JO 304: 5 Mashable Final Observations

Mashable.com front page, April 21

In tracking the technology site Mashable, many things stand out when they veer away from stories about new technology.

The site’s bread and butter remains stories like this one about Nintendo paying hackers to find problems with the Nintendo Switch.

However, when the site finds a way to report on a hot story, they will do it with little hesitation — especially if that story involves a celebrity. The five observations below are based on one of their favorite punching bags: the recently-fired Bill O’Reilly.

  1. Writers have an opinion (and are not shy about sharing it)

The main site story, the one each follow-up linked to in the first few paragraphs, is a feature piece. Rebecca Ruiz, a writer on issues of gender, sexuality, and equality, did detail O’Reilly’s denial of the accusations, which involved accusing “far-left organizations” of a conspiracy against him. Ruiz does not buy it.

“If Fox News — the bastion of anti-political correctness that it is — can’t tolerate an alleged serial sexual harasser in its midst anymore, that’s more than just a victory for O’Reilly’s accusers,” she wrote. “That’s a triumph for reasonable people everywhere who refuse to accept that sexual harassment at work is normal or defendable.”

After detailing the journalistic requirements (who, what, where, why, how), Ruiz uses sources that support her view as stated above: Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer at the advocacy organization UltraViolet; Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality for the National Women’s Law Center.

Even the video that accompanies the story follows the same overtures of “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” sentiment.

2. Stories about the story

Late-night comedians are a frequent fixture on the site’s coverage of a major news event.

When “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert brought back his persona from “The Colbert Report” to bid farewell to his idol, Mashable compared their ways of saying goodbye in a short description of the video.

New host of “The Daily Show” Trevor Noah compiled a “greatest hits” for O’Reilly’s show. The lede for this video starts “Yesterday was a beautiful, beautiful day for television.”

Comedy Central’s Samantha Bee, host of “Full Frontal,” took a red drawing tool and marked up O’Reilly’s statement with “corrections.”

3. Twitter persona

Here is how the Mashable Twitter account promoted the various stories. Click on the links. Notice how the headlines on the tweets differ from the site itself.

These tweets assume a certain audience, especially the third tweet to a story about how President Donald Trump and Fox News actually benefit from the firing of O’Reilly.

4. Social media is the story

The go-to joke online in the wake of O’Reilly’s firing went as follows: “I guess Bill O’Reilly is no longer a factor.”

An entire post was devoted to various people on Twitter, all with the same joke.

5. Sharing is Caring

Mashable is keyed in to getting their articles shared. This ties in with point four: if someone I know reads a story on Mashable which features my tweet, they might share the story with me — starting a cycle where I do the same, saying “hey, look where my tweet went.”

At the top of each article are three things: the total shares, share buttons for Facebook and Twitter (with an expandable option for Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pintrest, and StumbleUpon), and the “Mashable Velocity” chart to detail how frequently people share the article online.

CONCLUSION

Mashable targets a certain audience of young, liberal-minded women with their topics and style, while catering to young men through the hard-hitting technology news.

Instead of trying to branch out and incorporate new audiences, the site goes aggresively for their target demographic. They seem to believe that this audience is what will get them the most clicks, and the most social media activity.

In the end, that is what every news site is after in the digital age: activity. The more it can attract, the better the payoff.

JO 304: Softball Live


BOSTON — Boston University is going for the sweep of in-state and conference rival Holy Cross at noon today.

The contest is part of the Turnpike Trophy, a year-long competition across all sports between BU and Holy Cross. BU won the trophy last year, SCORE.

For all news from today’s game, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@Max_Wolpoff) for updates.

Max Wolpoff on Twitter

JO 304: NEWSTRACK: Covering a Break

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday, activist Malala Yousafzai will receive honorary Canadian citizenship in a ceremony next Wednesday.

Mashable covered the announcement with a post praising her previous work, and including various information about her current work.

The article itself came nearly a full day after the actual announcement by the Prime Minister’s office. The press release, and tweets from the CBC and Trudeau’s official account, is linked in the text of the story.

The House of Commons voted in October of 2014 to bestow honorary citizenship to Yousafzai. A shooting at the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill cancelled the initial awarding of citizenship.

The article uses the quotes provided in the press release, but does not acknowledge that is where they came from. In the last few paragraphs, the writer takes a not-so-subtle jab at American President Donald Trump for his policy on Syrian refugees while praising the efforts of Canada.

In the final sentence, the writer links to Yousafzai’s current project — the Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School, providing education to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Masahble writers do not pretend to be objective in their writing. Some articles, like this one revealing the release date for Netflix’s “The Defenders” series, uses the headline “Marvel’s ‘Defenders’ assemble in a perfect viral video teaser” on the homepage.

Another breaking story covered with clear bias came at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when the site confirmed The Purge, the movie series about all crime being legal for 12 hours, is now getting a television series.

The article included links to reports by other sites, comments from Blumhouse Television, and a specific request for a show similar to 24, covering a different hour of the purge each week.

The show will air on USA and Syfy, two cable networks held by NBCUniversal, who also distributed the films.