Tag Archives: the atlantic

The Atlantic: The hackers who keep the Washington Post running

The Atlantic has a feature explaining how, and why, developers create a variety of news apps at Washington Post. The article includes details of this tool that was designed to allow WashingtonPost.com visitors to read tweets written in Russian following an explosion at Moscow airport in January, plus several other examples of creating apps for planned events and for breaking news.

With dozens of stories appearing in the Washington Post every day and only so many web developers, there’s only so many ideas the team can deploy. Deciding which ideas are acted upon comes down to what [senior web developer Dan] Drinkard described as ‘level of effort versus perceived value and impact’. His job is to balance long term projects that center around a news event they know is coming – a major debate or election, for instance – with these short one-offs. ‘It’s sort of split three ways,’ he explained. ‘There’s the big stuff, initiatives that you know you’re going to spend the next six months working on. There’s the little stuff that you spend one or two months on, or even a matter of weeks, and there’s the little stuff that comes up every day so you can help unstick something.’

Some of these projects include an interactive map allowing readers to follow the movement of Middle East protests, a Google Maps tool to allow Marine Corps Marathon attendees to geo-tag their photos, and QR codes in the print edition of the paper that aim to drive readers to further coverage online.

[Deputy editor Cory] Haik said that not every interactive item the Post launches has news value – some, like the Charlie Sheen quote randomizer, are mainly for fun. When the Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a shooting of the next Transformers installment, it invited readers to submit their own Photoshop version of the image. While I’m sure a serious foreign policy enthusiast would enjoy a Twitter aggregation of a Pakistani governor’s tweets, sometimes you have to feed your Reddit readers with some sad Keanu Reeves.

The Atlantic’s full post is at this link.

Daily Finance: Atlantic Media announces it will pay all interns

Many industries exploit students and young jobseekers through the dubious practice of unpaid interning, but the media industry, where competition for a foot in the door is fierce, is likely among the worst.

However, Atlantic Media, which publishes The Atlantic and The National Journal, has announced it will begin to pay all its previously unpaid interns. Apparently the decision followed an article in last week’s New York Times, ‘The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not’.

Yesterday, we decided to pay, retroactively, both last year’s interns and our current class. We convened our current interns this morning to tell them the news. Some messages are easier to deliver than others. Telling them they would be paid was on the easier side.

Full story at this link…

FishbowlNY: Atlantic Media announces 2010 Michael Kelly Award finalists

Atlantic Media today announced the finalists for the 2010 Michael Kelly Award. The award recognises fearless journalism in the pursuit of truth.

The finalists are:

Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

For their coverage of malfunctioning cars produced and recalled by Toyota.

Sheri Fink, ProPublica

For her coverage of medical treatment in the wake of Hurricane Katrina

Jeffrey Gettleman, the New York Times

For his coverage of pirates in Somalia, the of spread of Islamic radicalism, and mass rape in eastern Congo.

David Rohde, the New York Times

For his coverage of his own kidnap and seven-month imprisonment by the Taliban, and his eventual escape.

Michael Kelly, a former editor of the Atlantic and the National Journal was killed while reporting from Iraq in 2003.

Full story at this link…

Columbia Journalism Review: ‘Is shorter really better?’

Over at the Columbia Journalism Review, Greg Marx has written a follow-up to Michael Kinsley’s attack on the length and style of newspaper style writing. Marx questions whether shorter really is better and takes another look at ‘expert’ quotes.

The fact that a lot of people still read newspapers, and only newspapers, suggests that they may like – or at least, feel accustomed to – the way newspaper stories are written.

Full post at this link…

Atlantic Wire: a new comment aggregation site

The 153 year old US publication, the Atlantic, this week introduced a new standalone site composed of aggregated material: the Atlantic Wire.

Content by columnists and commentators leading the national dialogue will be incorporated into one feed and site, an introductory post said.

“Our team – editors, reporters, researchers, data-crunchers -systematically tracks hundreds of opinion-makers from newspapers, web sites, television, radio, and magazines.”

The post lays out the four parts of the Wire site:

  • Breaking Opinions: op-eds, blog entries, and other commentary.
  • Features: Various categories including ‘Spatwatch’, ‘Strange Bedfellows’, ‘Cliché Watch’, and ‘Who Won the Day’.
  • The Ticker: Twitter style updates, in 140 characters or less.
  • The Atlantic 50: A list of the most influential columnists and commentators, as decided by the Wire.

Introductory post at this link…

Times responds to blogger’s claims of ‘cut-and-paste’ journalism

It was human error, rather than calculated plagiarism, that led to the incident that Megan McArdle flagged up on her Atlantic.com blog last week. She had spotted two strikingly similar article extracts:

‘Doctors fear return of Steve Jobs’s pancreatic cancer‘ by David Rose, TimesOnline, January 15, 2009 (note: the article has now been amended)

In 2003 Mr Jobs learned that he had a malignant tumour in his pancreas – a large gland behind the stomach that supplies the body with insulin and digestive enzymes. The most common type of pancreatic cancer – adenocarcinoma – carries a life expectancy of about a year. Mr Jobs was lucky; he had an extremely rare form called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumour that can be treated surgically, without radiation or chemotherapy. (go to McArdle’s blog for more….)

Compared with:

‘Why Does Steve Jobs Look So Thin?‘ by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Fortune magazine, June 13 2008

“In 2003 Jobs learned that he had a malignant tumor in his pancreas – a large gland behind the stomach that supplies the body with insulin and digestive enzymes. The most common type of pancreatic cancer – adenocarcinoma – carries a life expectancy of about a year. Jobs was lucky; he had an extremely rare form called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor that can be treated surgically, without radiation or chemotherapy.”(go to McArdle’s blog for more….)

McArdle said she read Rose’s piece and thought… ‘wait a minute, I’ve read this somewhere before’. But how did it come about?

It seems the root of the problem wasn’t David Rose, as an email from another journalist at the paper, Mike Harvey, to Megan McArdle revealed, in which he explained how he [Harvey] had added the additional comments ‘at the last moment before publication’.

“It was done in a real hurry and I meant to put the proper attribution in but failed to do so before I pinged the email off. It was a mistake made in haste and my thanks to you for pointing it out,” he wrote.

“As a blogger and technology writer I know the importance of sourcing and linking to sources and rightly feel aggrieved when it does not happen,” he added.

Journalism.co.uk has been informed by David Rose and Mike Harvey that this email is genuine. The article has now been changed – Journalism.co.uk has a screen-grab showing the original with the paragraph intact.

Harvey since told Journalism.co.uk that he was trying to correct an omission in the original piece before it went online. The additional information specified the specific type of cancer that Steve Jobs had (note: something which has also caused controversy on McArdle’s blog).

The Times’ managing editor, David Chappell, is now dealing with the issue; he had no further comment for Journalism.co.uk but confirmed David Rose’s information.