Engaged Reading Digest: engaging ethically and slaying trolls

The best of the web on engaged journalism ethics, troll fighting and mentorships.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

I can't quite believe it's Friday already. The first month of the year is traditionally quiet for me, but this year I've been caught between finishing up some courses and consultancy from last year, and pitching on some new (and necessary) new work for the year to come. Busy, busy, busy.

But not too busy to compile some useful reading for you to help you wind down towards the weekend…

Drawing your sources into a Story Circle

I missed this when it first appeared on the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's blog — but happily, my friends at journalism.co.uk have republished it. It's a remarkable case study of how they used the Story Circle idea to tell the story of people living on the edge in the UK, by drawing them into the reporting process.

A fascinating vision of how more reporting could be.

Reporting with people, not on them: how The Bureau Local took a story full circle
To get in-depth insights into homelessness, investigative journalists used the concept of ‘radical hospitality’ - listening to sources while sharing meals in a homely ambiance and re-visiting their community after publishing the stories

De-trolling Twitter

There's a whole bunch of changes on Twitter at the moment. I've been trying to track them all in one place. This one's worth noting, though. It does feel like, after a moribund half-decade or so, Twitter is starting to push its product development forward again.

It’s Easy to Be a Jerk on Twitter. And Twitter Wants to Fix That
Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s head of product, admits the platform can still incentivize toxic behavior. In a WIRED Q&A, he explains how he wants to fix it.


Twitter sorry for letting adverts target neo-Nazis
Social network apologises for allowing the use of discriminatory ad keywords it had meant to ban.

Kayvon makes another appearance, further down this post…

YouTube makes you own your comments

YouTube has notoriously failed to make any significant effort at all to improve its appalling comment sections. However, this is a step in the right direction. If you're trolling on one channel, that history will now follow you to any other channel where you chose to comment:

Go over that troll’s comment history with YouTube’s new Profile Cards
Google is launching a new Profile Cards for YouTube that lets you see more information about a particular user, as well as their history, albeit only for the current channel.

But here's a reminder that all is still very far from well on the platform:

All of YouTube, Not Just the Algorithm, is a Far-Right Propaganda Machine
In recent years, the media has sounded a constant drumbeat about YouTube: Its recommendation algorithm is radicalizing people. First articulated by Zeynep Tufekci in a short piece for The New York…

Obligatory TikTok content

In 9 months, we've gone from "what's your TikTok strategy?" being a joke amongst engaged journalism people, to a few places taking it seriously, to TikTok actively courting publishers.

We're still at the point people laugh and assume that this isn't for them. But how long will that be true?

TikTok courts publishers with a dedicated team and content ideas - Digiday
Until then, it’s making sure publishers get help from its in-house content team on learning how to grow and audience on the short-form video app.

The Bluetooth News Round

This is a fascinating and innovative way of bringing audio news to rural India.

Citizen journalism platform uses Bluetooth to bring news to media dark villages in India
In today’s media ecosystem, the technology industry sets the rules of the games, with journalism outlets constantly playing catch-up. There is a collective failure of imagination in the media industry to reimagine the future on our own terms, and then go about creating that future.

Opportunity Knocks

Some fellowship and mentoring opportunities — but act quickly. Many of them close in the coming days.

First Draft launches US 2020 Local News Fellowship
Surveys of the American public, on both a national and local level, show they trust local media at higher rates than national news sources. But, across the country, local news is in a crisis. Since 2004, 1,800 local print outlets have closed down, many of them major publications, and more than half …
The value of mentorship opportunities - and where to find (some of) them
Want to develop a new reporting style or get your break in the industry? An industry expert can be just the push you need to achieve your career goals

The only way is Ethics

This article makes a lovely chaser to the lead piece above. It's the beginning of an thought process exploring how we can rethink the value proposition of journalism around ethics for the digital age. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea) for this one, and get thinking.

The Ethics of Engaged Journalism
That’s how my daughter, Beth, ended a note congratulating me on retirement as executive editor of The Seattle Times. That was in 2008. In the years since I’ve spent much of my time exploring “What…

Gather, an organisation for engagement-centric journalists, is running a survey of engagement ethics. Worth taking the few minutes to fill it in, if you can.

Gather Ethics of Engagement Survey
In order for engaged journalism to continue to support communities, we need to grapple with the potential tensions between traditional journalistic values (think: enhancing public knowledge) and emerging ones, such as building lasting, trustful relationships with the communities we serve. Gather …

Lo! Here comes the God of Blue Ticks!

Jack Dorsey just trolled one of his staff…

Did Jack Dorsey just reveal the ‘verification god’ who can get you verified?
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey set the internet ablaze on Tuesday when he appeared to reveal the identity of the employee who can get accounts verified.

Of course, everyone knows that Matt Navarra is the real verification god… 😉

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.