The Buzz Monster
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Business Insider Buzz Cuts Sources on iPhone 6 HairGate

The weekend’s stupid Business Insider story using a 9to5Mac community post for a news story about iPhone 6 “HairGate” boiled my blood. So mad, on Sunday, I drafted, but didn’t post, KickStarter pitch for site “Journalism? What the Fuck?”; in August I registered domain journalism.wtf.

Seeing the story, I tweeted: “Get a buzz cut. Problem solved”. Followup: ‘If I got 5 people to post on some forum that #iPhone6 smelled like a urinal some blog would write about stinkgate. Stop the insanity!” The buzz cutting here is one of sources, or lack of any that are credible. [Read more]

Bias
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Bias is Unavoidable

Overnight, AppleInsider posted Daniel Eran Dilger editorial “After Apple Inc. dodged the iPhone 6 Plus BendGate bullet, detractors wounded by ricochet“. As is typical of his stories, the tone is conspiratorial and heavily biased in Apple’s favor. That’s okay. He practices what I explained in February is “advocacy journalism“.

In my book, Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, I identify five types of journalism relevant today, and each gets a whole section: advocacy, conversational, contextual, mob, and process. Two other journalisms—data and immersive—receive cursory treatment but will be expanded whenever I next update the book. Where I deviate from traditional views about news reporting—what’s taught in J schools—is my glowing endorsement for these different reporting practices, with advocacy journalism being perhaps most controversial. [Read more]

iPhone 6 Plus Bends
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What Apple BendGate reveals About News Reporting

There are days I want to walk away and never write another news story. Apple’s newest product design scandal—”BendGate” or “BentGate”—is here, and how funny there is no consensus which of two names to call it. The so-called scandal is not a big a deal; the majority of reports mislead. Brace for it: Another of my diatribes about the evils of the Google free economy, where the quest for ad revenues drives pageviews and stories meant to generate them. The metric is terribly outdated. As I explain in my book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, audience matters more and should be the only measure for advertising.

I’m guilty of posting: “If iPhone 6 or 6 Plus bends, it’s YOUR fault“, which is a prearranged rebuttal to colleague Mihaita Bamburic’s analysis “If your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus bends, it’s Apple’s fault“; and “8 reasons why Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ‘bendgate’ is a good thing“, simply because I felt like writing something fun. The first story purposely stands against the rash of posts claiming design flaw, while the second shows just how ludicrous this all is. [Read more]

Chemistry
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Apple’s Magic Formula is Secrecy and Rumors

Apple’s longstanding perchant for secrecy is legendary. It’s also a myth. Granted, the company has a strict no-comment policy about future products, which isn’t so much about keeping information from seeping out but controlling who disseminates it. Something else: Secrets are impossible to keep when a company produces physical products overseas and depends on so many third-party suppliers. Controlled leaks, or strictly managing those that aren’t, lets Apple maximize marketing advantage.

The value cannot be understated, because Apple’s business model in 2014 isn’t much different from 2001 or 1995: Reselling to the same core group of loyal customers. The Mac faithful mattered when the company struggled to survive against the Intel-Microsoft duopoly and made the majority of profits from selling computers. Cofounder Steve Jobs wisely chose to expand into new product categories—iPod (2001), iTunes Music Store (2004), iPhone (2007), iPad (2010)—that freed Apple from monopoly bondage. But the core philosophy of selling to loyal customers, even while trying to grow their numbers, remains the same. [Read more]

Baseball
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ProPublica and NPR hit a Home Run

Every news gatherer should read “Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts“, which is example of great news reporting. The sidebar is just as good.

Increasingly, news reporting is more than culling sources and chasing leads. ProPublica practices what sometimes is referred to as “data journalism”, and it is a cornerstone of the news organization’s investigative reporting. As I learned from working as an analyst for JupiterResearch a decade ago, collected data wants to tell a story. Hidden in spreadsheets is truth that only lies when someone deliberately misinterprets the meaning. [Read more]