A Call for Cooperation Against Fake News

We -- John Borthwick and Jeff Jarvis -- want to offer constructive suggestions for what the platforms -- Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, Apple News, and others -- as well as publishers and users can do now and in the future to grapple with fake news and build better experiences online and more civil and informed discussion in society.


Key to our suggestions is sharing more information to help users make better-informed decisions in their conversations: signals of credibility and authority from Facebook to users, from media to Facebook, and from users to Facebook. Collaboration between the platforms and publishers is critical. In this post we focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Google search. Two reasons: First simplicity. Second: today these platforms matter the most.


We do not believe that the platforms should be put in the position of judging what is fake or real, true or false as censors for all. We worry about creating blacklists. And Continue reading "A Call for Cooperation Against Fake News"

The News and its New Silent Majority: Clinton Supporters

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This election, I've been trying an experiment, judging journalism from a different perspective, from the outside, as a member of a community and a partisan. I don't like what I'm learning about my profession.

We journalists tend to separate ourselves from the public we serve. We call ourselves objective, to distinguish us from the opinionated masses and to enable us to rise above their fray. We fancy ourselves observers, not actors, in the dramas we chronicle. I've argued that we must end that separation and learn to empathize with the needs and goals of the communities we serve, even considering ourselves members of those communities. Thus, social journalism. But in this argument, the journalist is still the journalist.

Then I found myself in a position to look at the field not as a journalist but as an involved participant in a community. That community: Hillary Clinton supporters.

I haven't been
Continue reading "The News and its New Silent Majority: Clinton Supporters"

From Media to Memes: Lessons from Occupy Democrats

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I want you in the news business -- and politics and brands -- to learn from two media and political geniuses for the social age you've probably never heard of. They are Rafael and Omar Rivero, 29-year-old twin brothers and the founders of Occupy Democrats, a Facebook page that specializes in the creation of memes like those above and below: a gif with text and photos or a video (the "veme"), containing information, opinion, and a call to action. Thus they feed conversations all over the net. Their Facebook page has 3.5 million likes, adding 100,000 a week. The average meme reaches 1 million people. In total, Rafael Rivero says, they reach between 100 and 300 million impressions a week.

Oh, they also have a web site with posts and articles, like a media company, but that's frankly "an afterthought" -- even though it's the web site that has the advertising that brings in
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Continue reading "From Media to Memes: Lessons from Occupy Democrats"

Dear Morning Joe

I watch or listen to you every morning and over the years have enjoyed it. But during the rise of Trump, you infuriated me. You took pride in seeing Trump's potential to capture the nomination while everyone else did not. But you could not see then what so many others of us could see: that your friend (your word) Donald is uninformed, demagogic, bigoted, mean, unstable, possibly insane, and certainly unfit to serve in the highest office in the land.

I am glad, very glad that on this morning's show, you recognized all this about Trump and said so -- and that you all went further, trying to get Republican leaders, including at least one at your table, to repudiate their candidate for President.

But what if you had seen Trump's potential not just for votes but also for danger from the beginning? Would the Republican Party and the United Continue reading "Dear Morning Joe"

Heart to Heart: An Exchange of Valentines Between Arianna and Jeff Jarvis

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Dear Arianna,

I'm sending up the Bat Signal for you. We miss you, we need you -- the old you, the political you -- especially now, as the nation faces nothing less than a crisis of democracy. It seems your ambition these days is to become the ersatz Oprah. You're telling us to thrive and sleep. No, Arianna, you should be telling America to worry and wake up!

When you started Huffington Post more than a decade ago in the run-up to Barack Obama's election, I wasn't happy with your harsh criticism of Hillary Clinton. But I was glad for your voice in holding media and Republicans accountable and for the platform you created to bring out the voices of smart, sensible, reasoned, civilized, and prominent people even when they disagreed with you.

As a journalist, I am glad that in the meantime, you have built newsrooms around the world
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Continue reading "Heart to Heart: An Exchange of Valentines Between Arianna and Jeff Jarvis"

Heart to Heart: An Exchange of Valentines Between Arianna and Jeff Jarvis

Dear Arianna,

I'm sending up the Bat Signal for you. We miss you, we need you -- the old you, the political you -- especially now, as the nation faces nothing less than a crisis of democracy. It seems your ambition these days is to become the ersatz Oprah. You're telling us to thrive and sleep. No, Arianna, you should be telling America to worry and wake up!

When you started Huffington Post more than a decade ago in the run-up to Barack Obama's election, I wasn't happy with your harsh criticism of Hillary Clinton. But I was glad for your voice in holding media and Republicans accountable and for the platform you created to bring out the voices of smart, sensible, reasoned, civilized, and prominent people even when they disagreed with you.

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As a journalist, I am glad that in the meantime, you have built newsrooms around the world
2016-02-16-1455641357-8726648-169KVqdf_foSulI26g5ayXw.jpeg
Continue reading "Heart to Heart: An Exchange of Valentines Between Arianna and Jeff Jarvis"

Angry, White Primaries

This election, as we've all heard, is dominated by angry white people.

That is because the primary system is fundamentally racist. The first two presidential contests occur in states whose populations are 92% and 94% white, respectively. They are the only primaries that media pay attention to for months beforehand, nevermind that states that look much more like America than episodes of Petticoat Junction -- with cities and African-American and Latino populations -- will soon follow. No, the tide of this election and our future is set by these two racially, demographically, politically, and perhaps emotionally anomalous homelands of the peeved.

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Thus the people who have a four-hundred-year birthright to anger are completely disenfranchised from the primary process thus far. And the people who are being attacked as outsiders because they know how to speak another language have no voice in it.

This is how we get Donald Trump:
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Continue reading "Angry, White Primaries"