Media Oxpecker: Here Comes Everybody (again)

Every week we round up media news you may have missed.

  • BuzzFeed plans to launch a LGBT vertical and is assembling a team with the stated goal of becoming the “leading publication in the country” for LGBT Coverage, reports Andrew Beaujon:

    LGBT coverage at most mainstream publications “is sort of a niche, or it’s essentially like a second-tier thing,” [BuzzFeed editor-and-chief Ben] Smith said. “We see it as an absolute front-burner area to go after with the same kind of intensity as politics. Maybe animals, even. I think in our marriage coverage, we see these as some of the most important stories in the world.”

  • Meanwhile, Business Insider plans to spend “hundreds of thousands” in order to beef up its long-form content:

    “There’s a hunger for these kinds of stories,” said [editor-in-chief Henry] Blodget. “But we’ve just now reached the scale where we can dedicate significant resources to this.” Business Insider is spreading its wings as other digital interlopers have also been stealing some of traditional media’s thunder when it comes to producing long, thoughtful, narrative journalism. The Huffington Post won a Pulitzer for one such series, about wounded Afghanistan war veterans, last year. Multi-thousand-word features have become a regular part of Gawker Media’s mix.

    “I think that Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Gawker Media, Huffington Post, and others are just now beginning to show what successful digital journalism organizations can ultimately become,” said Blodget. “We aren’t limited to one form of storytelling.”

  • Patch will close down a “handful” of its sites on Monday, though it hasn’t announced which ones will get the ax. Local editors will have to archive for themselves any content they want to keep for posterity, since AOL isn’t planning to keep the material online after the sites close.

  • What Adrienne LaFrance found when she analyzed a year of her own reporting for gender bias.

  • “May it never be said that Politico isn’t the most opportunistic news organization in the land.” Erik Wemple on Politico’s “scoop” about a supposed Obamacare exemption for congressional members and staffers.

  • What “works” on social media? That’s a bad question, says Joy Mayer, who explains what questions you should be asking instead.

  • Seymour Hersh on the state of investigative journalism in the U.S.:

    Too much of it seems to me is looking for prizes. It’s journalism looking for the Pulitzer Prize. It’s a packaged journalism … I’ll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can’t control. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don’t get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say’.

  • Twitter founder Ev Williams says the key to success on the internet is to make it easier for people to do the things they already want:

    “We often think of the internet enables you to do new things,” Williams said. “But people just want to do the same things they’ve always done … Here’s the formula if you want to build a billion-dollar internet company. Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time…Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.”

  • A ProPublica report found that not only were students at the Medill School of Journalism paying for the privilege of interning at respected media organizations, but the school was also charging the media orgs for each intern that was placed. Says Gawker: “It’s as if Medill is deliberately trying to exclude from journalism careers anyone who isn’t already very rich.”
  • And finally, Ralph Keyes on how English is an open-source language: “Anyone is free to suggest new words or phrases. The only criterion for their success is that users adopt them.”

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