Content Aware weekly update: March 24th 2022

Published: 25 March 2022

It's Jif not Gif, says its inventor Steve Wilhite

Content Aware is GPP's weekly update of the new, interesting, or essential in media. Pass it on, or send interesting morsels our way.

The Smiths' global ambition
Eyeing the rapid expansion and success of the likes of The Athletic and Axios, NYC media heavyweights Justin Smith (ex-Bloomberg's Head of Media) and Ben Smith (ex-NYT media columnist) - no relation - are hitting the VC trail for $20-$30m in startup cash to get their new world news-focused operation up and running, planning to be at full pelt for the 2024 US Presidential elections. It's going to be called Semafor, which aims to compete with agencies like PA and Reuters: money will go on journalist hires. If they follow The Athletic model and lure talent with big pay rises, expect to see some big name defections near you soon.

Local trouble, democratic damage
The US Bill to create a payment model between Big Tech and news publishers is winding its way into Congress. However, while local papers have suffered in the digital revolution, it would be disingenuous to ignore pre-existing problems which still need dealing with, argues this interesting piece in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Corbidge comments...
The CJR analysis is the jump-off point for GPP's own content king Rob Corbidge to ponder some of the ways vital grassroots operations which give local news its unmatchable power to do good can be shored up and safeguarded.

Escaping Mariupol
At GPP many of us are or have been journalists, so we can't help but admire this sparing use of the long-form article to tell a powerful story of an escape under fire by those covering a story.
For prior warning, it features some disturbing images.

Google Analytics 4 U
Many are vexed about Google's scheduled retirement of Universal Analytics and replacement with GA4. Well, here's a handy primer/reminder of some things GA4 can do very well indeed.

Killing the Buzz?
A salutary tale unlikely to be lost on The Semafor Smiths, about the reality of leveraging marketplace investment funds to promote rapid growth, comes from BuzzFeed, which is shedding some of its most senior journalists as it looks to pivot to more profitable areas of content.

Spies like us
Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory? Is your phone listening to you? Is the Government in cahoots with Big Tech? A balanced and reasoned view of what we know Big Tech doesn't do, what it does do, and what it might do.

Factual accounts
Wikipedia's model isn't perfect, but the world isn't perfect - here's an insight into the frustration that can be created by the editing process.

Metaversal message
A newsletter referencing a newsletter is very meta. Here's a fascinating interview with someone who's covered the game Second Life since its inception and what he thinks Big Tech is missing about immersion in unreal worlds.  

And finally...
Vale Steve Wilhite, inventor of the GIF. Despite his attempts to settle the argument about pronunciation, the Content Aware team still revert during inter-office spats about the matter, that it is the Graphics Interchange Format not the Giraffics Interchange Format.

Thanks for sending your tips and recommendations - all are gratefully welcomed.