The down-ballot got you down?
Keeping up with local news is important. Participating in local politics is important. Bay Area engineer and designer Jimmy Chion
felt these pressures of civic duty, but wrestled with what he felt was a shallowness to his understanding of the city he lived in, and the policies that would define it.
“I remember certain past experiences when I voted. And when voting for president, when I got to the down-ballot stuff, I’d feel frustrated and stupid. I wanted to alleviate that for myself and for my friends,” he said. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, where the national campaign was hostile but major policy changes for California were up for public vote, Chion could feel some of his friends retreating on both levels. So he created Ballot.fyi
, consisting of visually entertaining, detailed explainers of the state propositions up for a vote
Continue reading "This site explains local issues to people who feel guilty they don’t know them well"
Over the weekend, I was chatting on Twitter about last week’s media flare-up, l’affaire Manjoo
. That’s the debate prompted by New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo writing this piece
, headlined: “For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.”
It was only the latest in the overstuffed genre of people recording their retreats from technology and news. They usually end with a gleeful report of the results, tossing aside their Klonopins like a congregant’s crutches at a scam preacher’s Sunday show.
(The Sunday Times even featured another candidate for this particular canon
, Sam Dolnick’s story of a former top Nike executive who, wealthy enough to rely on a distant financial advisor to handle his riches, has moved to Ohio and decided to ignore all news of the outside world. This guy
, basically, but forever
From Manjoo’s piece:
Continue reading "The ❤️ of the matter: Here are too many words about Farhad Manjoo’s Twitter habits (and some cool charts)"
For the news industry, the promise — or perhaps threat — of automation is that technology will be able to handle more of the monotonous reporting, freeing up human reporters to do the enterprising, high-value work.
Reuters, however, sees another path: cybernetic reporters. At NICAR on Friday, Padraic Cassidy
, Reuters’ editor of news production systems, took the wraps off Lynx Insights, a new in-house automation tool designed to augment reporting by surfacing trends, facts, and anomalies in data, which reporters can then use to accelerate the production of their existing stories or spot new ones.
While Reuters has experimented with automated reporting since at least 2015, Cassidy said that the process was not only expensive and time-consuming, but often resulted in articles that were transparently written by a machine. “After looking at those stories, we decided to be sensible about it and made it so that machines can do Continue reading "Reuters’ new automation tool wants to help reporters spot the hidden stories in their data (but won’t take their jobs)"
Is it really only the beginning of March? The news business’ gyrations seem to be moving at warp speed this year, and particularly this week, as two newspaper companies long in the news make new big moves.
As Tronc reckons with the crash of its stock price and oh-so-private Alden Global Capital gets publicly accused of financial irregularities, the plot of who will own America’s newspapers companies just thickens.
Let’s look at the big questions arising out of the Tronc and Alden news, and a few others generated by this remarkable news week.
What’s the sound of a Tronc crashing?
Thursday marked a day of reckoning for Tronc. The company — the last big public newspaper company to report year-end earnings — released
those numbers for 2017. They weren’t good, as I had signaled
in my earlier reporting on the chaos at and subsequent sale of the Los Angeles Times.
Continue reading "Newsonomics: Is Tronc due for a crash? And a few other questions about this busy week in the news business"
Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh; the letter “n,” and Pu Yi, too.
A hodgepodge of text and images have been deleted by Chinese censors as thousands of delegates gather in Beijing for the National People’s Congress this month to officially vote to abolish the two-term limit for Chinese presidents
, paving the way for Xi Jinping to remain in power beyond 2023, and potentially for life.
The reasoning behind censoring posts ranges from obvious to absurd to convoluted. Pooh memes
, because the cartoon bear’s figure, when viewed alongside the trimmer Tigger, resembles a photograph taken of Chinese president Xi Jinping and Barack Obama in California in 2013 (judge for yourself here
). Images of Pu Yi, China’s last emperor
, with a caption referencing the return of Continue reading "What do Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh have in common? They’re both flagged by Chinese censors"
The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup
offers the highlights of what you might have missed.
It’s not bots. It’s us. A paper published on Thursday in Science (it’s the cover story) by MIT’s Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, and Sinan Aral tracks the spread of fake and real news tweets and finds that fake news both reached more people than the truth and spread faster than the truth — BUT there are caveats about the “true” news here: Like, it was mostly news that had been fact-checked by outlets like Snopes and PolitiFact, not some of the legit-crazy real stuff that’s been in the headlines of the nation’s largest papers recently.
The researchers looked at 126,000 Continue reading "Fear, surprise, disgust: Fake news spreads faster than some real news on Twitter"
is proud of the work that has come out of Lab 351, the innovation unit that The Globe and Mail’s launched in 2015. But he’s also looking forward to the day when the division no longer needs to exist.
Closing the doors on Lab 351 is “the absolute end goal,” albeit a longterm one, said Stanleigh, who is co-chair of the unit. But rather than a sign of failure, the move would be a sign of success because it would mean “the culture here would have shifted to the point where the innovation has become part of what we do on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “We wouldn’t need the lab anymore.”
The Globe and Mail has some ways to go before it can make that scenario a reality. The newspaper launched its innovation lab in an effort to reverse-engineer the ethos of Silicon Valley, bringing the Continue reading "With Lab 351, The Globe and Mail is creating both new products and a culture of “bottom-up” innovation"