Monday, January 23, 2017

The Full Monty — January 23, 2017

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Journalism is at an important juncture - its role and business model; the New York Times 2020 report addresses some of that; a major setback in trust; echo chambers, streaming issues and unbundling; teens increasingly use Facebook; Instagram is reinventing itself; Snapchat gets a makeover; the fight for live video; threats to Silicon Valley; Uber shares data; Amazon blazes ahead in AI; empathy is key to AI and CX; personalized audio; know your old philosophers; and more in this week's edition of The Full Monty. Trivia and the poem of the week are now exclusively on The Full Monty podcast.

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  • We've been addressing the fake news and post-factual world frequently. The news industry is at a crossroads and needs to step up to address these and other issues. Here are a handful of stories related to that. 
    • Journalism has been under extreme pressure in the digital era, with falling revenue and subscribership, and is under scrutiny from the new administration. But while Trump may be a threat to the news media, he may also be its biggest savior as journalism has an opportunity to create a sustainable business model.
    • A recent survey of publishers indicated that monetization is not the top issue for journalism in 2017. The biggest concern is the role of journalism.
    • Facebook is taking news more seriously, creating the Facebook Journalism Project that connects the news industry more closely with the social giant. Finally stepping up to the fact that it's a media site.
    • Some view the incoming leadership as indicative of hope, while others see it as a dystopian farce. To the latter, they may have the utopian Silicon Valley vision to thank for that, as the bubble-dwellers missed what average Americans were experiencing.
    • In its biggest report since its digital innovation report in 2014, the New York Times 2020 report focuses on the need to rethink editorial operations and produce more significant stories that will drive subscriber growth. To become a subscription-first business, the Times needs to prioritize engagement over pageviews, put more resources into new storytelling formats (including visuals), de-emphasize the print product and the workflow that caters to it, and expand training for reporters and editors.
    • Seth Godin reminds us that "newspapers won Pulitzer prizes for telling us things we didn't want to hear. We've responded by not buying newspapers any more." The challenge of course is that "the decline of thoughtful media has been discussed for a century. This is not new. What is new: A fundamental shift not just in the profit-seeking gatekeepers, but in the culture as a whole." When you're on a candy diet for so long, is it surprising that your teeth rot?
    • And on the whole issue of fake news, the bad news is flagging it won't work because of the way our brains think. When you read or hear a news story, you don’t retain every single detail. You get the gist of the story. You remember the main idea but forget the details.
    • This shouldn't be a surprise, but the real story about fake news is partisanship. "Americans’ deep bias against the political party they oppose is so strong that it acts as a kind of partisan prism for facts."
  • Given all of the above, it shouldn't be any surprise that the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust has sunk to a four-year low, as the public's trust in government, media, NGOs and businesses declined broadly. You can't have trust without truth, and the post-factual world doesn't seem to be cooperating with the need to rebuild trust.


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  • Google is buying Twitter's Fabric unit that supports 580,000 mobile app developers. Twitter’s sale of Fabric follows its recent closure of its Vine video app and a 9% reduction of its workforce. Twitter continues to refine its offerings and focus in its turnaround efforts.





  • WPP's ad spending at Snap was 3X expectations, or $90 million last year and could pose a threat to the Facebook advertising market.
  • Snapchat is set to get a major redesign, with a search bar, new navigation and a global live story that will feature snaps from all over the world. 

Collaborative/ Autonomous Economy



  • Uber has hired a Amit Singhal, a 15-year Google veteran. The hiring of Mr. Singhal, who left Google last year, is a coup for Uber, which has publicly stated its intention to fight Google’s substantial head start in autonomous-vehicle research.


Virtual Reality / Audio



Content / Customer Experience / Influencer Marketing


Privacy / Security / Legal

Measurement / Metrics / Data


Essential Watching / Listening / Reading

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

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Photo credit: Robert Ashworth (Flickr)


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