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“With a splash of personality, Alan Soon covers media news and trends for a primarily Asian market. The Splice Newsroom recently came out with a new design-focused newsletter, Splice Frames, penned by Rishad Patel.”
—The Idea, Atlantic Media

From this week

Platforms

Instagram launched IGTV, a long-form video app.

The idea isn’t to go after Snapchat (now that they’ve copied practically everything) — it’s YouTube they’re after. It’s directed at video creators, offering them up to 1-hour video clips (versus a mere 1-minute on Instagram). They’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to design this app for mobile audiences. It’s vertical, full-screen, and autoplaying. A vertical YouTube, perhaps. I have to say the UX is fresh and enlightening. What will it take for newsrooms to jump onboard?
TechCrunch

Governments & policy

Tools

Microsoft rebranded its MSN news apps to simply Microsoft News.

If you’ve never tried it, News boasts an aggregated base of 1,000 “premium publishers” and 800 human editors who pick and feature stories. I re-installed the app today, just to see what’s different from the old MSN app. Quick rant: I don’t know why news app publishers are still asking people to self-declare their interest in topics. Isn’t it clear by now that people don’t necessarily know what they want to read in news? We don’t think in terms of categories — tech, sports, money. If it’s interesting, we’ll read it, right? Sectioning was invented by newspapers to address very specific reader and advertiser behaviors in print. They don’t apply to digital.
The Verge

Trends

Transformations

Media startups

Singapore-based New Naratif released their financial statement, in a show of transparency rarely seen in these circles.

The team is appealing the Singapore government’s rejection of its business application (on grounds that NN is “contrary to national security”) so they’re hoping this will shed more light on their operations. I love reading financial statements of media startups — always a treat. It’s also always staggering to see how much money gets spent on PayPal fees (a problem we face as well).
New Naratif

Design

The Apple Watch now has a responsive browser.

One of the reasons this is a big deal is because Ethan Marcotte is excited about it. I’ll take his word for it — he’s the revoltingly talented web designer who started the whole ‘responsive web design’ thing. He says “the Watch’s WebKit browser looks pretty darned good, as it turns out.” It still doesn’t support web fonts or video embeds, but that will probably come soon. Wrist-first design, people: you heard it here first. (Thank you, Shuwei.)
Ethan Marcotte

Safety

Notables

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