How The Wall Street Journal is preparing its journalists to detect deepfakes

Artificial intelligence is fueling the next phase of misinformation. The new type of synthetic media known as deepfakes poses major challenges for newsrooms when it comes to verification. This content is indeed difficult to track: Can you tell which of the images below is a fake? (Check the bottom of this story for the answer.) We at The Wall Street Journal are taking this threat seriously and have launched an internal deepfakes task force led by the Ethics & Standards and the Research & Development teams. This group, the WSJ Media Forensics Committee, is comprised of video, photo, visuals, research, platform, and news editors who have been trained in deepfake detection. Beyond this core effort, we’re hosting training seminars with reporters, developing newsroom guides, and collaborating with academic institutions such as Cornell Tech to identify ways technology can be used to combat this problem. “Raising awareness in the newsroom
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Need a local reporter in [state] with [expertise]? This directory wants to blow away parachute journalism

Amazon may have gone with the most predictable of picks for HQ2, but that doesn’t give media organizations an out for hunkering down in the country’s elite metropolises. This directory of local reporters who actually know their communities wants to take away excuses for parachute journalism a little more firmly. Shoeleather, launched this week by freelance journalist, Kentucky native, and New Orleans resident Sarah Baird, currently lists around 330 freelance journalists. Need someone in New Mexico or Missouri to report on the community’s response to a Trump rally or a climate change effect? The list can be sorted by location, speciality (food criticism, politics, environment, etc.), and identification (race, person living with a disability, LGBTQIA, etc.).

Consumers love smart speakers. They don’t love news on smart speakers. (At least not yet.)

Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are rapidly gaining in popularity, but use of news on the devices is lagging, according to a report released Wednesday night by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Use of the devices for music and weather is still far ahead of news use. And among consumers’ complaints about news briefings: They’re too long. Luckily, there’s time for news publishers to catch up, finds Nic Newman, a senior research associate at RISJ, who did his research via in-home interviews and focus groups, online surveys, and publisher interviews. (He also tapped Amazon, Apple, and Google for whatever data they were willing to share — which, unsurprisingly, wasn’t a lot; none of the companies would share data on how many devices they’ve sold or discuss trends in how news is consumed on them.) Smart speakers are still devices for early adopters:
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A bot now tells Financial Times reporters if they’re only quoting men

At The Guardian, Jim Waterson has the story:
The Financial Times is automatically warning its journalists if their articles quote too many men, in an attempt to force writers to look for expert women to include in their pieces. The media organisation found that only 21% of people quoted in the FT were women, prompting the development of a bot that uses pronouns and analysis of first names to determine whether a source is male or a female. Section editors will then be alerted if they are not doing enough to feature women in their stories.
The FT, long stuffed full with the male voice of finance, has made a number of recent efforts to increase its representation of and interest to women, as our Laura Hazard Owen has detailed in a couple of stories earlier this year. In April, she noted the creation of a “new newsletter aimed Continue reading "A bot now tells Financial Times reporters if they’re only quoting men"

Newsonomics: Can The Correspondent “unbreak news” in the United States?

How zen is a non-breaking news notification? We may find out in 2019. Today, the ambitious, contrarian founders of Dutch phenomenon De Correspondent launch a $2.5 million funding campaign to fund the launch of a sibling publication, The Correspondent, in the U.S. That initiative has been gestating for almost two years, ever since editor Rob Wijnberg and CEO Ernst-Jan Pfauth first set their sights on an American market 20 times the size of their native Netherlands. “The slogan we use for The Correspondent in the United States is going to be ‘Unbreaking news,'” Wijnberg told me last week. “That kind of summarizes it. We’re not ‘breaking news,’ and we don’t want to be breaking news, because it’s part of making us cynical and divided and less informed about the world. Let’s try something different.” If we could all read Dutch, we’d see that “unbreaking news” Continue reading "Newsonomics: Can The Correspondent “unbreak news” in the United States?"

25 newsrooms have attempted to bridge divisions — in person. Here’s what they’ve learned

A bunch of strangers walk into a room, and journalists try to get them to get to know — or at least not hate — each other. That’s not a joke; it’s the goal of 25 news organizations’ engagement initiatives studied by the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. The 2016 (and 2018) elections effed up a lot of people and their trust in media, as we all know, and news organizations have been experimenting with ways to improve trust face-to-face and across wrenching divisions. But…what comes out of those events besides a lot of extroversion and handshake germs? How many gatherings are needed to finally start whittling away at stereotypes? Is convening community members with drastically different views a service or a spectacle used for reporting? Can these meetings possibly change people’s perceptions of “the media” — and each other? Looking Continue reading "25 newsrooms have attempted to bridge divisions — in person. Here’s what they’ve learned"

So some people will pay for a subscription to a news site. How about two? Three?

The path forward for premium media is seemingly clear: Put up a paywall. Digital advertising is a duopoly-dominated mess; any print or broadcast cross-subsidy you might have is declining at one speed or another. Your loyal core digital readers may be only a tiny fraction of that big “monthly uniques” number you put into press releases — but some of them are willing to pay for what you do. Reader revenue is relatively reliable, month to month or year to year, and it’s at the center of media company plans for 2019 and beyond. But how many paywalls will people really pay to click past? It’s worked for The New York Times; it’s worked for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. But does it work for local newspapers? Metro dailies? Weekly or monthly magazines? Digital native sites? The data thus far isn’t super encouraging, and that’s the world
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