Global round-up: Facebook launches hosted content

Global round-up: Facebook launches hosted contentFacebook's Instant Articles feature.

News publishers will have the opportunity to have their content hosted natively within Facebook after the social network launched its Instant Articles feature yesterday.

Facebook has made deals with The New York Times, BuzzFeed, NBC News, National Geographic and The Atlantic, as well as BBC News, Speigel, Bild and The Guardian.

The media outlets can claim 100 per cent of the revenue from advertising that they sell on their article page, or 70 per cent of the revenue if Facebook sells it.

The New York Times said it would post its first Facebook-hosted article today.

The platform is attractive as it allows the stories to load instantly inside Facebook’s mobile apps. Publishers can use their own CMS or software to build the story, and the social network converts it automatically into a format that works on the app.

Analytics also will be available, and web traffic measurement company ComScore will collect and give full weighting to audience data. Also, publishers can control the look of the content so it can be differentiated from competitors’ offerings.

As tech site Re/code’s Peter Kafka writes, there is concern about “the risk that Facebook will decide one day that it doesn’t like its terms, for whatever reason, and changes them in a way that undercuts whatever business publishers have built around Instant Articles and Facebook in general.”

“This seems quite likely, since Facebook does it all the time,” he said in the article. “Why give it even more power?”

McClatchy redesigns 29 of its newspapers

US publishing group McClatchy is in the process of revamping 29 of its mastheads across the country.

The Sacramento Bee, The Modesto Bee, the Merced Sun-Star and the Fresno Bee were re-launched yesterday with a brighter, more modern print design and updated websites.

McClatchy worked with media consulting firm Garcia Media on the changes.

“We set out to redefine storytelling,” Garcia Media said on its website. “For print, the major challenge was to find ways to flow content differently, to incorporate new elements and phase out that which was no longer viable for a multi-platform media environment.”

New apps and a focus on interactive like maps, photo essays and databases have also been flagged.

Three families of typefaces were designed specifically for McClatchy. “These three families are triplexed, sharing the same character widths, so they can be swapped for another one without changing the length of a headline,” Garcia Media said.

Re-launches of the group’s other newspapers, which include The Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star, the Raleigh News & Observer and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, will follow soon.

The Boston Globe sues law enforcement agencies

A lawsuit against a range of law enforcement agencies has been filed by The Boston Globe, as part of an investigation into “more than a half-dozen law enforcement officers who were charged with drunken driving”, as well as a judge accused of stealing a watch.

The Globe is after police records, booking photos and prison logs, according to the Poynter media news website.

Agencies told the newspaper that they were not required to release the records under a law called the Criminal Offender Record Information Act, which police argue gives them discretion over what to withhold and what to release.

The Globe has previously campaigned against the ability for police to withhold records of drink driving within the force.

Police brutality app created by students

Students from Louisiana State University have developed an app that allows “everyday people” to send photos or video of questionable police behaviour straight to journalists.

Elbis Bolton, a software engineering student at the university, thought of the idea during the Ferguson riots last year.

Mr Bolton and journalism student Wilborn Nobles created POWER – the Police Officer Watchdog Event Reporter – which runs on Android phones. An iPhone version is planned soon.

The app also has the potential to clear an officer wrongly accused of brutality, or to capture their bravery, according to Lousiana-based The Advocate.

“The POWER app allows users to submit their photos and videos with a summary of what happened, where and when the incident occurred, and which law enforcement agency was involved,” The Advocate reported on its website.

The students are still deciding how they can best work with news agencies and outlets, which may include charging a one-off subscription fee to receive submissions made through the POWER app.

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