The hoax spreads faster and wider than the correction

The events in Istanbul are truly horrific. There appears to be a lot of excessive police violence against innocent protesters, documented in many images.

Sadly, one of the images that is supposed to show thousands of protesters on a bridge in reality shows last year’s Istanbul marathon:

I say sadly, because fake images like these undermine the credibility of all other images related to the protest and so ultimately threaten to hurt its cause.

Lots of people, including journalists and so-called social media experts, have been posting the image on Facebook or retweeting it on Twitter. Some still do up to this minute, even though other users are busy pointing out that it’s a fake. This confirms my suspicion that the hoax always spreads faster and wider than the correction.

One way to verify an image: Copy the image URL, go to Google Images, click on the little camera symbol inside the search box, paste the image URL, and see what comes up. I just did that with one of the marathon images in my Facebook timeline and the first item in the search results is “Istanbul-Marathon”.

search result


Your CMS vs. tumblr

This article by Scott Lewis, CEO of Voice of San Diego, is extremely thought-provoking. He’s arguing that news organisations should look at social platforms to finally learn how to build a good news website. Here’s a quote from the article:

We’ve fallen many years behind social media platforms in serving users. Some news publishers have ceded the ground completely. They let Facebook run their social layer or rely on YouTube for their video sharing.

I’ve been watching this develop for years. Two years ago, I was positively despondent. I went so far as to dream that Facebook itself would create a content management system for news publishers. I’d be the first to sign up.

How far are we from actual Facebook or Tumblr-based news organization? Are you a news publisher? Ask yourself what your CMS does that Tumblr doesn’t. […]

[…] we have to stop working solely to display our content well and start working to serve our users well. Those are not mutually exclusive, but they are different.


Paywalls on German news websites

Marcus Schwarze (Rhein-Zeitung) has put together a useful overview of paywalls on the top 50 German news websites. As it stands today, …

… 33% have a freemium model
… 4% have a metered model
… 5% have a voluntary payment model
… 13% unclear models (questionmarks in the table)
… 45% don’t have any paywall.



The Guardian has published Firestorm, its first proper snowfall-like project.

In contrast to the NYT’s Snowfall, I actually read, watched and listened to all of Firestorm because I found the story really interesting. It took me quite some time to finish the whole thing. Which brought me to the question: How do elaborate multimedia stories like these fit into the environment of a fast-moving news website like The Guardian?

I don’t have an answer to this, yet. It might not be a problem at all since readers can just bookmark the link and come back to the story later. One idea would be to offer a feature like “Save this story on your tablet for later offline-reading”.

Also interesting: the link in the bottom right corner saying “Buy the E-Book”. This might be one way to monetize projects like these, although I doubt it pays for the price of production.


Screenshots of nytimes.com redesign

Article top:

nyt article top


nyt menu

Article middle:

nyt article middle

Article bottom:

nyt article bottom


nyt gallery


nyt comments


Journalism in Mozambique



At re:publica 13, Linus Neumann und Michael Kreil presented the results of an empirical troll study. They also pitched the idea of a “troll choke” (in German: “Trolldrossel”). Very interesting talk!


The best moment to be in journalism

Ann Friedman argues against the depressing mood she encountered at recent journalism conferences. Her three reasons to be excited about the future:

1. You have access to a world of sources.
2. Consumers have access to a world of media.
3. And you have direct access to news consumers.
4. Chaos is good for creativity.

Regarding direct access to news consumers, Friedman writes:

Gone are the days when you had to rely on only the most engaged readers and viewers to provide you with feedback. Now you can easily send your work directly to people who are likely to care about it. You’ll hear from them on social media, in comments, in your inbox. I know a lot of journalists hate this, but it’s a good thing. Again, don’t you want your work to have reach and impact—and don’t you want more ways of gauging and measuring what that impact is?


Good question


Cat Power: Introducing Buzzfeed’s Community

Buzzfeed has launched Community Vertical, “a place on the site for collaborative posts, original contributions from users, and other awesome stuff that we don’t know about yet because it’s going to be invented by BuzzFeed’s Community, who have essentially been running the show behind the scenes for years anyway.”

Here’s how it works and how users can gain “cat power”.