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How machine learning can help media companies thrive in the 21st century – Straight.com

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Many veteran journalists around the world have received a rude awakening in recent years, courtesy of Internet metrics.

Thanks to Google Analytics, Chartbeat, and other measuring tools, they’ve learned which articles and subjects resonate with online readers and which pieces fall flat.

As much as I might be interested in a particular topic, the numbers will quickly tell me if the public doesn’t care.

On the positive side, Internet metrics reveal areas where there is tremendous public interest but which are largely unexplored by the media.

Quoting international-affairs expert Gwynne Dyer, I once wrote an article about how terrorism is overblown in the media. Much to my surprise, that article went viral.

The same thing happened after I interviewed Delhi-based writer Arundhati Roy about the 2014 Indian election.

More recently, an article quoting Stanford University epidemiologist John Ioannidis on the COVID-19 pandemic hit a nerve.

Many people are under the impression that media outlets go after clickbait like the Kardashians or the Royal Family to attract eyeballs to their websites.

While there’s some truth to that, there’s also another reality. Serious articles offering alternative views can yield a tremendous amount of Internet traffic.

Last month, I was astonished to learn that my articles on Straight.com generated more than 1.1-million page views, according to Chartbeat. Not a single one dealt with Meaghan or Harry.

This number was far higher the norm, so I publicly thanked Anton Tikhomirov, the brilliant senior vice president of technology and architecture of Media Central Corporation.

At the end of February, Media Central closed a deal with the McLeod family to buy the Georgia Straight. The Ontario-based company also owns NOW Magazine in Toronto and the CannCentral.com online publication about cannabis and psychedelics.

This morning, thanks to a Media Central news release, I learned more about the role that Anton is playing in making the Georgia Straight and NOW more resilient in the Internet age.

Using artificial intelligence, Anton and his team have expanded the digital advertising inventory across all of the company’s properties “to monetize its growing audience of 6.5 million influential consumers through technology”.

Here at the Straight, ad impressions have risen 25 percent over the past two months.

Ad impressions are up a stunning 405 percent in that same period at NOW. Keep in mind that all of this has occurred during a pandemic.

As a result, Media Central’s overall programmatic ad revenue jumped by 389 percent in April.

“Our digital advertising revenues are projected to dramatically surpass our legacy ad model as we move forward with our tech-heavy strategy,” Anton says in the news release. “We are leveraging the latest technology to optimize bottom line growth, while ensuring our readers have the best possible experience.

“Programmatic ads are successful because they use machine learning to ensure consumer demand ad placements, driven by data, in real time.”

Yes folks, computers are purchasing advertising from other computers.

When I started working at the Georgia Straight in the 1990s, nobody ever used terms like “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence”.

Only in recent years has it dawned on me that machine learning could be a salvation for media companies in a world increasingly dominated by Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Alibaba.

We’re still not at a point where the robots can do my job—and for that, I’m grateful. But technology has gotten very good at letting me know when I’m striking out or whacking the ball over the fence. It’s also a revenue generator.

Long gone are those days when media outlets simply operated on hunches to survive.

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U of G 'taking steps' to address student's racist social media posts – GuelphToday

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Racist videos from a University of Guelph student posted on the popular social media site TikTok on the weekend has sparked outrage among students and concern by the school.

In the 24 hours since the student posted the two videos, numerous students alerted the U of G’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with the university issuing a statement that declared its intolerance towards any expression of hatred and its solidarity with black students.

In one of the TikTok videos, a caption reads ‘Me teaching the black kid how to read in the 2nd grade,’ and the student is seen performing a skit where he says ‘you saved me. Why?’ to which he himself responds ‘monkey.’

In the second video, the student is seen searching the word ‘slave’ on google and then hovering over the ‘shopping’ option on the website.

The student’s TikTok account has since been deleted and the videos garnered over 3,000 views when they were was last seen Monday afternoon.

In an interview with GuelphToday, U of G student Nanci Dos Santos — who shared the video on Facebook — said no one can look at the student’s content and say that it is not hurtful. 

“It expresses hate and racism. I would be a part of the problem if I let this go,” said Dos Santos.

She said if the university listens to the students’ pleas to let the student go, it will be a step in the right direction towards equality and justice on campus. 

“The University of Guelph has been made aware of a racist social media post by a student. We are a university community committed to mutual respect and anti-racism. We will not tolerate any expressions of hatred. We are taking steps to address this troubling situation that we know is hurtful to many members of our community,” read a statement issued by the university on Sunday.

“We stand in solidarity with black students, faculty and staff at the U of G against racism and violence during this troubling time and always. We offer support to anyone feeling vulnerable or at risk. We are here as allies to the black community and will do our part to ensure respect, safety and dignity on our campuses.”

U of G administration declined further comment when contacted.

The University of Guelph Student Life and Student Experience Group also issued a statement saying it recognizes that the videos have impacted Black students on campus and a cultural diversity advisor is available for support.

Several attempts to reach the student who posted the offensive material were unsuccessful.

Students expressed anger at the posts on the popular student Facebook group, Overheard at Guelph: 

Sierra Mcewen

RACISM IS NOT A TREND. PERIOD.

Nanci Dos Santos

aint nobody posting this for likes. I’m posting this so people will pressure the school to act. acknowledge your privilege to ignore these issues and go.

Nyokani Natana
Brennan Georges this video isn’t just plainly offensive or a “mistake” he made on tik tok. what this video really means to people like me is that the next time i have to go to class, i do have to worry if the person sitting next to me may just think that i’m nothing more than a monkey or i deserve to be sold into slavery. and that pain runs deeper than you could ever even care to imagine. so yes, exposing him is necessary so that we can recognize who really feels what and just maybe he can start realizing the effects of his action

Eveline Van Sligtenhorst Adomait

As a Guelph prof, as a mother of 2 half black (very smart) sons, as a Canadian, as a concerned citizen for racial equality—I am appalled at this young man’s post. I have forwarded this post to the interim president’s office. Contact Dr Charlotte Yates if you want to add your voice. BLM

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Matt George Wants To Amplify 'Maritime Minds' With New Media Company – Huddle Today

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SAINT JOHN — A New Brunswick entrepreneur wants to amplify Atlantic Canadian voices with a new media and podcast network.

Matt George is the founder of the Unsettled Media, a company aiming to produce shows that elevate brilliant minds and ideas out of Atlantic Canada.

The idea to start the network came from George’s experience producing his own podcast called Unsettled with Matt George, where he explores the intersections of culture, business & technology through interviews with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and more.

“It’s a really incredible way to meet people you want to make a connection with and dig deeper into their story,” he says. “If you’re going to ask them if they want to sit down with you for a coffee for an hour, it’s maybe a 50/50 chance they’ll say yes. But for a podcast, it kind of takes it to a new level because they get to amplify their message and it’s a great way to dig into their story.”

Podcasting could also be a great way to make money, he says. The industry has seen some very hefty transactions over the last year, including most recently the Joe Rogan Experience podcast being acquired by Spotify for what’s been reported to be over $100-million. The music streaming service also purchased The Ringer podcast network earlier this year. That’s not even mentioning the advertising revenue podcasts can make and other untapped markets for the medium.

“I thought, ‘okay, there’s something here.’ I’ve seen the growth in the industry, specifically with advertiser revenue, the industry growth has been absolutely incredible as people shift from standard traditional media over to do new mediums like podcasting,” says George.

“Podcasting itself isn’t all that new but there’s a lot of communities that haven’t yet dug into the medium and there’s a lot of blue sky available within that industry.”

George had previously worked in economic development and immigration, working on a lot of the province’s immigration programs, including the Syrian response in 2015. But he recently decided to pursue the growth of Unsettled Media full-time.

“On the one hand, a pandemic for some is a terrible time to be an entrepreneur … But on the other side, it’s an incredible time to be an internet-based entrepreneur and build an online business, especially as people go to build out their platforms. Businesses want to get their message out in a different way. We’ve seen every organization put out a webinar series of some kind to try to reach their audience,” says George.

“I thought okay, what we really should be doing is setting up a network here where we become a production company that tries to amplify Atlantic Canadian podcasters and Atlantic Canadian companies that are trying to reach their audience through audio.”

The Unsettled Media Podcast Network currently has three shows: Unsettled with Matt George; Growing Pains with David Campbell and Newcomers in Businesses with Karla Briones. All these shows fit into the company’s mission of highlighting Atlantic Canadians and fostering conversations around economic growth. George says the goal is to have five more added at the end of the year.

When it comes to revenue, Unsettled Media has two sources of revenue. The first is through developing and fostering shows with talents. When the company finds a host/show they want to have on the network, they’ll cover the upfront costs of producing and branding the show. Any revenue from things like advertising and events will be shared between the company and the host.

“What we want to be able to do is attract an incredible Atlantic Canadian voice or Maritime mind that otherwise wouldn’t explore the medium either because it’s too complicated to get into, or they’re just so focused on their traditional media streams. What we want to do is say, ‘all you have to do is show up and be great.’ That’s it,” says George.

“We’ll handle the audio production. We’ll host the audio. We’ll complete an entire branding and image for the podcast … We’ll do all the work. You just show up and be you and hopefully, we can share in the upside and we look to gather advertiser revenues or as we look to do paid webinar content.

The revenue stream is producing podcasts for businesses and organizations. Unsettled Media can be hired to help an organization of business produce a podcast or podcast series that explores a topic or issue. For example, Unsettled is helping produce the Turning Point Series being put on by theNew Brunswick Business Council and nine other economic development, business and community organizations.

RELATED: Online Conference And Podcast Series Aims To ‘Re-imagine’ N.B.

“If you’re a business or an organization that wants to get your message out there or explore a branded podcast, we can absolutely look at doing an agreed-upon run of episodes that dig into the topics that your business is dealing with and give your clients a completely different way to interface with what you’re doing,” says George.

Unsettled Media also has its newsletter, which features content curated and/or written by George and will soon incorporate content from show hosts and more. There is a free version of the newsletter as well as a subscription model for those who wish to receive additional content.

“We want out listeners and readers to engage with us in literally any medium they want,” says Geroge. “So supplementary to the podcast, we have the Unsettled Newsletter which we publish on Substack. We monetize through patron contributions.”

One of the appealing things about podcasting is that it’s accessible and relatively easy and inexpensive to do. It takes a lot of work for shows to get beyond “hobby status” and reach a point of growth where it can generate considerable revenue. But George plans to do that with Unsettled Media, making it a go-to place for quality and thoughtful podcasts out of Atlantic Canada.

“It’s something that I’m so focused on, is amplifying Atlantic Canadian content by Atlantic Canadians,” says George.

“The mission is to amplify the best Maritime minds on offer and to send that message out to the world because I think we have a lot to offer.”

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Citizens use police tracking apps and social media to expose US attacks on peaceful protesters

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Impeached US President Donald Trump, in response to civil unrest surrounding the killing of George Floyd, over the weekend ordered US military and police forces to attack citizen protesters.

During the protests, violent criminals taking advantage of the chaos clashed with vigilantes encouraged by the president’s reckless tweets causing numerous casualties, including several deaths. But the ongoing protests have drawn tens of millions of people from across the country, the vast majority of which remain peaceful.

The police and military, however, are attacking peaceful protesters around the country without provocation.

Police and military personnel in dozens of cities across the country were caught assaulting peaceful protesters in videos that were streamed live on social media and shared by millions. Many of the attacks are confusing and appear motivated by nothing more than the desire to hurt citizens, no matter how peaceful they were:

They shot a blind man. What threat could this blind brown man have possibly posed to the officers that shot him?

They attacked elderly bystanders:

They attacked politicians:

They broke ranks to attack black people:

They ran over protesters:

They let white people pass, then busted the windows out of a car full of black people so they could shoot them with tasers multiple times and then drag them out of their vehicles and assault them for breaking-curfew-while-black:

They fired on people standing on their porches:

And they fired on people inside their own homes:

Among those targeted across the country were numerous reporters. In several instances, police opened fire on reporters after they confirmed their identities as members of the press. This, too, comes at the orders of the impeached president who has declared the press the “enemy of the people.”

Cops in a handful of cities used the protests as an opportunity to feign solidarity with those protesting them.

A small group of police officers have chosen to join the protesters in uniform. However, it’s telling that tens of millions of cameras aimed at the police have captured hundreds of instances of police violence but, to the best of this reporter’s knowledge, no instances showing police who aren’t attacking peaceful protesters stopping the ones who are.. The ones marching with us instead of protecting us from violence are getting paid the same taxpayer dollars as the colleagues they’re failing to police.

How did this all happen? Social media and police scanner apps, that’s how. We’ve seen protests and riots in the US before. But in the past, the narrative always hinged on showing legions of violent looters burning buildings at night juxtaposed against calm, stoic peace officers protecting protesters from harm during the day.

But, so far, the government can’t force people to sign off Twitter or stop downloading apps. Curfews and overloaded phone lines can’t keep activists from organizing and, perhaps most important of all, the people finally have a dead-simple option to monitor the police in real time.

Tracking police communications used to require a hardware scanner and a little bit of know how. But these days you can get one by simply searching for “police scanner” in the Apple or Google app store. All you have to do is install the app and pick the dispatch you want to listen in on. Most of these apps will alert you when there’s police action in a city and you can always tell how many people are listening to a specific stream.

At least six times while listening to police comms via scanner on 30 May, I overheard officers in Minneapolis signal their intent to fire chemical weapons at peaceful crowds and subsequently saw tweets go out warning protesters to prepare their cameras and ready themselves for impending assault.

I tip my hat to the tireless efforts of those risking their lives and freedom to expose the tyranny of the US government in this unprecedented time. Stay safe out there, stay non-violent, and keep filming.

Source: – The Next Web

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Edited By harry Miller

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