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Mic looking for investors amid cash woes

Mic.com, the one-time digital media star, has recently held two board meetings, including one last week, to discuss the need to find a strategic investor amid an urgent cash crash at the company, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations who say the possibility of a shutdown was part of the discussions. In an […]
Posted: September 21, 2018, 4:26 pm

The New York Times is asking readers to help it cover election misinformation

The New York Times is stepping up its coverage of misinformation ahead of this fall’s midterm elections.
Posted: September 21, 2018, 4:15 pm

Facebook’s attempts to fight fake news seem to be working. (Twitter’s? Not so much.)

“The overall magnitude of the misinformation problem may have declined.” It’s fun to hate on Facebook, but credit where credit’s due: The platform’s attempts to get fake news and misinformation out of people’s feeds seem to be working, according to a new working paper from NYU’s Hunt Allcott and Stanford’s Matthew Gentzkow and Chuan Yu....
Posted: September 21, 2018, 12:30 pm

The daily White House press briefing is dead. Does it matter?

Under Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House briefings have become scarce. Over June, July, and August, Sanders held just 13. When she does speak to the press, she is adept at deflecting without losing her cool, and consistently fails to provide transparent, honest explanations for administration policies—according to ABC News, this summer she spent fewer than four hours fielding reporters’ questions. The only briefing so far this month was on September 10.

For some, the dwindling number of briefings is no problem. Plenty of critics, myself included, have grown weary of the constant dissembling. Jay Rosen, a media critic and professor of journalism at New York University, has been arguing since the beginning of the Trump administration that news outlets would be better off “sending the interns” to cover briefings. Others have argued that, with cameras rolling, reporters spend more time grandstanding than pressing administration officials on substance.

Daily—or near-daily—on-camera briefings are a relatively new feature of White House communications efforts. They became the norm during the Clinton administration, and press secretaries under Presidents Bush and Obama continued the tradition. Still, Olivier Knox, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, told CNN’s Brian Stelter that the briefing “has both a symbolic and a substantive importance to the White House press corps.” It shows, Knox said, “that the most powerful political institution in American life is not above being questioned.”

RELATED: The White House credibility crisis starts at the top

That symbolism—the visible evidence that the administration accepts challenges from the press—matters. President Trump may be generally open to answering a few questions at pool sprays or strolls to Marine One, but in those instances he’s free to pick which questions to answer or to ignore reporters altogether. Sanders doesn’t have that luxury.

The briefing is often a maddening exercise in convoluted explanations, repeated denials, and “I’ll-have-to-get-back-to-you’s,” but its existence is a testament to the idea that no one is above having to explain themselves. That makes it worth saving.

Below, more on the disappearing White House press briefing.

  • Fighting for access The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reports that the WHCA has pushed the administration for more briefings, but has made little headway with those requests. Wemple notes that, even when Sanders has held briefings, they’ve been much shorter than those overseen by previous press secretaries.
  • A possible fix: Before Trump took office, former press secretaries Mike McCurry and Ari Fleischer argued that the briefing format was due for an update. For CJR, they suggested that the daily briefing continue, but that it no longer be a live televised event.
  • “Trump’s battering ram”: The New Yorker’s Paige Williams profiled Sarah Sanders. “Sanders often appears to mistake journalism for stenography or cheerleading—she sometimes tells the media what to “celebrate,” such as the state of the economy,” Williams writes. “Sometimes, when confronted with the fact that reporting is often adversarial, she reflexively mentions courtesy, seemingly not understanding that journalism is an exercise in democracy, not etiquette.

 

Other notable stories:

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger sits down with The Hollywood Reporter’s Matthew Belloni to discuss “his plan for a Netflix rival, ESPN’s politics problem and how #MeToo has changed his company.”
  • CJR’s Mathew Ingram examines whether the podcast bubble is bursting. Recent announcements from Panoply and BuzzFeed News have raised concerns among audio fans that the financial foundation of medium may not be quite as solid as they hoped. Podcasting isn’t dying, Ingram writes, it just “requires an investment of time and money to do well, something that not every media company has a lot of right now.”
  • I missed this yesterday, but ESPN’s Rachel Nichols was outstanding in her aggressive interview with Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban. An NBA report found that Cuban oversaw an organizational culture where sexual harassment and misconduct repeatedly went unpunished.
  • Whether Christine Blasey Ford will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week remains an open question. Ford’s lawyers wrote a letter to the committee saying that she “would be prepared to testify next week” if the senators offer her “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” CNN reports. She will not, however, agree to appear on Monday, the date that committee chairman Chuck Grassley had offered.
  • CNN’s Brian Stelter examines President Trump’s false claim that NBC “got caught fudging” tape of the interview that Trump gave to Lester Holt just after firing James Comey. The interview has become a focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice.
  • Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley sat down with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum to criticize the since-corrected New York Times story that incorrectly blamed her for costly purchase of new curtains for the ambassador’s residence. “I appreciate the retraction but that story follows you everywhere you go,” Haley said.
  • For CJR, Jacob Goldberg reports that the recent sentencing of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar has left Burmese journalists “grasping for guidance on how to proceed without risking their freedom.

ICYMI: How not to tackle the attempted returns of disgraced men

Posted: September 21, 2018, 12:00 pm

Once media's shiny new object, how will podcasts fare now?

'Serial' back on top; 'Convicted on Twitter'; Sluggo is lit  
Posted: September 21, 2018, 11:29 am

Letter to the Editor: Progress in digital transformation at McClatchy

Your headline "As Wall Street sours on McCla
Posted: September 21, 2018, 11:24 am

Wary Myanmar journalists adapt to Reuters verdict

In a dilapidated, colonial courthouse, two Reuters reporters who exposed a military massacre of 10 Rohingya civilians sat handcuffed as they listened to a judge rattle off his reasons for convicting them under Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. In phones and notebooks belonging to Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, and Wa Lone, 32, police had found a […]
Posted: September 21, 2018, 10:55 am

Futurecasting: A way to grow revenue and broader market opportunities for news companies

Futurecasting, which is based on signals, trends and observing various industries to see how they can converge for various possible outcomes, offers us an opportunity think beyond the current horizon.
Posted: September 21, 2018, 10:25 am

In crowded field, some media companies sour on podcasts

Podcasts are the future. Podcasts aren’t the whole future. Podcasts are hit or miss.
Posted: September 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

Is the podcast bubble bursting?

Podcasting was supposed to be one of the saviors of digital media—inexpensive, addicting, profitable, and popular. But now it’s like the old line from baseball legend Yogi Berra: “That place is so popular, no one goes there any more.” Panoply, the podcasting unit set up by Slate magazine, recently laid off most of its staff […]
Posted: September 20, 2018, 7:48 pm

Podcast: On fallen men and the mystery of Tucker Carlson

On this week’s episode, Pete talks with CJR Digital Editor Nausicaa Renner about the recent decision by both Harper’s and The New York Review of Books to publish first-person accounts written by men accused of sexual assault and harassment. (Note: The podcast was recorded before news broke that Ian Buruma was out at NYRB.) Then […]
Posted: September 20, 2018, 6:45 pm

Meet the 2018 International Fact-Checking Network fellows

The International Fact-Checking Network has announced its 2018 fellows.
Posted: September 20, 2018, 6:30 pm

Best practices for avoiding tropes while reporting on poverty

The tip sheet gives journalists a chance to think more in-depth about how to pick and cover stories.
Posted: September 20, 2018, 4:21 pm

Americans feel they can best distinguish news from opinion in local TV news; worst, online news sites and social media

Only 43 percent of Americans find it easy to distinguish opinion from news on digital news sites or social media, according to a survey from the American Press Institute. But the job gets easier when they’re consuming media from publications they’re most familiar with. Earlier this year, API asked Americans about their relationship with the...
Posted: September 20, 2018, 3:54 pm

One reason why Facebook is fighting misinformation better than Twitter

This study elucidates what journalists have spent months trying to figure out.
Posted: September 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Public or closed? How much activity really exists? See how other news organizations’ Facebook Groups are faring

When Facebook announced its pivot to Groups in the algorithm, publishers obediently pivoted as well. Some were already there — nurturing communities around a common thread, an event, or a locality, or gathering subscribers/fans in one centralized place. Some, honestly, seem plain thirsty for the eyeballs heading to their site content. That’d been part of...
Posted: September 20, 2018, 3:09 pm

Here’s what the Financial Times is doing to get bossy man voice out of (okay, less prominent in) its opinion section

It’s fun to hate on newspapers’ op-ed sections (inspiring debate is kind of the point), meaning the job of editing them is not for the faint-hearted. And changing and diversifying them can be a challenge — whether you’re battling bad-faith arguments from the alt-right or just trying to get rid of a strain of [deep,...
Posted: September 20, 2018, 2:11 pm

‘How you doin'?’: It’s your turn to be Joey Tribbiani

Managers in these organizations won’t have the ability to shapeshift the entire process, but there are ways every manager can get the most out of annual reviews.
Posted: September 20, 2018, 1:30 pm

How not to tackle the attempted returns of disgraced men

That some of the men accused of harassment and abuse would eventually return to the public eye was never in doubt. Months ago, Katie J.M. Baker acknowledged in The New York Times that attempted comebacks were inevitable, and asked, “What do we do with these men?” The past week has provided examples of what not to do with them, and that includes handing over control of the pages of respected publications to their attempts at rehabilitation.

The decision to publish an essay by disgraced Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi in the New York Review of Books appears to have cost the magazine’s editor, Ian Buruma, his job. Facing intense criticism for putting Ghomeshi’s “Reflections from a hashtag” on NYRB’s cover, Buruma said in Slate that the man’s past—which included allegations of sexual abuse and harassment by more than 20 women—wasn’t his “concern.” On Wednesday, Buruma left his position, though it is unclear whether he resigned, was asked to resign, or was fired.

NYRB wasn’t alone in getting pushback to such a piece. In its October 11 issue, Harper’s will carry an essay by former public radio host John Hockenberry, who was alleged to have carried out a pattern of sexual harassment in the workplace. The magazine’s publisher, Rick MacArthur, suggested in an interview with the CBC that his staff was supportive of the decision to publish the piece, but recently departed managing editor Hasan Altaf pushed back against that claim, telling HuffPost, “No one in editorial was in support of the Hockenberry article.”

ICYMI: Outrage after a news article flagged as false on Facebook

The men who feel they have been unfairly treated following accusations of harassment or abuse are entitled to their perspective, but nothing demands that editors turn over the pages of their publications to these figures. It has been less than a year since The New York Times broke the Harvey Weinstein story, opening the floodgates through which hundreds of women have spoken up about their treatment by powerful men. The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino summarized the message that is conveyed when publications decide to highlight the words of those accused: “Women have had their ‘moment,’ their unprecedented time in the spotlight of cultural favor,” she writes. “The gravitational pull of male power is exerting itself, turning our attention back to the place where it has been trained to linger: the hero’s journey of men.”

CJR’s Nausicaa Renner noted the difference in form that allows men accused of harassment or assault to pontificate in personal essays, while women who make allegations are quoted in rigorously reported third-person articles. “The confession, when made by men showing a sensitive side, is a literary device to display a newly whole, unified character who is stronger thanks to introspection. Women, however, have the reverse experience: to ensure that their accounts are bulletproof, they are quoted, rather than given space to describe their experience in their own words,” Renner writes. “Their abuse is not entitled to be literary, only their abusers.

Writing on the plays for public sympathy by Hockenberry and Ghomeshi, The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple argues that, “first-person pieces, it turns out, often require more editing, more supervision than conventionally reported pieces,” Wemple writes. “Don’t hand over your publication’s keys to your essayist. That’s what Medium is for.”

ICYMI: Vanity Fair criticized for September cover shoot 

Below, more on the reaction to the attempted returns of fallen men.

  • On the comebacks: Responding to Hockenberry’s essay, and the slow reemergence of other #MeToo men, The New York Times’s Michelle Goldberg writes, “I feel sorry for a lot of these men, but I don’t think they feel sorry for women, or think about women’s experience much at all. And maybe that’s why the discussion about #MeToo and forgiveness never seems to go anywhere, because men aren’t proposing paths for restitution. They’re asking why women won’t give them absolution.”
  • Buruma’s defense: Slate’s Isaac Chotiner gives a masterclass in aggressive questioning in his interview with Buruma that ran shortly after Ghomeshi’s piece was published.
  • A failure of leadership: “What Buruma and the NYRB leadership failed to grasp was that men like Ghomeshi aren’t entitled to a nicely packaged redemption arc,” wrote The Washington Post’s Mili Mitra.

 

Other notable stories:

  • For Esquire, Ioan Grillo tells the story of Mexican journalist Javier Valdez’s “vibrant life and tragic death.” Valdez, who was killed in May 2017, spent years reporting on cartels. “His favored subjects were the unseen faces of the cartel wars: the members of brass bands who played ballads to men in crocodile-skin boots and women with diamond-studded fingernails; children on dirt roads who dreamed of being hit men; crying mothers whose sons had been murdered,” Grillo writes.
  • Billionaire owners of the new Gilded Age may seem like saviors to struggling publications they purchase, writes The New York Times’s David Gelles, “but there are also fresh concerns, some based on recent experience, that these individuals are assuming an unhealthy amount of influence.
  • For CJR, D. Victoria Baranetsky, the general counsel at The Center for Investigative Reporting, writes about a question data journalists find themselves regularly asking: “Will I go to prison for violating the terms of service?” She writes that Silicon Valley companies have failed to create exceptions for journalists who use data scraped from social networks to do their reporting, and that it’s time for lawmakers to get involved.
  • BuzzFeed News is cutting back on it’s podcast ambitions, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Mullin. The company is cutting its in-house podcast production team and shutting down several of its podcasts as it focuses on video expansion, Mullin writes.
  • Sean Hannity will interview President Trump Thursday evening in Las Vegas, where Trump is holding a rally.
  • The New York Times’s Jon Caramanica laments the “death” of the celebrity profile, and argues that “what’s replaced it isn’t satisfying: either outright silence, or more often, unidirectional narratives offered through social media. Monologue, not dialogue. It threatens to upend the role of the celebrity press.”

ICYMI: YouTube’s secret life as an engine for right-wing radicalization

Posted: September 20, 2018, 11:45 am

Investigation by golf publication helps free wrongfully convicted man

It’s not every day that Golf Digest helps free a wrongfully convicted man from prison.
Posted: September 20, 2018, 11:18 am

New podcast delves into controversial Chicago police shooting

“16 Shots,” WBEZ’s new podcast with the Chicago Tribune about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, launched on August 29. That day, the Tribune also published a story from a selective and controlled 40-minute interview with Jason Van Dyke, the police officer charged with murdering McDonald, who was later threatened with contempt for speaking […]
Posted: September 20, 2018, 11:05 am

Silicon Valley won’t promise to protect journalists. Lawmakers, you’re up.

Will I go to prison for violating the terms of service?  This is the question journalists must ask themselves, now, when writing data stories based on public information collected from a website, such as Facebook or Twitter. Violating a terms of service that prohibits scraping can carry with it possible criminal liability under the Computer […]
Posted: September 19, 2018, 3:57 pm

Data Journalism and the Law

Introduction In 1961, legal scholar Alexander Meiklejohn famously wrote that the rationale for the First Amendment depended on citizens’ ability to receive and use information relevant to democratic self-governance.1 The crux of his statement was this: knowledge is power. Fifteen years later, scholar Thomas Emerson would rely on Meiklejohn’s work to famously highlight the “vital […]
Posted: September 19, 2018, 3:55 pm

How to buy into journalism’s blockchain future (in only 44 steps)

I’m pretty sure I purchased Civil tokens yesterday — literally buying into an experiment to strengthen journalism by putting some of it on the blockchain. After passing two tests, uploading my passport and driver’s license to unfamiliar websites, and plunking down a large (for me) sum for a cryptocurrency, I was cleared for token takeoff....
Posted: September 19, 2018, 2:22 pm

How the Broke in Philly collaboration is focusing local media’s attention on poverty and economic mobility

A comprehensive list of 45 affordable summer camps isn’t a typical item on Billy Penn’s website. (More standard: “Center City has fewer restaurants with sidewalk cafes but more outdoor seating overall” or “City Council pronunciation guide: How to say your elected officials’ names.”) But then again, 19 news organizations actually working together to pool their...
Posted: September 19, 2018, 12:00 pm

YouTube’s secret life as an engine for right-wing radicalization

For many casual YouTube users, the Google-owned video service is a harmless way to waste time, listen to music, or maybe even learn how to install a new appliance. But if you dig below the surface, as the non-profit research institute Data & Society does in a new report, you quickly start to see odd or even disturbing links to right-wing pundits and conspiracy theories. This is YouTube’s alter ego, what sociologist Zeynep Tufekci has called “one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century.” And it’s not a coincidence, the report says—it’s a deliberate attempt to radicalize users by pulling them into a vortex of reactionary content.

In the Data & Society analysis, “Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube,” researcher Rebecca Lewis looks at 65 political influencers across 81 YouTube channels, and identified what she calls an Alternative Influence Network or AIN. The AIN uses the same techniques that brands and other social-media influencers use to build followers and garner traffic, but uses them as a way to sell users on a specific right-wing ideology. This media pundits and internet celebrities in the network, which include Canadian professor Jordan Peterson and white supremacist Richard Spencer, “use YouTube to promote a range of political positions, from mainstream version of libertarianism and conservatism, all the way to overt white nationalism,” Lewis writes in the report.

Just as Instagram users might market a new brand of alcohol by posting photos and videos of themselves and tagging others to extend their reach, social networking among right-wing influencers on YouTube “makes it easy for audience members to be incrementally exposed to, and come to trust, ever more extremist political positions,” Lewis writes. And Google, of course, happily monetizes all of that engagement and traffic with ads.

It’s not just that Google is taking advantage of the traffic generated by these networks. As I wrote for CJR earlier this year, the problem is exacerbated by Google’s recommendation engine, an algorithm that suggests new videos for users to watch after they have finished with the one they clicked on or searched for. For many younger users, this is the new TV—watching video after video on YouTube. And the site’s algorithm is often gamed by right-wing trolls to get their hoaxes or fake news high up in the recommended list, an example of what the Oxford Internet Institute has called “computational propaganda.”

Google has said it is concerned about misinformation on YouTube (especially after conspiracy theories were some of the top recommendations after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February) and that it is trying to implement a number of features that will reduce the likelihood users will see fake news in the recommended list. But what Lewis describes in her Data & Society report is even harder to root out—a coordinated attempt to expose viewers to right-wing ideologies, not necessarily through the use of conspiracy theories or fakes, but through the kind of brand-building that YouTube and other social tools excel at.

Here are some more links related to misinformation and computational propaganda:

  • A conspiracy ecosystem: Jonathan Albright, research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, looked at the rise of what he calls the “conspiracy ecosystem” viewers could get sucked into after searching for videos about the Parkland shootings. “It’s not YouTube getting gamed,” he told The Washington Post. “It’s that YouTube has allowed this to flourish. The Florida videos are now taking people to the larger conspiracy space.”
  • The intellectual dark web: Many of the right-wing or libertarian personalities Rebecca Lewis mentions in her Data & Society report like to think of themselves as members of what Eric Weinstein, a managing director of billionaire Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, has called the “intellectual dark web.” New York Times writer Bari Weiss wrote about some of the members of this group in May.
  • Keep them clicking: Guillaume Chaslot, a former programmer at Google, worked on the recommendation algorithms used by YouTube and told CJR earlier this year the number one metric staffers were supposed to focus on was time spent on the site, not the quality of information. Chaslot has since left the search engine and created a site called AlgoTransparency, aimed at showing how YouTube’s recommendation engine often suggests hoaxes when users search for political or scientific terms.
  • A global problem: Gaming YouTube’s algorithms or social networking structure to spread right-wing messages in the US is clearly an issue, but the use of social platforms to spread political misinformation and even dangerous conspiracy theories is widespread, according to a recent report by the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda project. Researchers found evidence of “formally organized social media manipulation campaigns” in 48 countries, up from 28 countries last year.
  • Too late for 2018: Although Facebook has tried to clamp down on potential meddling in the US mid-term elections by removing networks of fake pages and “inauthentic” accounts, the social network’s former head of security said recently that it is too late to prevent social-media driven interference in the elections, which he said could become “the World Cup of information warfare.”

 

Other notable stories:

  • Jonathan Kaiman, a former Beijing bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times, has resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct. Kaiman, who was suspended from the newspaper in May after accusations were made against him by two women, said in a statement that any sexual behavior he engaged in was consensual.
  • Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey tells Wired, for its 25th anniversary issue, that he thinks one of the digital pioneers of the next 25 years will be ProPublica and its “experimental journalism.”
  • The New York Times apologized on Twitter after it mistakenly identified actress Angela Bassett, who was presenting at the Emmy Awards, as former White House staffer and reality show contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman. The Times said it regretted “running an incorrect caption from a photo wire service in some early print editions.”
  • For CJR, Andrew McCormick spoke with Time Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal about the acquisition of the magazine by software billionaire Marc Benioff. Felsenthal says he thinks Benioff will be a “terrific fit” for the magazine, whose revenues have been on a downward trajectory for some time.
  • New York magazine announced that it is expanding its Intelligencer brand with a number of new hires, and will also bring its Select All technology vertical under the same umbrella. The magazine has hired former Business Insider editor Josh Barro, Mic writer Zak Cheney-Rice, and New Republic writer Sarah Jones.
  • Anita Hill, who testified about sexual harassment by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing in 1991, writes for The New York Times about how the Senate should handle the confirmation hearing of nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford.
Posted: September 19, 2018, 11:55 am

How France beat back information manipulation (and how other democracies might do the same)

If France could stop misinformation, could the U.S.? A newly-translated-to-English report reflects on how the country handled misinformation and politically motivated document leaks in its 2017 presidential election and offers 50 recommendations for how gouvernements, société civile et acteurs privés could tackle similar problems. The findings are compiled in a hefty 200 pages from a...
Posted: September 19, 2018, 10:00 am

How to report on — and hire for — journalism’s poverty problem

You may have heard — journalism has a bit of a class problem. We’ll spare you the not-all-news-is-in-New-York and some-people-can’t-afford-banks soapboxes. (But if you want them, you know where to click.) Just think about the question Heather Bryant posed to the audience at one session during ONA’s conference on Saturday: For every story you write...
Posted: September 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

The Guardian is getting into the daily news podcast game — here’s what it learned the last time it tried

Last week, The Guardian announced it was joining the cluster of publications currently developing a flagship daily news and current affairs podcast. It will be hosted by Anushka Asthana, a former senior political correspondent on TV for Sky News and The Guardian’s current political editor. (Asthana is actually one half of a job share for...
Posted: September 18, 2018, 3:43 pm

The New York Times Magazine wants to send you on an audio “voyage,” featuring bats, rats, and volcanos

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 177, published September 18, 2018. Headspin. Been quite the week, hasn’t it? In case you missed it: Last Wednesday, Panoply announced that it was getting out of the content business and, as a result, would be letting go of its entire editorial division —...
Posted: September 18, 2018, 2:46 pm

Cataclysm looming or a business maturing? How to interpret all the recent shakeups in the podcast industry

Been quite the week, hasn’t it? In case you missed it: Last Wednesday, Panoply announced that it was getting out of the content business and, as a result, would be letting go of its entire editorial division — putting more than a few good producers out of a job — in favor of focusing solely...
Posted: September 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

Tripling its books coverage, New York Magazine will think of books as a “horizontal”

The best house, in my opinion, is a house where books are everywhere: not just on a single shelf in the living room, but on kitchen counters, in bathroom vanities, in bedside table stacks, in baskets on the floor, in backpacks and shopping bags. The same concept can be extended to the digital world. Why...
Posted: September 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

Newsonomics: Could a McClatchy-Tronc merger help local newspapers transition to digital?

Could McClatchy unexpectedly join Gannett and GateHouse as survivors in the game of the American daily newspaper consolidation? Could California become a new epicenter of the American local newspaper business? Could Patrick Soon-Shiong have found a bigger lab to test his theories of AI-enhanced journalism? As we learned over the weekend, the newspaper chain Tronc...
Posted: September 17, 2018, 3:25 pm

“The cure lies within us, if we have the will and the imagination to develop it”

We’re here in Austin this week to talk about how journalism works online. We’re all doing this work because the internet — among other things — came along and uprooted the way journalism had been done for the last 100 years — which sent us spinning off into crisis. We all know the basics. In...
Posted: September 16, 2018, 11:33 pm

$20 million is heading toward local news from the Lenfest Institute and Knight Foundation

Boom, baby: After initially joining forces to boost Table Stakes — their project to boost the nation’s metro newspapers — the Knight Foundation and the Lenfest Institute are each putting $10 million into a joint fund targeted at local news. (Yes, $20 million total, with opportunity for more to come.) Table Stakes was launched in...
Posted: September 16, 2018, 10:30 pm

Fighting back against fake news: A new UN handbook aims to explain (and resist) our current information disorder

In a global-first act of collaborative research and knowledge sharing involving leading international experts, the UN published a new handbook this week that aims to help equip journalism to tackle the scourge of “information disorder.” The book, Journalism, Fake News and Disinformation, was edited by the two of us — Julie Posetti, a senior research...
Posted: September 14, 2018, 4:29 pm

With liberal and conservative outlets fighting, Facebook’s fact-checking program shows more cracks

ThinkProgress vs. The Weekly Standard. Here’s a mini-saga that encompasses many of the things we argue about now. Earlier this week, progressive politics site ThinkProgress posted an article headlined, “Brett Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week and almost no one noticed.” Read the story and you’ll see that Supreme Court nominee...
Posted: September 14, 2018, 1:43 pm

📧 Obsessing over one year of the Quartz Obsession email

If you’re a trivia buff, you probably don’t want to play against Jessanne Collins or Adam Pasick. The editors are part of the team behind the weekday deep dive into one seemingly random topic (lettuce, sheds, the color purple, and the Mars rover, to name a few) by a Quartz reporter, also known as the...
Posted: September 13, 2018, 1:56 pm

Podcast shakeup! Panoply, iHeartMedia, Stuff, and…Malcolm Gladwell? are all making industry moves

It’s been a tumultuous 24 hours in the podcast business! First, late yesterday afternoon, our own Nick Quah broke via his newsletter the news that Panoply — the Slate-born podcast network that had been tightly connected with the newsier, more public-radio-y end of that business — was getting out of the content business altogether. Several sources...
Posted: September 13, 2018, 1:30 pm

Here’s the next round of VR journalism innovation ideas (and the ideas for the tools to make it happen)

Virtual reality and augmented reality were pushed as new frontiers for journalism — and then the roadblocks came. Maybe the next round of new ideas could help freshen up the space. The New York Times made a flourishing push into AR for the PyeongChang Olympics earlier this year and has followed up with immersive storytelling...
Posted: September 12, 2018, 4:00 pm

From “uncool uncle” to “fun” “best friend”: Why people are turning from Facebook to…other Facebook-owned things for news

Multiple surveys bear this out, and it probably matches your own experience as well: Facebook is no longer growing as a platform for news. In the U.S., for instance, young people’s use of Facebook for news fell by 20 percentage points between 2017 and 2018. And Pew reported this week that the percentage of U.S....
Posted: September 11, 2018, 11:01 pm

Did Serial’s Season 3 score the single biggest podcast sponsorship deal ever?

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 176, published September 11, 2018. One court, week by week. In case you missed it: Serial is coming back for its long-awaited third season later this month. Announced Wednesday, the news was well documented by mainstream outlets like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Elle, Cleveland...
Posted: September 11, 2018, 2:27 pm

Here’s what Americans say it will take to rebuild their trust in the media

Figuring out just how to rebuild Americans’ trust in media is proving to be a tricky question. The Knight Foundation and Gallup shared their latest findings on mixing the perfect potion, after previously testing whether articles featuring their sources or community-rated trust metrics would improve readers’ trust in media organizations. Spoiler alerts: Nope and nope....
Posted: September 11, 2018, 1:00 pm

Baggage, checked: With cable news in public places, we bring our own history and set of assumptions

Have you been traveling and noticed that all the televisions in an airport terminal were set to CNN? Or grabbed a drink at a bar and realized that Fox News was being broadcast to its customers? You might grouse that you’re being forced to watch something that doesn’t jive with your political views. Or maybe...
Posted: September 11, 2018, 1:00 pm

Americans expect to get their news from social media, but they don’t expect it to be accurate

Lots of news on social media? Yep. Lots of accurate news on social media? Nope: That’s the mindset of the typical U.S. news consumer in 2018, according to a new Pew Research Center report on news use on social media platforms. Around two-thirds of U.S. adults say they get news from social media. (That figure...
Posted: September 10, 2018, 3:35 pm

Newsonomics: What the anonymous New York Times op-ed shows us about the press now

In 1954, at the moment history tells us that Sen. Joe McCarthy’s witch hunt had already lost some of its power, he still held a 35 percent approval rating among Americans, down only 10 points from four years earlier. Twenty years later, after the Senate Watergate Committee opened its hearings and news accounts had pilloried Richard Nixon,...
Posted: September 10, 2018, 2:12 pm

Are you sure that promoted article is still political content, Facebook?

It happened again: A news organization tried to pay Facebook to promote its journalism — which included reporting on politics — and Facebook said no, declaring it “political content” the news organization wasn’t authorized to push. Last night, an attempt to promote our recent story was blocked by @Facebook's algorithm. This newsworthy piece of impartial...
Posted: September 7, 2018, 5:02 pm

They’ll do it live: The New York Times is going beyond poll results and showing how the numerical sausage gets made

You may have heard there are some important elections coming up in the United States — ones that might have an impact on how some minor governance issues we’ve been having could play out. The return of big elections means the return of large-scale election polling, and if you were alive in 2016, you may...
Posted: September 7, 2018, 4:41 pm

When maps go viral: A cartographer takes a look into user-made maps (and their unintended consequences)

Maps gone viral. Here’s a cool paper on viral maps — “maps that reach rapid popularity via social media dissemination” — and how they may be used to spread misinformation. Pennsylvania State University’s Anthony Robinson looked at Nate Silver’s “What if only women voted” 2016 election map and the maps inspired by that tweet. (A Twitter...
Posted: September 7, 2018, 1:44 pm

63 industry leaders, 40 organizations, and 5 opportunities for revitalization on the horizon of local news

A crisis and/or a crossroads: That’s one of the many takeaways from a gathering of several dozen leaders from news organizations, platforms, and foundations discussing the prospects for the next batch of ideas for local journalism business models. The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard and the Lenfest Institute brought together...
Posted: September 6, 2018, 5:01 pm