With DCReport, David Cay Johnston — the man with Trump’s 1040 — wants to give readers a way to act on the stories they read

David Cay Johnston, the reporter that Donald Trump says “nobody has ever heard of,” suddenly came to a lot of people’s attention Tuesday, when he appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show to talk about Donald Trump’s 2005 Form 1040 tax returns, which had been leaked to him by someone with access. (Johnston hinted broadly that Trump himself might be a candidate for its origin.) Johnston, a veteran reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his reporting on loopholes in the U.S. tax code, wasn’t exactly laboring in obscurity before then, but his appearance certainly did help raise the raise the profile for DCReport, the small three-month-old nonprofit news site where he first published the Trump tax story — and which immediately crashed thanks to the flood of traffic it drew. While the Trump story was a big early win for the site, it’s an
Continue reading "With DCReport, David Cay Johnston — the man with Trump’s 1040 — wants to give readers a way to act on the stories they read"

25 Trump voters from Alabama + 25 Clinton voters from San Francisco = 1 surprisingly good Facebook group

Getting people with differing views to talk to and understand each other’s perspectives can seem like an impossible task. But that’s what Spaceship Media and AL.com managed to do in a recent experiment called The Alabama/California Conversation Project. In December, Spaceship Media, a startup built around a reporting model it calls “dialogue journalism,” filled a closed Facebook group with 50 women, half of them Trump voters from Alabama and the other half from San Francisco, to do nothing more than talk. Over the course of the month-long project, the women in the group held deep, often uncomfortable conversations about topics like healthcare, reproductive rights, gun control, and how their views on these subjects affected their voting decisions. While the Spaceship Media team periodically steered the discussions, the group quickly took on a life of its own, with participants on both sides taking ownership of the group and independently Continue reading "25 Trump voters from Alabama + 25 Clinton voters from San Francisco = 1 surprisingly good Facebook group"

A Twitter tool was hacked this morning, which means now is a good time to double-check your Twitter permissions

A large-scale hack hit Twitter on Wednesday, affecting hundreds of high-profile accounts, including those belonging to news organizations like BBC North America and Forbes. The accounts posted identical spam messages were written in Turkish and included swastikas and Nazi hashtags. The hack also swapped out the accounts’ profile photos. Like many Twitter “hacks,” Wednesday’s breach wasn’t a result of hackers going after Twitter directly. Instead, the hack was a result of a vulnerability in third-party app Twitter Counter, a popular Twitter data analytics tool that was also hacked four months ago. Both Twitter Counter and Twitter itself acknowledged the hack and say they’re addressing the problems. Continue reading "A Twitter tool was hacked this morning, which means now is a good time to double-check your Twitter permissions"

Over 15,000 contributions — including an anonymous $1M — have helped The New York Times sponsor 1.3 million student subs

The New York Times has shared some big numbers about the “Sponsor a Subscription” program that it launched in February: Thanks to contributions from 15,500 donors, the Times has been able to offer over 1.3 million students in the U.S. free access to NYTimes.com. Donations ranged from $4 (the average cost of a student subscription is $3) to, in one anonymous case, $1 million. Over 830 contributions came from outside the U.S., despite the fact that the program is only available to students in the country.

It’s a big early win for the program, which the Times launched in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration, and which for contributors represents a viable way to improve news literacy among the next generation of news readers. The program’s uptake mirrors eye-popping post-election fundraising numbers from the likes of ProPublica and Mother Jones, both of which benefitted from the public’s Continue reading "Over 15,000 contributions — including an anonymous $1M — have helped The New York Times sponsor 1.3 million student subs"

A news app aims to burst filter bubbles by nudging readers toward a more “balanced” media diet

In their effort to help fix the filter bubble problem, developers of news app Read Across the Aisle took inspiration from an unlikely source: exercise trackers.

Designed to help people diversify their news consumption habits, Read Across the Aisle tracks how often users read stories from roughly 20 news sources across the ideological spectrum, with The Huffington Post at the far left of the spectrum, Fox News at the far right, and others like The New Yorker, NPR, and The Christian Science Monitor in between. A slider bar at the bottom of the screen moves from left to right based on how much time users spend reading news from certain sources, and how ideologically extreme the app deems those sources to be.

The app is designed to help users escape their news consumption bubbles. When the user’s reading habits skew too far to either side, the app triggers a notification recommending

Continue reading "A news app aims to burst filter bubbles by nudging readers toward a more “balanced” media diet"

With its new book, OpenNews wants to help more newsrooms adopt open source projects

OpenNews, which is on a quest to strengthen the relationship between journalism and code (and became an independent organization last month), wants to give more newsrooms a model for how to adopt or create open source projects themselves. The organization on Friday announced The Field Guide to Open Source in the Newsroom, a collaborative guidebook that takes news organizations through the many facets of the open source process, from the early steps of establishing buy-in among leadership to the later questions about what to consider when shutting down a project.

The guide is aimed specifically at developers in newsrooms, who often deal with their own set of unique cultural challenges. (This week, in conjunction with the annual NICAR conference, OpenNews published the results of its survey of “news nerds.”) Other chapters touch on topics such as documentation, managing releases, and working with developer communities.

With its new editor on board, ProPublica Illinois’ ambitions are starting to take shape

Reporters who depart journalism for the greener pastures of other industries rarely make a return trip. But when ProPublica asked Louise Kiernan to help launch its first state-level expansion, ProPublica Illinois, she couldn’t say no.

“I always thought that if the perfect opportunity came along, I would consider going back into a newsroom because it’s a wonderful life,” said Kiernan, who spent 18 years at the Chicago Tribune and the last six teaching at the Northwestern’s Medill School. (She’s also a past Nieman Fellow and past editor of Nieman Storyboard.) “And as much as I love my job here [at Medill], I miss that life, too. I don’t know that there would have been any other opportunity beyond this one that would have lured me back.”

As editor-in-chief of ProPublica’s Illinois unit, Kiernan will be charged with building up a newsroom (the site has already advertised 10 job openings Continue reading "With its new editor on board, ProPublica Illinois’ ambitions are starting to take shape"