Arthur’s Media Diary



This analysis is based upon 2 tracking apps – Moment on my smartphone, and RescueTime on my computer. I did not consume any content through any other devices (no books, newspapers, or TV)

Time Period:

  • RescueTime: Feb 8, 2017 – Feb 18, 2017
  • Moment: Feb 14, 2017 – Feb 18, 2017

Mobile Consumption Analysis

Using the Moment app, I tracked how much time I spent by application for 5 days.

This was not super insightful, so I bucketed the apps into these categories:

Using these categories, the analysis became more clear:

Communication and Content Consumption seemed like the most prevalent categories, but Content Consumption seemed more relevant to the nature of this assignment so I looked more closely into that category.

As this chart shows, Facebook (in gray) and YouTube (in orange) make up the majority of my sources ON MOBILE. This makes total sense:

  1. When I’m on the go, I browse through FB, and any articles that I find and read are opened within the app
  2. When I am walking, I don’t like to read much, but still like to stay up to date on news, so I typically find YouTube videos from various news networks and watch those. This explains the high YouTube minutes on 2/14, 2/17, and 2/18. On 2/15 and 2/16, during my walks to/from the T, I was on the phone, and so couldn’t consume content those days (This can be seen in the chart above, where the “Communication” category has relatively more minutes those days as compared to others)

Desktop Consumption Analysis

To analyze my media usage patterns on desktop, I had to rely on RescueTime’s free online dashboard tool.

Looking at the overall productivity summary didn’t really tell me much:

Looking across the dates, a couple things stick out:

  1. Something good for my sanity is that on weekends (2/11 and 2/12), I spend less time than most weekdays. (It also makes sense that on Tuesday (2/14), I also had relatively low time, since that’s my most class-intensive day)
  2. The split between productive time (in blue) vs neutral (in gray) vs distracting time (in red) doesn’t seem to showcase any interest trends. However, I think that’s because it’s very unclear what falls into each of those categories

Let’s try to explore that further:

As I start looking into the categories, some interesting insights start to appear:

  1. YouTube is CLEARLY my entertainment of choice….. and while I’d like to think most of that time consists of watching various news segments, realistically, I’m sure a solid proportion of that is more in the cat-video-category of content….
  2. Email and messaging (WhatsApp) take up a massive portion of time, and while that may seem surprising to most, I’m not surprised. The reality of most work today is that it is collaborative by nature. This means these tools are critical to that
  3. I’m glad facebook is not in any of these top 3 categories, yet I’d love for this to show me how much of my FaceBook time is spent reading articles

Diving a bit deeper into the categories….

I’m beginning to think that I really don’t read or consume as much content as I thought I did! All of the displayed categories are not content consumption sites (Facebook articles would link out to different tabs so would be counted separately). 

Looking at the day by day breakdown, the light gray category (Everything else) is one that I really wish I could learn more about. I’d like to think that this is the collective aggregation of my browsing and read various news sources.

One additional way I tried to check if I could dig deeper was by looking at time breakdowns by Category.

“Reference” is 3rd highest category there, which I thought could indicate consumption, but double-clicking on that, I saw that it was pretty much all OneNote and Adobe Reader (which are the tools I used most for homework and interview prep).

“Uncategorized” was in the middle of the pack, but double-clicking on that just showed me a bunch of sites associated with classes and the companies that I was interviewing for last week.

Finally, I decided to look at how the time split out by day

Looking at these categories, I would say “Communication & Scheduling” (in light blue), “Reference & Learning” (in light green), and “Design & Composition” (in dark green) all reflect time spent being productive for something career or education related, and they take up about half of the time each day. These represent a tight mix of both consumption and creation.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this analysis highlighting that I tend to spend time pretty effectively and manage to stay on task. However, as noted before, I would really love to further understand the “other” categories and specifically how my YouTube use breaks down between more useful, news-oriented content vs the youtube black hole of cat videos 🙂

Snoozing differently

By Anne, Jeneé, Michelle and Tyler

Our group discussed a common problem with wake-up apps: How often we hit the snooze button. So we came up with a feature that allows the user to set up two separate playlists — songs you love and songs you hate.

When the alarm clock rings, you can select the “hype” playlist or the “hate” playlist for the next time the alarm sounds to get you out of bed. We also discussed ways to integrate the alarm app with services like Spotify and Pandora and use them to further randomize the hate/hype based on the preferences you’ve already stored.


Anne Crosby

I’m Anne Crosby, and I am a first year student in Harvard Divinity School’s master of theological studies (MTS) program. I am focusing on Chinese politics, ethics, and religion.

I majored in History and East Asian Studies as an undergraduate and went on to earn a masters degree in information science. After teaching at the post-secondary level in California and earning an Ed.M., I decided to combine my interest in technology with my background in East Asian and pursue yet another masters degree.

I’m certainly not a master programmer, but I have basic coding experience, UI, and web design skills. For me the internet is about culture and human interaction—technology is a means but not an end. This course is exciting because it will be an opportunity to collaborate with some amazing classmates. I have no experience in journalism, but I love putting my info. science background to work sifting through tidbits of information and connecting the dots.

I am a consummate traveler and take every opportunity to explore the world outside of the US, spending most of my time in South and East Asia; however, Antarctica is the most incredible place I have visited. Amazing.

Things I think about sometimes:

• <i>What’s</i> the news that’s fit to print?
• <i>Who</i> the heck printed that anyway?
• Also:
o Soft power, propaganda, transnational trolling
o Networks of trust
o The role of local/localized news in civic engagement
o Net neutrality and censorship
o Internet sovereignty vs. a free and open internet

Tools and bio: Mapping religion

I am a religion reporter and I feel like we don’t have a great, organic understanding of religion’s role in America today. I’d like to find a way to study social media data that would help me understand where the true power centers/ideas/players are, to map out American Religion in 2017.

Here is a link to my work:


NewsCheck: Verifying the endless information stream

The endless stream of information and content provided by social media is the worlds’s greatest gift to a reporter or researcher and also his or her worst nightmare. As helpful and empowering as crowdsourcing this kind of newsgathering or research can be, if your job is to corroborate that information it can present a minefield. How to verify the overwhelming flow of information, particularly in a breaking news, high volume context such as violence during massive demonstrations or in a conflict zone? We’ve all seen (and perhaps disparaged) people who have shared images from one conflict zone incorrectly labeled as another, whether by honest mistake or as part of a concerted propaganda campaign. But it’s all too easy to be duped by such material, particularly if shared widely in a high pressure, deadline-looming situation.

A number of people and organizations have sought to tackle this problem by creating various kinds of verification tools. A recent one is NewsCheck, a Chrome extension launched by First Draft, a coalition of organizations and places like the Google News Lab working on tools to improve skills and standards in online reporting.

The extension is a web-friendly version of a previously published guide to verification for photos and videos and essentially works by presenting the user with a checklist of considerations to run through: Are you looking at the original version? Do you know who captured the image? Do you know where the image was captured? Do you know when the image was captured? The app scores the user based on the answers and these results can be published alongside the embedded image on the intended website so that other users can see for themselves to what extent it has been possible to authenticate the information. This isn’t a perfect fix obviously and I would love to see this tool expanded to automatically feed into to some of the best and most vetted online authentication tools available, as sometimes the number of tools can be as overwhelming as the amount of content and further curation is always helpful. But it’s a nice step to attempt to systematize basic verification into workflows for anyone sharing this kind of content and to increase transparency on these efforts to readers/viewers.


Slack as a Collaboration Tool

After reading through the example articles on tools for journalism and storytelling, it struck me that there are so, so many resources out there for journalists. How do you keep track of all these items while collaborating with colleagues? Slack, a tool first widely adopted by the tech community, has features that will help journalists work together effectively and efficiently. It’s a messaging and collaboration tool for teams that is being rapidly adopted across industries.

  • Use channels for topic specific conversations – These channels could be specific stories or even elements within a story. They can be public with your entire team or private to a specific group of people.
  • Contact team members directly for one-on-one conversations using direct messaging and one-in-one calls.
  • Easily share and upload files.
  • Use search to easily find information. The files you upload are indexed, so search even works within PDFs.
  • Use Slack integrations, like twitter and google alerts, to quickly see relevant information in appropriate channels.

Slack is primarily meant for teams and workplaces, but can be used informally also, among just a few collaborators or across many dispersed journalists. Some newsrooms, including Vox and The Associated Press, are already using the tool for collaboration. Is can also be used more widely across organizations. For example, Muckrock created a Slack team, which has recently become very popular, to help investigative journalists to retrieve data and documents from the government through the Freedom of Information Act.



Last year I had the opportunity to meet with Xeudi Chen and Pedro Oliveira, the Backslash team at Tisch’s ITP lab. At the time, I didn’t understand how the geographical relevance of their project would change so significantly in a year. Backslash is an NYU project that creates devices to protect protect protesters in countries without the democratic right to peaceful dissent.
Backslash features:
  • A bandana with encoded messages that differ depending on how it’s folded and can only be unlocked when an image of the fabric is scanned with a corresponding app
  • A jammer to block your signal because governments have retaliated against people whose metadata have placed them near the protest
  • A geotagged panic button that warns others when violence has escalated
  • A personal router for when the government has blocked cell service
  • A personal black box to have a record of the protest as police crush cameras and phones – it is discrete and can’t break
All of these were made by non-engineers with low-cost, accessible, existing tech. These products were not intended for use in the US, but their use may becoming increasingly relevant here, particularly as journalists come under deeper scrutiny.