Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news

Good things can happen when a crowd goes to work on trying to figure out a problem in journalism. At the same time, completely crowdsourced news investigations can go bad without oversight — as when, for example, a group of Redditors falsely accused someone of being the Boston Marathon bomber. An entirely crowdsourced investigation with nobody to oversee it or pay for it will probably go nowhere. At the same time, trust in the media is at low and fact checking efforts have become entwined with partisan politics. So what would happen if you combined professional journalism with fact checking by the people? On Monday evening, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune, an independent site (not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation) “that brings journalists and a community 
of volunteers together” in a combination that Wales hopes will combat fake news online — initially in English, then in Continue reading "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news"

What’s holding back virtual reality news? Slow tech adoption, monetization, and yes, dull content

For news organizations, the promise of VR has been marred by a handful of challenges that have so far made it difficult to justify wholesale investment in the technology. That’s clear from a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism that takes an in-depth look at the state of VR news in 2017. The conclusion: despite some earnest early efforts among news organizations, widespread adoption of the technology among consumers is still years away. “VR has emerged from its early experimentation phase and is now bedding down in news organizations as they address the challenges of content and user experience,” writes Zillah Watson, the report’s author, who has also headed up BBC’s own VR efforts. “But it is still some years from what it could become — in the same way that, ten years ago, no one could have foreseen the role today of social Continue reading "What’s holding back virtual reality news? Slow tech adoption, monetization, and yes, dull content"

The New York Times brings its (even briefer) morning briefings to Snapchat Discover

The New York Times, which started publishing on Snapchat Discover on Monday after a couple of years of sending out updates through the regular app, sees a couple of audiences for the new product. One is Snapchat’s native audience. The other is the olds who, like me, might have spent several minutes Monday morning trying to figure out how to fill out the Times’ mini crossword on Snapchat Discover: For them, there is a Times Insider explainer to how to find the Times on Snapchat Discover, how to tap through its offerings, and how to fill out the crossword. For these people, there are even video how-tos. The explainer post’s slug is don't-worry-you're-not-the-last-person-on-snapchat. The Times is Continue reading "The New York Times brings its (even briefer) morning briefings to Snapchat Discover"

With Open Notebook, Hearken wants to help news orgs do more of their reporting in public

David Fahrenthold never did find much evidence of Donald Trump’s charitable efforts, but he got a Pulitzer Prize for his trouble. Fahrenthold’s reporting, which he tracked via pen and paper and which relied on input from readers, “created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities,” according to the Pulitzer Prize board. Hearken thinks that that model of transparency in reporting is one that more news organizations should emulate. The company is testing Open Notebook, a new feature designed to give news organizations a way to do their reporting in public, giving readers a chance to follow along and potentially contribute. Julia Haslanger, an engagement consultant at Hearken, said that the idea, inspired by the updates that Kickstarter projects send their backers, is a cross between “a mini-newsletter, a live blog, and a place to store Continue reading "With Open Notebook, Hearken wants to help news orgs do more of their reporting in public"

Jeff Israely: What comes next in the Uberization of the news business?

When we launched Worldcrunch in 2011, Uber the company was popping up in my Twitter feed, but I hadn’t yet figured out what the concept was. Back then, for those of us looking for new ways to cover the world, there were two widely touted innovations that were going to change everything: content farms and crowdsourcing. You remember? The former was the bottom-feeding mass production of SEO-scamming how-to articles and clickbait posts by poorly paid contract writers; the latter was a supposedly more noble formula whereby readers themselves would provide some of the free labor that might eventually make professional reporters and editors obsolete. The content farms would soon be undermined by Google wising up to the ruse and altering its search algorithms. The vision of the crowd supplanting the pros, meanwhile, was bound to fall far short, even if it proved to be on the vanguard of a broader Continue reading "Jeff Israely: What comes next in the Uberization of the news business?"

Stat is publishing a print section in Sunday’s Boston Globe — and it might be coming to a paper near you

Last month, Stat, the health and life science news site, published a story about insect detectives: entomologists who encounter people who falsely believe that their homes or bodies are infested by bugs. The story received a fair amount of attention when it was originally published online, but this Sunday a whole new audience will be exposed to the story by Stat reporter Eric Boodman. Boodman’s piece is the cover story for Sunday Stat, a new print product Stat is launching in partnership with The Boston Globe. The Globe and Stat are both owned by John W. Henry, and
Continue reading "Stat is publishing a print section in Sunday’s Boston Globe — and it might be coming to a paper near you"

A new database of fake news sites details how much fakery has spread from Trump v. Clinton to local news

“The reasons aren’t always apparent.” PolitiFact, one of Facebook’s partners in its hoax-combatting program, published a list of 156 “websites where we’ve found deliberately false or fake stories” since beginning the Facebook partnership. The sites are divided into four categories: “Parody or joke sites,” which contain some disclaimer somewhere that they are meant to be satire even if there’s nothing particularly funny about them; “news imposter sites” (“these sites attempt to trick readers into thinking they are newspapers or radio or television stations,” like CNNews3.com, which uses a logo similar to CNN’s); “fake news sites” (“most of these sites join services like Content.ad or RevContent.com that allow them to post a collection of provocative ads to make money off clicks”); and “sites that contain some fake news.” PolitiFact attempted to identify where each site was registered, which was often “exasperatingly difficult” because many of Continue reading "A new database of fake news sites details how much fakery has spread from Trump v. Clinton to local news"