The future of news (and far beyond), according to Scandinavian media giant Schibsted’s latest trends report

‘Tis the season for trend reports. The Scandinavian media giant Schibsted’s annual trends report — part predictions, part survey research, part self-promotion — is out today, free for anyone interested. The report features essays on everything from the promise and pitfalls of artificial intelligence to sustainability to the future of bicycles as a consistent mode of transportation, as well as a survey of millennials in France, Spain, and Sweden on their concerns about their digital footprint. (It’s also a useful document to browse in case you’re wondering what a 7,000-employee media company considers the most important new focus areas for its business in the coming years.) Here are a few interesting points from the report to note. — Svenska Dagbladet, Schibsted’s Stockholm-based daily newspaper, is designing a ratings system for the relative newsworthiness of each piece of news it publishes. An algorithm, trained on that data, is helping Continue reading "The future of news (and far beyond), according to Scandinavian media giant Schibsted’s latest trends report"

“No cookie-cutter model”: How local news organizations are surviving today and preparing for the future

Most newspapers in the U.S. have circulations of less than 50,000. Some are headquartered in towns of fewer than 2,000 residents. Some are flying under the radar in metropolitan areas of half a million. Among these smaller market newspapers, there is no “cookie-cutter model” to local news success, but there are many common challenges, useful frameworks, and many similar promising revenue opportunities, according to a Tow Center report published Wednesday by Christopher Ali and Damian Radcliffe that’s centered around the challenges and strategies of these smaller market newspapers. Of the 7,071 daily or weekly newspapers operating in the U.S., 6,851 — nearly 97 percent — have circulations under 50,000, according to Editor & Publisher data. Through open-ended interviews with reporters, editors, newspaper chain executives, as well as industry observers, foundation staff, and other researchers Ali and Radcliffe put together a number of takeaways. I’m going to pull out Continue reading "“No cookie-cutter model”: How local news organizations are surviving today and preparing for the future"

China blocks Facebook. But state-owned media still target English-speaking audiences on the platform

It’s no secret Facebook has been trying to make its way into China. Mark Zuckerberg is painfully learning Chinese. He’s put himself through a jog in Tiananmen Square under an extremely smoggy sky. Facebook has worked on censorship tools with the aim of appealing to the Chinese government. It’s tried a photo-sharing app “Colorful Balloons,” that doesn’t bear its name. It’s looked for office space in Shanghai. To no avail, at least not yet: Facebook’s still officially blocked there. But Chinese media agencies are all over Facebook, and spending big to target English-speaking audiences on the platform the country has blocked its people from using, according to a report from The New York Times. (Testifying before Congress last week, Facebook’s general counsel said “to his knowledge” China hadn’t meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections the way Russia-linked groups had.)
Each quarter China’s government, through its state media agencies, Continue reading "China blocks Facebook. But state-owned media still target English-speaking audiences on the platform"

The Washington Post on Reddit surprises users with its non-promotional, ultra helpful presence

Democracy dies in dankness. That’s not a typo in the Washington Post’s Reddit profile: The Washington Post account is an avid poster of some pretty good memes and gifs. It’s got jokes. It’s also a sharer of everything from polling stories to breaking national security stories to lifestyle columns to geeky features to fact-checks, and a facilitator of, and participant in, AMAs. The official publisher account has been live since April of this year, shortly after the platform began allowing public profiles, and appears to have broken through Reddit’s tough anti-brand, anti-paywall shell. “This is a community that likes to talk and talk back,” Gene Park, the Washington Post’s social media editor, said. Park, himself a long-time Reddit user with a comment history fellow Redditors could look to for proof of authenticity, is the sole voice and moderator for /u/washingtonpost, and has spent significant effort bringing WaPo Continue reading "The Washington Post on Reddit surprises users with its non-promotional, ultra helpful presence"

The scale of misinformation online is global. First Draft is pushing for more collaboration — and more research — as an antidote

We live in a world where a man from North Carolina was inspired to drive to a D.C. pizza shop with an assault-style rifle to investigate what he believed to be a child sex ring that ultimately linked back to Hillary Clinton, based on a conspiracy theory It’s a world where hoaxes that lead to real-life tragedies spread at an exponential pace from person to person on messaging apps like WhatsApp, and the platforms themselves by design can’t know the content of what’s being spread within these closed networks. It’s a world where, since coming into office, the president of the United States has thrown out the term “fake news” hundreds of times to refer to an array of non-Fox News news organizations and reports he doesn’t like. Current news coverage has been overwhelmingly focused on the intentionally-faked-news-articles aspect of the online news and information ecosystem. It’s been focused
Continue reading "The scale of misinformation online is global. First Draft is pushing for more collaboration — and more research — as an antidote"

Facebook, Google, and Twitter faced Congress this week to talk Russian meddling. Here’s what we learned (and didn’t)

The big tech companies are finally opening up — albeit reluctantly — about just how extensively Russia used their tools to influence voters during last year’s presidential election. And, well, yikes. Plenty had trickled out prior to the hearings already — for instance, that in addition to Russian-bought ads, Russia-linked Facebook accounts had helped organize “at least 60 rallies, protests and marches” across the U.S. “publicized or financed by eight Russia-backed Facebook accounts,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Is government regulation imminent? Is Facebook a publisher? How many bots are on Twitter exactly? What about all the mis- and disinformation on these platforms that aren’t paid ads, but can still sow discord? “If anyone tells you they’ve got this all figured out, they’re kidding themselves — and we can’t afford to kid ourselves about what happened last year and continues to happen today,” Senator Richard Burr (Republican, North Carolina) Continue reading "Facebook, Google, and Twitter faced Congress this week to talk Russian meddling. Here’s what we learned (and didn’t)"

Need a super, super secure way to access The New York Times site? Now you can try it via a Tor Browser

If you’re in a situation where reading The New York Times online might get you in trouble, or you’re somewhere where the Times is blocked, or you’re serious about maintaining digital privacy, take note: The Times site is now being offered as a Tor Onion service, Runa Sandvik, director of information security for the Times, announced on Friday. (Here’s the link for the Onion service — https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion — you need to use a Tor browser like Onion Browser to access it.) The Times’s onion site is still being tweaked, and for now won’t allow things like commenting:
The New York Times’ Onion Service is both experimental and under development. This means that certain features, such as logins and comments, Continue reading "Need a super, super secure way to access The New York Times site? Now you can try it via a Tor Browser"