SteemNews.Online: Update, Challenges and Progress

in #steemnews5 years ago (edited)

SteenNews.Online continues to comb Steemit articles looking for excellent content to support and promote.


One Agenda: The Truth - Without Bias


Don't miss the SteemNews.Online logo contest. Entries due in comments of our article coming out Monday, Dec 26th, at 14:00 GMT.

The prize is up to a minimum 200 Steem and now includes 500 TRAIL!

Promoting Your Content


Our main goal is to bring outstanding news content to one place for readers who desire to catch up on events without wading through hundreds of articles to find a few gems. We do the mining for you, featuring the best and most informative articles on our front page (to be officially revealed in January).

What We’ve Done So Far


As of this morning, we’ve compiled almost 1,900 articles, searchable by tag and category. Of those, 83 have been Featured, upvoted, resteemed and we’ve started broadcasting them to Facebook and Twitter, for excellent content. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds will be unveiled with the official launch of the site.

The others can be found in the News and Newslink categories, which are constant feeds without curation or editing. We do have a few keywords censored in order to keep the content safe for the work environment, but only skim content for blatant abuse. If an author is repetitive, then we’ll simply block their feed.

We realize some of this is a bit vague, since we're not really promoting the website yet. In some ways, this is prelaunch activity and promotion. We look forward to getting over some hurdles that will make the SteemNews.Online, and subsequent projects, as seamless as possible.

Challenges Faced


Attempting to get things working smoothly has been a bit more challenging than we anticipated. There are a few reasons for this.

Formatting & Code


Importing content to the new site is fairly straight forward, and is working quite well. Much of the challenge is that Steemit is very forgiving when it comes to how articles are coded. Clearly this takes some people, more accustomed to single format editors, by surprise. But there are things that Steemit has designed that are atypical of blog platforms.

One of our biggest challenges is the formatting of images. If you use <div class...> formatting for your images, or the <center> command, it works great on Steemit. But it is not recognized as html or Markdown by our tools. The only ways for us to overcome this are to have special code written to convert it, authors to change their practices or we have to do it manually. Obviously we want to avoid as much manual manipulation as possible and don't consider it wise to go against the tide for Steemit authors. So we have a dev looking at possibly adding code to one of our plugins.

Along with the image challenges, some are using header designations to highlight text. That works nicely on Steemit, in many cases, but often takes on a different look on the site. When this happens, unless it's a particularly compelling article, we pass it over.

If you're interested in your articles being promoted by SteemNews.Online, there is a simple formatting step that may help get it more readily recognized. Rather than writing your article in Steemit, write it in an html editor. Once you have all the layout the way you want it, copy the text (code) of the article and paste it into Steemit. Then, rather than changing the code, simply add what you need to make it work in Steemit. Most html works fine anyway, but you may need to add some touches here and there, especially for images.

Yeah, it's a pain. Mostly, it's just needed for images or where you center using the <center> command.

Some authors are using html editors, then just letting the formatting ride. This usually results in nothing different other than images don't pull/align right or left and centering doesn't work the same.

On the upside, we may have a tool soon that allows our contributing authors to edit onsite and post automatically to Steemit. However, we're not holding our breaths. There are details yet to work out.

True Journalistic Pieces


As we all know, there is some amazing content on Steemit. And many of the articles are certainly newsworthy. There are a few challenges among these though.

Content


We're getting a few consistent writers providing good content that helps readers grasp the times we live in. They get featured often. But, more often than not, these are about technological breakthroughs or events. Very rarely do we find good journalistic articles focused on world events.

We've posted in our SteemTrail Discord channel that there is a need for specific types of pieces right now. In fact, three subjects have been on the news recently that would make for some great journalistic opportunities.

  • Discussion on the CIA agent disclosing the mistake of ousting Saddam Hussein
  • A real good treatment on global warming (This Forbes piece is interesting)
  • A clear and objective article on Aleppo - What's really happening?

OpEd

Some articles are great except for the "opinion" aspect of them. This can be tough, because we all have opinions. And we all want to share them. This is part of the challenge of journalism.
Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities. Journalism can be distinguished from other activities and products by certain identifiable characteristics and practices.

[Journalism's] purpose, to provide people with verified information they can use to make better decisions, and its practices, the most important of which is a systematic process – a discipline of verification – that journalists use to find not just the facts, but also the “truth about the facts.”

Though it may be interesting or even entertaining, the foremost value of news is as a utility to empower the informed.
The purpose of journalism is thus to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.

Here are 10 elements common to good journalism, drawn from the book, The Elements of Journalism, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel (Source).

  1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth
  2. Its first loyalty is to citizens
  3. Its essence is a discipline of verification
  4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power
  6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise
  7. It must strive to keep the significant interesting and relevant
  8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional
  9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience
  10. Citizens, too, have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news
These quotes were taken from the American Press Institute. While we don't have a position on the integrity of the Institute, it seems apparent that these points are valid and helpful.

Opinion will always be in some ways part of writing. To attempt to delete opinion is to attempt to delete the human component. But there is a difference between writing a compelling piece based on facts and attempting to compel through wordcraft. Often the latter assigns motive or over sensationalizes certain aspects. The former lays out the facts for the reader to decide what to think regarding motive and pertinence. A couple of examples.

Example 1

Journalism

Onlookers reported that the man pushed the woman after repeatedly requesting that she stop yelling inches from his face.

OpEd

Rather than taking it like a man and considering her criticism reflectively, the misogynist violently shoved the woman away.

Example 2

Journalism

Some have called OneCoin a scam, pointing out that their internal market doesn't provide for true market trades. Other label it a ponzi scheme over concerns that involve the pyramid structure and the fees that are required for membership.

OpEd

The scammers over at OneCoin have provided the illusion of a trading platform to try to bolster their shenanigans. The ponzi scheme is even more apparent with their membership fees that only really help the company and those in the pyramid above them.

And there are many comments that simply aren't journalistic. For example, "Science says..." is perhaps one of the most irresponsible comments made today. This implies 100% consensus. A more responsible comment would begin along the lines of, "The XYX study asserts..." To go a step further, the reporter may dig up contrary findings from another group (or even from the original group).

Much of the challenge in reporting is to not sound like a robot. There is plenty of room for compassion and empathy. Indeed, some of the most powerful journalistic articles have been full of emotion. But there is a distinct difference between weeping over the pain parents feel in losing a child and imposing motive or laying blame when the facts aren't clear - or using the situation to further an agenda that may only be tangentially related.

What to Do


To be clear, nobody should change what they're doing simply because it is not journalistic. That is not the motive here.

Rather, it's our hope that some of the amazingly talented writers on Steemit are interested in investigating the truth regarding world happenings, and desire to share it with the community in such a manner that provokes thought, engenders discussion and informs in a responsible manner that helps readers make educated decisions in regard to what to think, believe and how to respond.

A great example of what can be done was demonstrated by @streestyle about a month ago, when he filmed and questioned protesters marching in LA. He was there and understands the human climate. This provided him with the opportunity to bring insight that we couldn't gain from mainstream media. Perhaps it's a one-off for him. But it can be that way with many members. For others, persistent digging for the truth is motivational, so they'll pursue the story regardless of the location.

If you enjoy sharing your opinion and are good at it, please do what you love. We're actually working on an OpEd site as well, so we look forward to promoting your material. For SteemNews.Online, however, we're in search of great journalism.

What You Can Do

In order to help get your articles read by our editors, resteemed, featured on the site and published on our social channels, please use the #steemnews tag as your first one. Our tools are scheduled to pick up #steemnews first. Depending upon the timing, if you put #news first, then your article may go directly to our News feed, which means that it might be missed when we’re looking for the better content. If it has the #newslink tag it’ll be put in that category and likely won’t get featured.

To streamline our process, we look through the articles that have hit our #steemnews feed first. These are the most likely to get Featured. Then, if we have time, we look through the #news feed.

Only the articles that are Featured are resteemed by @steemitnews and broadcasted to our social channels, though we occasionally upvote one that has good content, but didn’t quite make the cut. Each day we submit an article or two to be promoted by SteemTrail and awarded TRAIL as well.

As noted in our introductory article, please only use #steemnews if your article fits our criteria and you want it featured. If we get repeated inappropriate submittals from one account, it will most likely be blocked.

Growing the SteemNews.Online Community


It's our hope that SteemNews.Online will become an integral part of the Steemit community. One of our main goals is to assemble a team of outstanding writers who thrive on finding the truth and sharing it so others are accurately informed. We also want to encourage all members to contribute newsworthy content so that we can be informed about what's happening in your part of the world.

In closing, SteemNews.Online, the TRAIL project and the SteemTrail family all wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas, and may 2017 be a year full of blessings for us all.

Your editors,

Steemit News

LOGO GOES HERE!!

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This post has been ranked within the top 10 most undervalued posts in the first half of Dec 23. We estimate that this post is undervalued by $9.72 as compared to a scenario in which every voter had an equal say.

See the full rankings and details in The Daily Tribune: Dec 23 - Part I. You can also read about some of our methodology, data analysis and technical details in our initial post.

If you are the author and would prefer not to receive these comments, simply reply "Stop" to this comment.

a very useful and informative article. I support you.

Thank you very much.

Resteemed. Good post to explain whats going on. I like the part where you offer suggestions for content creation related to current news, that is really helpful for people to get an idea:

Discussion on the CIA agent disclosing the mistake of ousting Saddam Hussein
A real good treatment on global warming (This Forbes piece is interesting)
A clear and objective article on Aleppo - What's really happening?

I recommend you do that in future updates.

The logo, I thought about doing somthing, but figured other people would and would be better, so didn't bother wasting my time. But maybe I'll try something. Peace.

Thanks @KrNel.

Try something! The more the merrier.

We've been posting these ideas in the #steemnews trail in the SteemTrail Discord server, but it has yet to get much traction. Appreciate the feedback. After the logo contest, updates will be more about the project and its progress.

Up'd and resteemed!
I'm looking forward to Monday - got several designs made up for you guys!

Awesome!! Can't wait... but I guess we have to!

Thanks @rigaronib!!

Thanks @doitvoluntarily! You have some great content. We've promoted a couple of your articles.