fear of failure. On one hand, it helps us become more careful. On the other hand, it keeps us from taking risks and learning. And so, we try to play safe, keep mum, procrastinate, and develop other bad habits. But actually, failure is not fatal, and some people are really just born haters. It doesn’t really matter that we fail; what matters is what we do after a failure.

Continue reading →

Technology and changes in the workplace

Less than a year since Samsung’s Note 3 and Apple’s iPhone 5 were released, we now have the Note 4 and the iPhone 6. Technology is rapidly changing; so is almost everything around us. In this post, we share some readings about changes in the work environment, their impact, and what possibly lies ahead.

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On mojo, mental virtues, and other work and career tips

Whether you work as part of a team in a corporate setting or solo as an independent contractor in a home or virtual office, our key Web picks this period turn some commonly held work notions upside down. For instance, if you think that the company that hired you is responsible for your career, you’re wrong. “Your career is YOUR responsibility. That’s right, YOUR responsibility.”  You must not turn in mediocre work and you just have to keep on proving that you are an asset to the company.

Also, if you think that your company’s work culture — its mojo — could be improved but you’re stumped because you think everything is pretty much set by management and nothing can be done, think again. There are ways for employees to make an impact on a company’s mission, passion, and vibe.  One of them is by owning up to one’s role. There are at least six other ways to make things better.

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Hinggil sa #BuwanNgWika at ilan pang usapin kaugnay ng wikang pambansa

Tapos na ang Agosto — ang Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa. Sa gitna ng masamang lagay ng panahon, ALS ice bucket challenge, at pagtatapos ng pinakahuling edisyon ng Pinoy Big Brother, saan kaya nakarating ang pagpupugay sa wikang Filipino sa mga usapan sa tradisyunal at online na media? Continue reading →