Around the Wire: Robot Newspapers, Better Blogs Through Neuroscience, and More Media News

Every Friday, join PR Newswire media relations manager Amanda Hicken as she rounds up five articles from the past week for journalists, bloggers, and other content creators.

1. A Print Newspaper Generated by Robots: Is This the Future of Media or Just a Sideshow? (Gigaom)

Robots have been used to write news stories, but what about editing a printed newspaper (almost) entirely by algorithm? Meet #Open001. The Guardian’s latest experiment, which came to the U.S. earlier this week, selects stories based on social-sharing activity and lays it out in newspaper style ready for print.

2. Cleaning Up Online Comments (WAN-IFRA)

On April 12, the Chicago Sun-Times announced it would be suspending online comments until it could foster “a productive discussion rather than an embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting.” How to handle online comments is a problem many publishers are debating. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers proposes some best practices for comment moderation.

3. Using Neuroscience to Design a Better Blog (KISSmetrics)

“We live in an ‘instant decision’ culture,” writes Ankit Oberoi on the KISSmetrics blog. When it comes to online reading, it only takes a few seconds to judge a page before moving on if we don’t deem it interesting. Because of this, your blog’s first impression is extremely important. Recent scientific studies, eye movement analysis, and other research informs Oberoi’s advice on blog design.

4. From Scapegoat to WonkBlog: The Role for the Business Press as Watchdog and Think Tank (Forbes) 

Whenever he admits to being a business journalist, Forbes contributor Paul Glader often is asked why the media didn’t see the financial crisis coming. He argues in this article that many journalists did raise red flags; however, their stories were either ignored or too conservatively presented. Post-crisis, business news has an opportunity to evolve and become more think tank and economic information center.

5. Columbia School of Journalism’s Lede Program Aims to Go Beyond the Data Hype (PBS MediaShift)

The Columbia School of Journalism’s new certification course bridges the gap between data analysis, storytelling, and problem solving. Cathy O’Neil, director of The Lede Program, explains the course’s dual goals of developing students’ hard scripting skills, as well as their creative and critical understanding of how to use data for investigating a story.

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Amanda Hicken is a media relations manager at PR Newswire, where she works with journalists and bloggers to customize their PR Newswire for Journalists newsfeeds. Follow her at @ADHicken for tweets about the media, comic books, and her love of Cleveland.

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