Media Insider: Facebook, Twitter, Google Testify Before Congress, Snapchat’s Real-Time Coverage of NYC Attack, Combating Sexual Harassment in Media

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

Capitol Hill

POLITICO | RENEE DIRESTA AND TRISTAN HARRIS
Why Facebook and Twitter Can’t Be Trusted to Police Themselves

This week, Google, Facebook, and Twitter testified before Congress regarding Russia’s use of their platforms during the 2016 US presidential election. The internet giants were welcomed with harsh criticism by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. “You bear this responsibility,” she lectured the companies’ lawyers. “You’ve created these platforms. And now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones to do something about it. Or we will.” Politico’s Renee Diresta and Tristan Harris think the criticism is well deserved. These platforms are no longer just products consumers use. “Whether we like it or not, this small collection of platforms has become our new digital public square. It’s time to introduce governance, accountability and transparency,” they say in the article.

Here are a few of the ads Russia wanted Americans to see.

WASHINGTON POST | MARGARET SULLIVAN
Canning O’Reilly and other media men won’t change a thing. Here’s what would.

Speaking out against sexual misconduct in the journalism industry is only half the battle, according to The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan. She argues that promoting qualified women to positions of power is the only solution that will affect long-term change. “Having a critical mass of female decision-makers, rather than a token presence, allows ideas to bubble up and voices to be heard in new ways,” Sullivan writes. This is not the first time the media industry has faced the problem of sexual harassment. And it won’t be the last time, Sullivan warns, if these allegations do not spur serious change within the industry.

ICYMI: The women behind The Establishment won’t let anything stand in the way of telling their stories.

DIGIDAY | LUCINDA SOUTHERN
BuzzFeed launches first video series in the UK

BuzzFeed will launch “Worth It UK” on Nov. 5 — a series that will air weekly on Facebook and YouTube, reports Digiday. Based on the US show, the British version will feature a variety of hosts who travel the UK to taste test high-priced foods against their cheaper counterparts. The show will focus on common British foods, like tea, curries, kebabs, and fish and chips. This isn’t the first time BuzzFeed created a show for a specific platform, and it won’t be the last. “[BuzzFeed is] setting itself up as a broadcaster in the U.K. now,” says John Thomson, group strategic planning director at Carat, in the article. “It’s no longer about getting product integrations on Proper Tasty, but carrying mass reach and mass advertising, opening it up to audiovisual budgets where the big brand money is. … It will be interesting to see how this stacks up against TV in the long run.”

Why aren’t UK publishers embracing video? Find out here.

NIEMAN LAB| LAURA HAZARD OWEN
Snap Maps offered real-time coverage of Tuesday’s terror attacks in Manhattan (plus a lot of emoji)

During the terror attack in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, people used Snap Maps to get information about the situation in real time, Nieman Lab reports. Snap Maps — Snapchat’s location-sharing feature — served as a reliable news source during other recent tragedies, like the shootings in Las Vegas and natural disasters in the US and Mexico. Snap Maps, unlike Facebook and Twitter, makes it easy to search for news for a particular location, and offers intimate coverage of breaking news from users themselves.

Has social media changed the way you work? You’re not alone — here’s what journalists have to say about the move to digital.

JOURNALISM.CO.UK | MĂDĂLINA CIOBANU
Dutch start-up The Playwall is giving readers the option to pay for online content by answering questions

The Playwall has developed a unique solution to a common problem facing publishers today, Mădălina Ciobanu reports. Aware that most people don’t want to pay for news these days, the Dutch start-up is giving people a choice. Readers can either pay for content, or they can answer five questions about a topic of their choosing. Both outcomes benefit publishers and their audiences, notes The Playwall’s founder Annefleur Schipper, in the article. “We wanted to solve the problem of how people, especially young people here in The Netherlands, don’t want to pay for journalism,” she says. “We also know that media companies want to know and collect data about their audience but the way they are doing it now is very secretive and users don’t really know what is being taken away.” The goal of this “thought experiment” is to eventually get readers to pay for news, Ciobanu notes. The Playwall’s software will allow news organizations to access data that can ultimately help publishers tailor their content to specific audience interests.

FYI: This is how American newspapers got people to pay for news in the past.

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Jessica (Davids) Barry is Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire. Newly married, she loves cooking with her husband and spends the rest of her free time drawing.

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