“Yelling at her family in public, in your headphones”: Reality TV comes to podcasts

All this comes on top of the executive-level departure that was announced last month in tandem with the news that Panoply was laying off its editorial team: Jacob Weisberg, chairman of the Slate Group, was leaving to form a new audio company with Malcolm Gladwell, taking the audience-driving Revisionist History with them. That these leadership exits are clustered is certainly eyebrow-raising, but any overtly glum narrative should be checked against the state of site’s actual podcast portfolio. And on that front, things seem to be quite good. Consider that Slate has just wrapped up a very successful second season of its narrative documentary podcast, Slow Burn. Not only would I argue that it’s the best nonfiction narrative podcast of the year so far — yes, that includes Serial, In The Dark, and Caliphate, and yes, I’m aware it’s almost certainly recency bias — the sophomore season put up significant numbers. Continue reading "“Yelling at her family in public, in your headphones”: Reality TV comes to podcasts"

Two-thirds of Americans have heard of bots, but many fewer think they can recognize them on social media

Bots don’t actually write Olive Garden commercials, folks — at least not yet. But they can get trapped in an infinite loop of screaming and self-care. These two Twitter-famous bot moments, just a week apart earlier this year, show how gullible humans can be about what bots are and how they’re used. (But they did show some pretty strong feelings about Olive Garden.) Two-thirds of Americans have heard of social media bots. (Good!) Eighty percent of
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Will Vox’s new section on effective altruism…well, do any good?

Earlier this year, Vox Media closed the closet on Racked, folding the standalone site into Vox.com itself and introducing a condensed version called The Goods as its own section. Now, a new kind of good is coming to Vox.com. And it’s getting a philanthropic boost. Future Perfect, a section led by longtime Vox-er/senior correspondent Dylan Matthews and Vox senior policy editor Elbert Ventura, starts explaining effective altruism today. The concept is about as straightforward as the words themselves: doing good in a way that makes the most good (and doesn’t just feel good). Got it? Good. “It came out of a sense that there were some really important topics with impacts on human beings that didn’t get as much coverage in traditional journalism sections and pieces,” Matthews said. “Animal welfare is something that felt like it got treated a bit like what animal rights Continue reading "Will Vox’s new section on effective altruism…well, do any good?"

Chasing leads and herding cats: How journalism’s latest job title — partner manager — works in ProPublica’s newsroom

In this ever-changing industry, new roles are emerging that redefine how we do journalism: audience engagement director, social newsgathering reporter, Snapchat video producer. At ProPublica, I’ve been part of developing a new role for our newsroom. My title is partner manager, and I lead a large-scale collaboration: Documenting Hate, an investigative project to track and report on hate crimes and bias incidents. ProPublica regularly collects large amounts of information that we can’t process by ourselves, including documents gathered in our reporting, tips solicited by our engagement journalists, and data published in our news applications. Since the beginning, we’ve seen collaboration as a key way to make sure that all of this reporting material can be used to fulfill our mission: to make an impact in the real world. Collaboration has been a fundamental part of ProPublica’s journalism model. We make our stories available to republish for free through Continue reading "Chasing leads and herding cats: How journalism’s latest job title — partner manager — works in ProPublica’s newsroom"

What have tech companies done wrong with fake news? Google (yep) lists the ways

“Warning! This story describes a misrepresentation of women.” NewsMavens, a news source curated entirely by women at European news organizations, has launched #FemFacts, a fact-checking initiative “dedicated to tracking and debunking damaging misrepresentations of women in European news media.” “We’re not just going to track false news, but also try to have a more nuanced approach to finding stuff like manipulated presentation of facts: misinformation that’s not false, but skewed,” Tijana Cvjetićanin told Poynter’s Daniel Funke. Their first fact-checks are here. Will California’s media literacy law for schools backfire? At the end of September, California passed a bill (SB 830) that “encourages” media literacy education in public schools by requiring “the state Department of Education’s website to list resources and instructional materials on media literacy, including professional development programs for teachers.” But Sam Wineburg, who’s done some great research on how bad people Continue reading "What have tech companies done wrong with fake news? Google (yep) lists the ways"

Trump’s USA Today op-ed demonstrates why it’s time to unbundle news and opinion content

A friend who works at a major tech platform recently posed an interesting riddle to me. Disinformation peddlers were setting up Potemkin local news sites which republished a mix of valid, truthful wire stories and hyperpartisan propaganda. How should the platform differentiate between these bait-and-switch efforts and the real journalistic outfits — say, The New York Times — that ought to receive a boost in ranking results? This is a harder question than it appears. After all (and I say this as a avid New York Times power reader), the Times also publishes a mix of hard-nosed journalism and partisan messaging, framed as opinion. Here are some articles that have run on the NYT recently: “Liberals, This is War,” “Three Lessons for Winning in November and Beyond,” and “Conservatives Are Wrong To Gloat About Kavanaugh.” I happen to agree with many of the sentiments in all three — but Continue reading "Trump’s USA Today op-ed demonstrates why it’s time to unbundle news and opinion content"

“The smart phone screen is the only screen in some communities”: Local news’ digital adaptation

The Coastal Courier is a weekly community newspaper in Georgia with an office on Main Street — and a VR channel. “Are they adequately meeting the information needs with their technology?” Jesse Holcomb wondered. “Are they carving out a space on social platforms or avoiding them altogether?” Holcomb, a Calvin College professor and former Pew researcher, highlighted the Coastal Courier’s digital adaptation — not necessarily innovation — at an event at Columbia Journalism’s Tow Center Wednesday evening. He conducted research to answer those very questions more broadly in the journalism industry, finding that one in ten local news outlets don’t even have their own website, among other tidbits we summarized here. New in this talk: Holcomb shared the starting-a-local-news-outlet to-do list of Brian Boyer, head of product at digital local news chain Spirited Media: A website, a subscriber box, and an email newsletter. Then, “start publishing
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