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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


If the trends are right, we are seeing further fragmentation in the way people discover and discuss news.

A new Reuters Institute report covering 37 countries shows that people are relying less on Facebook for news and are instead discovering news in closed WhatsApp groups. The percentage of people using Facebook to get news is down from 42% in 2016 to 36% today. This ongoing shift to closed groups represents the worst nightmare for fact checkers: a world where fake news can't be monitored, verified, or challenged.
The Guardian

Governments & policy



This one made my blood boil.

João Palmeiro, the head of the Portuguese press association, was on stage at an international media conference. He was surrounded by women colleagues — he called them his “angels” (and himself, “Charlie”) and proceeded to kiss one of them… on stage. He later justified his repugnant behavior as “cultural”. That wasn’t all that happened at the conference. The MC made this equally shocking comment: “The media are a lot like breasts, the fake ones are often the more appealing.” Yusuf Omar recorded it all. Watch this video.
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I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this: I never paid much attention to Anthony Bourdain.

To me, he was just another celebrity chef. But I spent the weekend loading up on his videos, his writing, obituaries, and I’ve clearly missed the point. It wasn’t about food. It was about informing people, stirring conversations, and even entertaining audiences — all important components of journalism. "He accepted that he didn’t already know everything, he assumed that he might screw up, he went into every encounter believing that people had something to teach him." How many journalists carry these same values in the field?
New York Times


How do you redesign your article pages for loyalty?

If you’re The Atlantic, you 1. keep your customer front and center of everything you do, 2. call a meeting with the editorial, product, and design folks, but send a special invitation to ad ops and marketing, 3. employ user data to serve your readers dynamically with context-specific subscription offerings, 4. dump large ad units to work better for readability and load times, and 5. reduce the amount of CSS a browser needs to process, which will hack those load times by as much as 87%. Now buy everybody pizza and test, test, test.

This analysis of how diverse—or segregated—America is is a brilliant example of how effective data visualization can be.

It tracks census data over decades and across six race categories. This is a well-told story of how racial lines draw and redraw themselves over time. “To calculate diversity, we used what’s called the entropy index, which measures the spatial distribution of race in a given area.” Or you could just marvel at the maps. (Thanks, Patricia Torres-Burd!)
Washington Post

The first newsrooms rolled out on Civil’s blockchain-based ecosystem.

Documented covers New York City’s immigrants; Sludge is investigative journalism that examines the role of money in politics. I’m also pretty excited about Global Ground, which will look at “local issues in Asia through a global lens”. I’m assuming that the newsroom websites follow a Civil Wordpress template, or theme, but I could be wrong. Material Design is largely the guiding principle here, with a round bottom right button making calls to action. I looked at the structure and design of Documented, and the hierarchy is solid, with a lead story and a rack of four top stories taking up the top of the homepage. A simple card-based grid promotes the rest of the stories. I would optimize the images better—they’re massive and load too slowly. The typography is a chunky Roboto for headlines and the delicate (but readable at 21px) Spectral for body text. It’s a great reading experience, and I’m looking forward to more.