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TODD SMITH — New York Times launches new reader center

TODD SMITH

The New York Times has announced a reader center to capitalize on readers’ knowledge and experience, using their voices to make its journalism even better. Readers are among the newspaper’s strengths, helping it distinguish itself in a flooded marketplace.

Here’s more about the new reader center from Cliff Levy, a deputy managing editor at The Times:

“Our readers (and listeners and viewers) can offer a wealth of story suggestions, insights, analysis and more. On our digital platforms and on social media, their voices amplify what we stand for: the power of information, ideas and debate to shape the world and inspire change.

Our readers also hold us accountable, helping to ensure that we meet the standards of quality, fairness and accuracy that they expect from The New York Times.

Now, we are planning to build even stronger bonds with our readers by establishing a Reader Center at The Times. We want to capitalize on our readers’ knowledge and experience, using their voices to make our journalism even better.

To lead this important initiative, we are turning to one of our smartest and most digitally savvy journalists: Hanna Ingber.

Hanna, currently an editor on the international desk, will head a team that will partner with reporters, columnists and editors in the newsroom and in opinion on a range of projects, including:

» Improving how we respond directly to tips, feedback, questions, concerns, complaints and other queries from the public — whether they arrive through email, social media, posts on our own platforms or other channels.

» Helping to make sure that we are as transparent as possible in how we explain our coverage.

» Experimenting with new formats to reach out to and engage audiences.

» Broadening our efforts to allow readers to make their voices heard on our digital platforms about issues of the day.

» Assisting our journalists in building communities of readers who are interested in the subjects that they cover.

» Overseeing our Facebook Live initiative, building on the groundbreaking work that Louise Story and her team have done in the past year.

» Collaborating with our marketing department to showcase the value of Times journalism.

The reader center, part of The Times’ news desk, will work across the newsroom and with opinion, and it will have close ties to colleagues in marketing, product and other parts of the company.”

Ingber will partner with editors already involved in these areas. They include Greg Brock, senior editor for standards, as well as the social, community and interactive news teams.

Since joining The Times’ social team in 2012, Ingber has demonstrated an impressive versatility. She helped to develop breaking news strategy, coordinated the international desk’s work on alternative story forms and led efforts to elevate the voices of international readers.

“She helped pilot a number of our most innovative projects, including Nick Casey’s reporter’s notebook during his first 30 days in Venezuela and a remarkably successful callout to Saudi women, which drew 6,000 responses,” says Michael Slackman, The Times’ international editor.

In an earlier life, Ingber worked as a reporter and editor in India, Myanmar and Thailand, and she was the founding world editor of The Huffington Post.

Snapchat seeks to create safer environment for advertisers

Snapchat is trying to reassure marketers that it’s a safe place to advertise, striking deeper partnerships with outside companies to monitor its systems and protocols.

Snapchat is working with Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Moat to evaluate its technology and procedures for addressing brand safety.

“The Snapchat brand safety protocol is designed to block any ads from appearing adjacent to user-generated content that is determined to be inappropriate or objectionable,” DoubleVerify said in a statement.

Snapchat already has established relationships with IAS, DoubleVerify and Moat, which help brands independently measure ad campaigns on the platform. The brand safety initiative takes those partnerships into new areas and establishes a council that will work to keep ads in well-lighted areas of the app.

Like much of the digital world this year, Snapchat has been under scrutiny from brands nervous about where their messages appear.

Snapchat has also gotten a pass from many advertisers because ads run between videos instead of on them, and look less connected to the content as a result.

But digital media in general is under pressure to keep marketers away from anything controversial. Advertisers began threatening to quit YouTube if it didn’t better police where their ads ran. Facebook faced similar brand outrage after disturbing incidents including a live murder were streamed on the platform. Whitelists using outside tech companies to vet websites and social media spaces are becoming a normal part of digital ad buying.

Snapchat advertisers seeking safety have moved into its more curated sections, like its media hub, where professional publishers including BuzzFeed and Vice run professional channels and sell sponsorships.

Bringing Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Moat on board to help protect brands in other areas could help support Snapchat’s ad business in other areas.

Melted Mic | Tiger Woods’ image stuck in the bunker

Tiger Woods’ Memorial Day arrest on suspicion of DUI doesn’t just jeopardize his legacy. It could also tarnish his relationships with a host of big-name sponsors.

Woods has deals with Nike, Bridgestone, Golf, Rolex, Monster Energy, TaylorMade and UpperDeck. He also represents Full Swing, which makes golf simulators, the Hero World Challenge golf tournament, and Kowa, which makes a back rub he endorses.

Woods quickly took responsibility after the arrest, which he blamed on an unexpected reaction to prescription medication. “I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” he said in a statement.

The latest trouble comes as Woods is struggling to add to his legacy on the course, hurting his future marketability. He hasn’t won a major tournament since 2008, and his recent playing career has been plagued by injuries.

Woods is recovering from a back surgery last month and has had surgery four times since 2014. He hasn’t played since February, when he was forced to pull out of the Dubai Desert Classic.

While it’s unclear how much the endorsements are worth annually, Forbes estimated last year that Woods was worth $740 million. It’s also unclear if he can save par on his reputation – or how many strokes it will take to get out of this latest bunker.

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon. 

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