reporting

Pope Francis just condemned the sinful practice of spreading fake news

  • The Pope just compared the media industry to coprophilia and coprophagia — the acts of loving and consuming feces — in an intense condemnation of fake news, scandal and smear tactics.
  • In an interview with the Belgian Catholic publication Tertio, Francis denounced fake news with ferocity.
  • Francis called disseminating lies “probably the greatest damage that the media can do,” according to Reuters, because “it directs opinion in only one direction and omits the other part of the truth.”
  • With colorful language, Francis also warned against the media’s focus on “scandals and nasty things.”
  • “I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into … the sickness of coprophilia,” said the Pope, referring to sexual arousal to human feces.
  • “And since people have a tendency toward the sickness of coprophagia” — that is, eating it — “a lot of damage can be done.” Read more
‘It Is Terrible and Scary, Aleppo Has Become a Horror City’

An Interview With Gnaid, Syrian Media Activist

By Joshka Wessels

“Aleppo is alive and will not die!”

This is what video journalist Gnaid wrote on Facebook when he announced the birth of his little daughter, his second child, on Thursday, November 24, 2016.

Gnaid works for the media activist group Aleppo Today providing daily news and also works together with Aleppo Media Center (AMC) in eastern Aleppo city in Syria. He has intermittent internet connection via satellite and is only able to communicate with Global Voices that way. He lives with his wife, his young son, his newborn daughter and two of his relatives.

Both children were born and are growing up under siege. Earlier last week, Gnaid told Global Voices in a series of communications that the Syrian regime’s forces were only a couple of kilometers from his house and that panic has taken over the civilians and the media professionals who are still in eastern Aleppo.

At the time of writing, forces that support President Bashar al-Assad are reported to control most of East Aleppo, having made quick advancements in recent days under the cover of Russian bombardment and the large support of Iranian-backed militias. Since 2012, the city has been divided between rebel-held East Aleppo and regime-held West Aleppo. The first barrel bombs to have been dropped by the regime over Aleppo were in December 2013 and since then, many forms of weapons have been used, from chemical weapons to cluster bombs, leaving the eastern part of the city in complete ruins. A brutal siege was then imposed by the regime in July 2016 as it declared its intentions to retake eastern Aleppo within months.

When Gnaid and his family assessed the possibilities of leaving eastern Aleppo, they found many obstacles. Going to neighboring Turkey is difficult, and areas of Syria that are held by the regime are dangerous for media activists who fear arrest, torture or even death. Gnaid remarked that only if he surrendered and held a portrait of Assad he might survive, but his pride and dignity would not allow it. It is too humiliating for him, he told Global Voices. So Gnaid and his family decided to stay in eastern Aleppo and continue.

“Tonight, the bombings are very heavy” Gnaid said on Wednesday, December 7. “It is terrible and scary, Aleppo has become a horror city.” He accused the international community of having “a lack of humanity”:

My wife and I don’t have passports. We cannot travel, but we could keep ourselves alive here in Aleppo, even during the siege. There has to be a solution now. It’s our right to live in dignity and freedom, just like all people in this world. But unfortunately our voice is not heard over the sound of the weapons! An enormous number of people have lost their houses and are driven away by the violence and the bombs. Maybe our neighborhood will return to the regime. But we will hold on to our land! The shame is on the United Nations and all international organizations who could rescue the wounded but simply refuse to do so!

Gnaid then sent another message:

The situation is terribly difficult. I don’t know what to say. I am looking at the people. I do not want to leave. I do not want to leave Aleppo. I am tired and utterly exhausted. But there is nothing else to do for me than to stay. This is my land. There is nothing else for me than Aleppo. I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s in God’s hands.

Finally, on Thursday, December 8, Gnaid sent what he thought would be his last message.

Half an hour ago the fighting started here. There is an enormous panic. Especially with the children. It is very very difficult now. There are rocket attacks by the Syrian Army. Soon there will be a battle now.

Fortunately, he managed to send a short audio note to Global Voices on the morning of Tuesday, December 13, saying:

We are okay thankfully. We’re still waiting to see what’s going to happen to us.

Meanwhile, his colleagues at the Aleppo Media Center uploaded a 360-degree video to show the wide-spread destruction of the area of Al Shaer neighborhood in eastern Aleppo.

For Gnaid and his family, the international community is doing nothing to stop the bloodshed. The only hope now, he says, is that he and his family can get out safely to the remaining opposition-held areas, hoping that the warplanes don’t follow the people there eventually.

Photo: Gnaid, center, with his newborn daughter and family. Used with permission.

5

Samantha Bee on fact-checking Trump’s campaign: “Calling a liar a liar isn’t an opinion if you can prove it”

When faced with a candidate like Donald Trump — who lies as instinctively as he breathes — it’s natural to be confused about how, exactly, to handle the constant stream of misinformation emanating from his campaign. But as has become increasingly clear in recent months, many reporters simply aren’t doing their jobs when it comes to fact-checking Trump, and it’s adding up.

So when Samantha Bee’s late-night show, Full Frontal, came back from hiatus, the host had some choice words for the media — especially Commander-in-Chief Forum moderator Matt Lauer — that keeps letting Trump’s lies skate by.

pewdiepie vs the wall street journal

this guys pretty great in terms of being both funny & informative, & actually stays very neutral on the donald himself in this video. 

he suggests that big motivations behind the negative press aimed at indie content creators with a huge audience like pewdiepie are fear and jealousy. jealousy of their monetary success and fear of being made obsolete, or simply having someone outside of their influence who may turn the public against their narrative.

while im inclined to say its not that deliberate & that media outlets just report anything they think will stir the pot & generate clicks, the recent willingness of media moguls to invest in unprofitable propaganda (dear white people, the recent tone deaf captain america comics) without caring whether they make their money back may suggest there is a more deliberate effort here. its not hard to imagine that some of these media bigwigs feel that money is secondary to their ability to sway public opinion, which they are losing fast & want to preserve by any means necessary…

What ‘The End of the Tour’ dramatizes—why it will be added to journalism professors’ curricula—is the seduction phase of the profile-writing process. It shows what a complicated encounter that can be, when the reporter’s effort to get inside the mind and heart of his subject is professionally motivated but also personally charged.
youtube

Prep Your Chops

There are many ways to work your vocals before going on air. 

Reciting Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics” might be the best we’ve seen.

youtube

Taron Egerton gives Young Reporters Ceyda and Ogo advice and tips on how to get into the film industry, oh and we find out who he’s sat next to for the awards..

Lester Holt:  "We’re not immune" to emotion and hurt when we cover horrible events – MORE: bit.ly/2a9VKKI

“I remember I was on set the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. We did an initial special report that there was a shooting at a school. For a long time there was a silence coming out of there. We didn’t know if there were casualties. I remember that Jonathan Dienst, a reporter from WNBC, was on the set with me. He got confirmation of the number of dead and their ages and I couldn’t talk. I had to stop for a moment. I was overcome. I make no apologies for that. There’s no editorializing when you feel emotional or hurt over the deaths of innocent children. You try to be professional when covering horrible events, but we’re not immune to this stuff." 

Reporting for SaaS startups

The last day of every month, after midnight, I run our reports and send out a summary email. It’s starts with “dear friends”, and it goes out to team members, investors and friends.

That email has the following sections:

  • Milestones achieved
  • Current projects
  • Obstacles: eliminated and pending
  • Financials: cash in hand, funding, revenue and expenses
  • Marketing: cost of acquisition, total spending
  • Revenue: lifetime value per customer, other lines of revenue
  • Product: New features, backend status
  • HR: employees, freelancers, collaborations
  • Next Priorities

It’s a great exercise in planning and execution. The goal is to keep everybody aligned on what the company is trying to do, and the steps we’re doing to get there.

Because it goes out to every single person in the team, I think it’s also a powerful tool to align efforts. And it helps me stay accountable towards them.

The monthly email

If you’re already sending out a monthly update, congrats! You’re a step ahead most people. But even if you do, I’d like to share some pitfalls I typically see:

  • Avoid vanity metrics, like total historic revenue or total users.
  • Focus on a few actionable metrics: retention, signups per month, cost of acquisition, burn rate.
  • Don’t just say what you did. Put it in context of your vision.
  • Don’t leave the bad news out. Your team deserves to know.
  • Don’t just share monthly results: Offer the full spreadsheet so people can put them in context.

As a CEO, your role is to execute on your vision of the company and reduce uncertainty for your team. Transparency breeds trust, and that will pay off over time.

Reporting

I’m not a big fan of business plans, but I’ve found a good balance between reporting and a “monthly summary” that works for us.

Open the example spreadsheet

The spreadsheet is a Google Docs with sections for Overview (month-by-month metrics), Expense reporting and Paycheck tracking:

Here’s how it works:

  • The first column is “Current”. It lists the latest snapshot of a metric, like our current MRR or burn rate.
  • Then there’s one entry per month: June, July, Aug, etc.

Then there are rows for each reportable metric:

  • USD/EUR exchange rate. Important to track with time, as it affects our cash flows.
  • Total active customers
  • Churn: what’s the % of customers who cancel every month?
  • Cost of acquisition: If we spend $1000 in marketing and we acquire 10 customers, then CAC is $100.
  • Lifetime value: If a customer spends $10/mo and stays for an average of 10 months, LTV is $100.
  • Monthly recurring revenue: Active customers * average revenue per customer.
  • Users: new, total, daily actives and monthly actives. Important for retention.
  • Revenue from subscriptions
  • Expenses for payroll, marketing, freelancers, legal and software.

As a summary of these metrics, we get two important insights:

  • Is LTV larger than CAC? If so, it means we have a profitable marketing channel.
  • With the cash in hand, how long can we survive assuming we don’t grow significantly?

In the example spreadsheet, we see that the company is losing about $12k a month, which gives it around a year and a half lifetime with the current revenue and expenses. Since it has LTV > CAC, it can continue investing aggressively in growth. If growth ever slowed down, that company could always cut back expenses to guarantee that it always has more than 6 months to live.

As a rule of thumb, I find 6 months to live to be enough to react to most adverse scenarios.

Bonus points: notice that the spreadsheet includes tabs with detail views for employee paychecks and expenses. It’s simple: for every month worked, you add a “receipt” to the employee tab. For each payment you send them, you add a “payment”. The difference between them is the amount owed.

Conclusions

Reporting doesn’t have to be painful. You can learn a lot about your business by spending one day a month keeping these up to date – and your whole team will benefit from the transparency.

Next time I’ll run a post about forecasting recurring sales, and how we’re able to predict quite precisely our revenue in future months. Conversely, this allows us to know how much we need to invest to hit a given revenue milestone.

PS: Big shoutout to @jjmata and @nachog, who have inspired me to do better reporting.

HOW TO REPORT REPOSTS:

After 10 minutes of running around like my head cut off trying to figure out where to report stolen posts, I figured it about. Like, they really should make it easier. 

Go to tumblr.com/abuse 

A white screen should pop up on the right side, and it will start asking you these questions. 

So, these are the steps that I’ve taken to report reposts.

Excuse the white gaps between pictures, I forgot to crop them out. 

1. I clicked on Misuse of your identity or work

2. I clicked the first one, Misattribution or non-attribution, which means that the person has copied my image and reposted on their blog with or without source, but also without your permission. 

Copyright Infringement would mean they would have taken off my water mark and claim the work as their own. Trademark infringement would mean they have stolen and claimed a TM’d work (like a logo to a small company or business), and said it was theirs. Confusion and Impersonation is obvious, it’s if someone is pretending to be you, or someone famous, or cat fishing. 


3. If it’s not your work that’s being reposted, and you click no, it won’t let you fill in the rest. The original poster needs to fill this out, in which case you simply notify the OP of the repost, so they can report it themselves. 

4. If your post is outside of tumblr, click the bottom one. I clicked the top one, obviously. 

5. Then you simply fill this out. Get the original link to your post, put it at the first one, (and you can add multiple if there was more than one), and then link to the repost after (again, you can add multiple if there are more than one). 

Add a little blurb about yourself, and then your email. 

Tumblr says the process may take a couple of days to go through, so be patient. You can send in the report again if you haven’t heard anything from them in like 2 weeks or more. But don’t spam them, because it clogs up their systems.