Death of Links, Future of Flipboard, Platform Ambassador, Clean Design, TFP’s Infographic Pick of the Week, DPS 2015 Tip: Generate App Building Assets, Adobe Digital Publishing Solution v2015.6 Release: New Features, Enhancements, and Bug Fixes

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news and tips for media industry pros! This week, we’re sharing stories about how direct-to-social models could mean the end of the link, the future of news reading app Flipboard, the role of platform ambassador, the value of good design, and more.

Social Media Illustrations

  • Is it the end of the link? Based on the positive initial results of Facebook Instant Articles and Twitter Moments, could be, says Fortune columnist Mathew Ingram. He points out it’s only a matter of time before the bulk of content lives on social media and we no longer need to venture elsewhere. What that means for publishers has been widely discussed and is now taking a new turn as media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post report that their Instant Articles are being shared far more often than traditional posts with links, driven in part by faster load times. As related posts by Nieman Lab and The Wall Street Journal note, the publishers are seeing a decline in website traffic, but that’s being offset by the growing number of people consuming their content on social.
  • As readers get more of their news through Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms, and advertising rates continue to slide, stand-alone apps like Flipboard are struggling to remain relevant and viable as businesses, says Bloomberg. “While Flipboard’s reading app was a showpiece for the iPad five years ago, the company is now working to adjust to a changing digital-news market and live up to its $800 million valuation,” it reports, noting the company’s challenges reflect those of other startups across the tech sector. CEO Mike McCue maintains “business is stronger than ever,” with revenue and number of users expected to double this year. Of note, though, co-founder Evan Doll and a number of senior executives have left Flipboard since it’s founding and recent discussions on the sale of the company have stalled.
  • Now more than ever newsroom roles are shifting, with new titles like mobile editor and engagement editor emerging. The latest? Platform ambassador. With distributed being the word of the day, the ability to effectively manage relationships with publishing partners is key, Digiday reports. Vox Media, for example, has created a director position to “establish and own the relationship with all major content platforms,” including Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. The role will also encompass integration of its product, editorial, and revenue teams to establish a unified product strategy, the article says. At CNN, managing platforms “can’t be a part-time thing,” says digital GM Andrew Morse, noting the news outlet is planning to build a team focused on off-platform distribution.
  • Everyone instinctively knows good design makes for a better reading experience, but now we have the science to prove it—done in a lab with electrodes and all. The Washington Post reports it partnered with the MediaBrain Lab on a months-long study to see how readers respond to clean vs. cluttered news pages, tracking the subjects’ heart rate and skin conductance. No surprise, it found the better the design, the more the brain pays attention to the content. Hands down study participants agreed better-designed stories were more interesting, easier to read, and more enjoyable, and made them want to learn more about the subject—all of which means readers were more engaged, the golden egg for publishers.

On the Technology for Publishing Blog

  • Social media management tools can boost your productivity and increase the effectiveness of your social media activities. Question is, which is best? TFP’s Infographic Pick of the Week ranks four popular platforms across eight categories. Check out the results!
  • DPS 2015 Tip: When building Adobe Digital Publishing Solution apps, you have to create a variety of image files for app icons and launch screens for iOS, Android, and Windows devices—which can be a time-consuming task. This week, Monica Murphy shows you how to automate the creation of these required app assets.
  • We also bring you all the new features, performance enhancements, and bug fixes in Adobe’s just released Digital Publishing Solution Version 2015.6.

    Image: Fortune, Chris Ratcliffe, Bloomberg/Getty Images

Check out our blog for highlights of interesting and noteworthy stories from the publishing world every Friday, and sign up for TFP’s This Week in Publishing newsletter. Think we missed something great? Let us know! Leave a comment below or drop us a note.

Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.