Lots on bots, trolls, and the question, if Zuck owes us money.
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Hi everyone,

I would like to inform you that you are reading a newsletter right now. I know, I know, big surprise! Lots of you love newsletters (at least haven't unsubscribed from this one) - so I'm more than pleased to announce, that we finally heard you and... 

...started a shiny new #newsletter channel in our Slack this week!  🎉  @nikkyhofland is going to take over Rockstar duties. Besides Nikky, we have another new Rockstar: @johannesklingebiel takes over #design and #vr-ar. 🙌 Thanks a lot! We have still some channels left, so who wants to be a real Rockstar?

  • #investigative
  • #twitter
  • and #events
are still free for anyone of you with Rockstar ambitions.

Oh, and apologies that this newsletter comes so late in the evening. I was so busy being nervous about our very first in-person meetup in Austin in two weeks. 😱

I want it to be as cool as possible, so besides getting as a media partner (thanks @madalina.ciobanu!) and Google and Edenspiekermann as a sponsor (thanks @christianheise and @christianhanke!), I spend my afternoon ordering a Cupcake bar with 2 flavours, one filling, 10 toppings and two bartenders for our SXSW Lunch 🤠!
If you haven't intended to attend yet, you should reconsider at least now. You won't get DJR-flavoured Cupcakes anywhere in the whole world except on March 12 in Austin, Texas at our Digital Journalism Rocks Lunch at SXSW! I promise.

Rock on & see you in Austin!



I’d love to see an error-message of some kind, like "Sorry, but you can’t post this comment. Please step outside for a minute, breathe and then try again."

– Johannes Klingebiel on how to deal with trolls –


Well, LinkedIn, don't you like journalists?

Channel Rockstar: @marcbiskupAny questions? Shoot Marc a message!


How to get rid of trolls
  • Thanks to @johannesklingebiel it’s all about trolls this week. No, seriously, thank you! Lots of links and thoughts have been shared on how to identify toxic comments, how to prevent trolls from trolling, and how to motivate your audience for more and positive engagement.
  • What are your thoughts on that? Tell us.

Channel Rockstar: @marioAny questions? Shoot Mario a message!


Hamburg, Austin, Perugia - where do we meet?

Our very first in-person meetup takes places in only two weeks at SXSW in Austin, Texas!

Join us for a lunch during the awesome SXSW festival and conference! Digital Journalism Rocks Lunch @ SXSW
Sunday, 12 March, Austin, Texas

And a few more events are coming up. Who of you is there? Let's grab a coffee together!

Channel Rockstar: No one assigned yet! Wanna become a Rockstar? Shoot @linatimm a message!


What do you think of Zuckerbergs manifesto?

Channel Rockstar: @davidtvrdon. Any questions? Shoot David a message!


Quartz, WhatsApp, FB Messenger - a lot new stuff for bot fans!
  • The Quartz Bot Studio has a job offer you can’t refuse, as was pointed out by @jankoenig: They are looking for writers to "develop editorial strategies and content for the bots that [they] build, and to write and produce stories that will be told in new and unusual ways.” Pretty interesting stuff!

  • WhatsApp is going to launch a standalone app for Businesses in India called “WhatsApp for Business”. But: It is for companies with less than ten employees only. At least for now.

  • After its more or less failed first attempt with bots Facebook apparently tries to improve the strategy for Messenger: Instead of overly relying on true conversations they are trying to implement buttons that pop into chats between friends when they fit. Think of the option to order an Uber when talking to a friend about visiting him with a cab as an example (Also: Hello Google Assistant!).

  • There was an interesting discussion about the opportunities bots might offer for influencer marketing, started by @javier_vazquez. He was looking for some examples and the channel delivered. The topic is definitely worth checking out in the channel itself!

  • @subhajitbanerjee introduced us to the very first Messenger bot of Condé Nast for the British Vogue. You can try it yourself here – and don’t forget to give some feedback in our channel.

Channel Rockstar: @martinhoffmann. Any questions? Shoot Martin a message!


Still discussing these drones - what do you think is their advantage?
  • The debate on drones continues. @kata_karath believes that drones have “an enormous advantage over helicopters,” and she has written a doc about how drones have changed conservation in Hungary, freely available on Vimeo. Video journalist @maxieq also sees a clear use case for drones, but points out that using drones is considered surveillance in some countries.

  • Also, @dorien_luyckx is daydreaming about the Hover Camera Passport (although it seems too good to be true).

Channel Rockstar: @henrik.stahl. Any questions? Shoot Henrik a message!


Does Facebook owe *us* in journalism money?

Monetization had a quiet couple of weeks (much like monetization in the industry has in general), but nonetheless gave us two articles with a lot to think about.

  • The New York Times ran an op-ed on What Facebook Owes to Journalism. (Spoiler alert: according to the NYT, it owes journalism money. Lots and lots of money.) However, javier_vazquez brought up the interesting point that whoever holds the money, holds the power, and asks, “Who is actually managing the cause? Would that be the publishers? Would they be the recipients for that kind of money? Do we still need the NYT if Silicon Valley would fund journalists directly? Are we sure we want this?”

  • Everybody’s favourite Henrik, henrik.stahl introduced this Nieman Lab report on how news organizations are still flocking to platforms to publish content, even though they haven’t quite seen bang for their buck yet. As pro members of the media industry, what are your feelings on relying on social media platforms as distribution channels? Is it simply growing with the times, or is it a deal with the devil?
Channel Rockstar: @farahcoletteAny questions? Shoot Farah a message!


We're searching for a similar tool as Storify and a tool for doodling. Who can help?
  • @dnauroy sparked a discussion about Storify. Since it doesn’t support https, it can’t be embedded on the website, and Dominique is therefore looking for a new tool. @tilman suggested ScribbleLive. Since ScribbleLive is a bit overpowered for Dominique and his newsroom, he is still looking for a simple and intuitive tool to curate links from the web. Do you have a suggestion?

  • @rodney recommended The Texas Tribune’s online screening of “Tower,” a feature-length animated documentary about America’s first mass school shooting, and Q&A on Wednesday, February 15th. Did you see it? Let us know what you thought of it!

  • @woj shared his amazing storytelling piece “In The Footsteps of Revolution,” revisiting scenes from Russia’s tumultuous 1917 revolution. “I used a static site generator called metalsmith that I've customized to play nicely with our cms… javascript, greensock, html/css for all the visuals and fader,” Wojtek explains.

  • @paulwagner shared The New York Times’ “My Trip to the DMZ: A 360-Degree Sketchbook.” Paul’s summary says it all: “WOW!” :)

  • @snazmi asked the community for an easy way to embed a drawing tool. @henrik.stahl recommended Literally Canvas, DoodleToo, and Drawingboard.js. Do you have more suggestions?

Channel Rockstar: @henrik.stahl. Any questions? Shoot Henrik a message!


Do square videos outperform widescreen? Who has figures?
  • AMD’s news about a new 8-core line of CPU’s at half the price of what Intel charges makes @maxieq hopeful.

  • Square video outperforms 16:9 (widescreen) by 54%, according to @damselem. Is it true though? Has anyone seen a study proving it? We’d love to know.

  • @philipp.ostrop would like to compare Youtube data with another publisher for a website in closed beta. Interested? Then Philipp is waiting for a DM from you! :)

  • Youtube seems to be losing ground, as more publishers look to Facebook for their short videos. A topic that sparked @davidtvrdon’s interest. “If you play the ‘long tail’ game, YouTube is definitely worthy you attention and time. Have you ever encountered a Facebook video which was a year or two years old? This is something FB still hasn't figured out in my opinion,” he writes. Do you agree?

Channel Rockstar: @henrik.stahl. Any questions? Shoot Henrik a message!


How to embed 360° video into a website? We need solutions!
  • @javurek is looking for a way to embed 360° images into a webside. Do you have tipps?
Channel Rockstar: @johannesklingebiel. Any questions? Shoot Johannes a message!

 GIF of the week 

Carneval cat!

Carefully selected by @marcbiskup.



I couldn't do this newsletter alone. These awesome people moderate their channels and sum up the discussion every second week just so you can keep up with everything. Thanks so much, girls and guys!

@marcbiskup@mario@kollege@dorien_luyckx@johannesklingebiel@davidtvrdon@martinhoffmann@henrik.stahl, @farahcolette, @nikkyhofland@jankoenig and @tilman.
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