From News: News is a learning experience

They say you are never too old to learn. I think I learned a few lessons this week:

  • Never go on a two-week vacation and go back to work after giving your three editors a weekend off.
  • Never believe what you read on social media.

I came out of the absence thanks to the help of Metro Assistant Editor Jessica Prokop, Assistant News Editor Collin Keller, and others. But that was more intense than the two-week weekend cruise through the Panama Canal that I did on Sunday in San Francisco.

Cruz was actually the subject of social media speculation and lies. It was a great cruise. But there were a couple of issues. A few days after the voyage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention transferred the Queen of the Caribbean ship from the “yellow” state to the “orange” state, indicating an increase in COVID-19 incidents on the ship. Passengers in their cabins received KN-95 masks, with instructions to wear them indoors except when eating or drinking. (The masks were optional and were recommended in more crowded places, such as the theater.) And there were some plumbing problems that didn’t bother me, as the purpose of the cruise was to get an 18-year-old. will be sent to the repair plant for a two-week renovation.

But social media soon put us at the level of infection with COVID-19. A post that did not cite any source claimed that several hundred passengers were ill. .

I’m always skeptical of social media and what I read makes me even more excited.

A reflection of the war

I had hoped that when I left there would be a kind of ceasefire in the Russian-Ukrainian war, but it got worse. On Monday, as Russian forces began to withdraw Russian troops from the area around Kyiv, numerous graphic photographs of the dead were found. They are important photographs because they show the consequences of what I think are the bad decisions of a criminal mindset. But do our print readers want to see them? Do they have to see them?

We talked about this as a group of editors. We wanted to inflict damage and frustration. Finally, we decided that the image of a budget woman kneeling and mourning the death of her husband. The second image showed a dog walking through the rubble, and the third showed a street full of destroyed Russian tanks. None of the bodies were shown, but I think they delivered the message of destruction successfully.

It is likely that we will show photos of the dead bodies in future publications with the escalation of the war. If we make that decision, it will be deliberate.

New technologies

Newspapers are probably the oldest mass communication technology in use today. But we have some new things.

Next week, our web editor, Amy Libby, will lead a serious discussion at the conference on how newspapers can use artificial intelligence to do part-time work, such as transcribing interviews. Although we are not a leader in the field of artificial intelligence, we have participated in a national study organized by the Associated Press. I think there are some promises in this line, although I hope computers will never replace journalists.

We are also part of an initiative led by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, which provides us with advanced analytical tools that can help us effectively target new clients and retain existing ones. . From an editorial standpoint, it’s interesting because we can tell which stories our customers are reading and which stories are most likely to get visitors to our site. We are starting anew.

Again, we don’t want the software to do our job for us. We will use the best news summary when doing our job. But if we can use technology to improve them, it will benefit both me and you.

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