From Bible study to Google: How some Christian conservatives fact-check the news and end up confirming their existing beliefs

“As much as possible, when I know things are happening, I try to hear it or read it for myself first before reading any stories on it…I mean, they all lie in one way or another.” “It’s important to encourage people to think for themselves, and that’s why we have all these different news outlets. That’s why we have the internet and stuff. People are sick and tired of the same old narrative. These lies have become known. We know that the mainstream media is lying to people.” “To me, ‘fake news’ is, in a nutshell, people pushing a personal bias as the news.” “There’s news that’s false. These facts are made up or it’s not fact-checked or whatever, it’s false news. But I also think there’s a version of ‘fake news’ that’s different. Either news media or social media outlets will amplify Trump or his opinion
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“We have built the world that they told us existed”: Did the rise of young, white “Internet reporting” bolster the alt-right?

Listicles of “most outrageous 4chan comments,” presented so that readers will “understand what’s out there.” Nazi-next-door profiles like The New York Times’ infamous “A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland.” Replications of offensive memes when a text description would suffice. Overly identifying information about harassment victims. Using the term “troll” when what you really mean is “violent misogynist or online stalker.” These are just a few of the common practices that reporters and news outlets should avoid when they’re writing about extremists, antagonists, and manipulators online, writes Whitney Phillips in a Data & Society report released Tuesday. Phillips is an incoming assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University and author of the 2016 book This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. “The choices reporters and editors make about what to cover and how to cover it play Continue reading "“We have built the world that they told us existed”: Did the rise of young, white “Internet reporting” bolster the alt-right?"

Can signing a “pro-truth pledge” actually change people’s behavior online?

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

“Elections in India are now fought and won on WhatsApp.” The Washington Post’s Annie Gowen and Elizabeth Dwoskin look at news-sharing (plus the spread of “fake news and religious hatred” on closed messaging platform WhatsApp in India, during a high-profile election in the state of Karnataka this month and ahead of the country’s national election next year. India is the Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s largest market; it has more than 200 million users there. While Facebook partnered with Indian fact-checking site Boom to fact-check news on that platform, “little has been done in this cycle to combat incendiary content on WhatsApp…Indian officials, feeling helpless to stop the spread of WhatsApp content, have resorted to Continue reading "Can signing a “pro-truth pledge” actually change people’s behavior online?"

What happens when two companies journalists love to hate are also handing out cash for journalism?

One Wednesday this spring, I wrote about an accelerator aimed at local newsrooms and funded by Facebook. Two days later, I criticized the fact that Facebook’s algorithm changes don’t actually appear to be hurting hyperpartisan publishers. This is a fairly common dynamic at Nieman Lab, where we write about the duopoly’s latest news funding efforts and announcements even as we bemoan their increasing dominance. We’re certainly not alone among news outlets in doing this, but, as Mathew Ingram pointed out this week in Columbia Journalism Review, it’s a weird situation:
These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world. The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model — largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue — has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a Continue reading "What happens when two companies journalists love to hate are also handing out cash for journalism?"

This program made people better at identifying disinformation. (They still weren’t great at knowing what to trust.)

The success of media literacy programs is often described in terms of number of people reached, rather than by how (or if) they actually change people’s behavior in the long run. It’s not even clear what metrics to judge them on. But a new report from a media literacy course run in Ukraine suggests that the program actually was able to change participants’ behavior — even 18 months after they’d completed the course. The program was called Learn to Discern (L2D); it was run by global development and education nonprofit IREX with funding from the Canadian government and support from local organizations Academy of Ukrainian Press and StopFake (which Nieman Lab covered four years ago). First, the raw numbers: IREX says that its L2D seminars “reached more than 15,000 people of all ages and professional backgrounds” through a “train the trainers” model, in which 361 community leaders were trained
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News stories in Europe are predominantly by and about men. Even photograph sizes are unequal.

It’s the era of #metoo, when reporting by female journalists like Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, Emily Steel, Irin Carmon, and Amy Brittain has helped bring down powerful men who ruled media for decades. But women remain underrepresented both in bylines and in news coverage itself, and, often, underpaid compared to male journalists. In the United States, for instance, there are stark gender disparities in reporting across many different types of news outlets as well as in newsroom leadership roles. (Female journalists of color are even more poorly represented.) And a new study out from the European Journalism Observatory provides a look at just how bad the problem is in Europe. Researchers analyzed the news, opinion, and business sections of two print and two digital-born news outlets in each of 11 countries: the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the U.K. Continue reading "News stories in Europe are predominantly by and about men. Even photograph sizes are unequal."

Indian Country Today is relaunching after shutting down last year, and hopes to raise $100K

Indian Country Today Media Network, a news outlet then owned by the Oneida Nation of New York, went on hiatus last September to “consider alternative business models.” “ICTMN has faced the same challenges that other media outlets have faced. It is no secret that with the rise of the Internet, traditional publishing outlets have faced unprecedented adversity,” publisher Ray Halbritter wrote. “These economic headwinds have resulted in ICTMN operating at an enormous — and unsustainable — financial loss, and now have caused us to take a hiatus to explore new partnerships or economic strategies for ICTMN.” Now the hiatus is over and Indian Country Today is back and relaunching “on the public media model.” In February, it had announced new leadership and a new owner, the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C. The publisher has launched an Indiegogo campaign that aims to raise $100,000. Continue reading "Indian Country Today is relaunching after shutting down last year, and hopes to raise $100K"