Media Insider: Snapchat Spotlights News, A Hollywood Screenwriter Shares Writing Tips, and More Media News

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round up of journalism, blogging and freelancing stories from the week.

vr headset

Photo by Nan Palmero used under CC BY 2.0

Snapchat Redesign Puts Spotlight on ‘Discover’ News Portal (Wall Street Journal – Digits)

Wall Street Journal reports that Snapchat this week changed the layout of its app to “bring more visibility to its ‘Discover’ section for news articles and ads.” The company began promoting content from ESPN, CNN, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo and other media partners from the Stories tab. Previously, Discover content was confined to its own tab. According to WSJ, the design change comes as Snapchat is “trying to get more of its 100 million daily users viewing the full-screen ads that appear in between the articles and videos in Discover.”

The Writer Behind ‘Seven’ and ‘Fight Club’ Reveals Five Secrets to Excellent Writing (Business Insider)

Writer Andrew Kevin Walker shares some pretty solid advice on quality writing. Among Walker’s words of wisdom: Structure lets readers know they’re in good hands and finishing a draft is just the start, and the best writers know how to balance the negativity of perfectionism with the optimism that keeps them going. Finally, if you’re trying to collaborate in writing, you have to suspend your ego. Successful writing collaboration requires “focus on what would objectively make the piece better.”

Nine Tips for Journalists Covering Traumatic Events (Beyond Bylines)

Sometimes covering the story can be fairly stressful. This week, PR Newswire Audience Relations Manager Anna Jasinski reveals real-world advice from three journalists with first-hand experience covering trauma. These brave folks discussed the difficult role of storytelling when covering recent events in Baltimore and Charleston, SC, war-time activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and natural disasters. For those heading into conflict to cover breaking news, prep work, finding a support system, and being flexible are crucial.

Why Newsrooms Should Care About Virtual Reality (

It appears the adoption rate of new technology is growing at “breakneck speed,” says Robert Hernandez, an associate professor at LA’s USC Annenberg School. Case in point: Hernandez says it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users; Facebook reached 100 million users in just nine months. Virtual reality interests many journalists, but many are wary of using it for news.’s Abigail Edge reports the “immersive effect of virtual reality means it’s a really effective way of putting the viewer in somebody else’s shoes – however uncomfortable they might be.” To avoid creating distressful experiences for viewers, Hernandez highlighted the importance of journalism ethics and knowing where to “draw the line” between important issues and sensationalism.

Journalists Want Transparency, But Not Right Away (The Huffington Post)

So much for that scoop. The federal government is testing a new pilot program to make public all responses to Freedom of Information Act requests. The pilot program will follow a “release to one, release to all” policy at seven federal agencies over the next six months, HuffPo reports. Essentially, it means “material released under a FOIA request that one media outlet may have pushed for months will be made public at the same time the outlet receives it. Some journalists suggested a small head start for the original FOIA requester would be fair.” We’ll see how this plays out.

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Christine Cube is an audience relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. Follow @cpcube or check out her latest on Beyond Bylines on PR Newswire for Journalists.

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