The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s

The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos from its archives — some dating back to the 1800s — with help from a variety of Google technologies. The photos will be used in a series called Past Tense. (First up: a package focusing on how the paper covered California in the 20th century.) “Ultimately, this digitalization will equip Times journalists with useful tools to make it easier to tell even more visual stories,” Monica Drake, Times assistant managing editor, said in a statement. From CNET:
The newspaper’s “morgue” has 5 million to 7 million photos dating back to the 1870s, including prints and contact sheets showing all the shots on photographers’ rolls of film. The Times is using Google’s technology to convert it into something more useful than its current analog state occupying banks of filing cabinets. Specifically, it’s using Google AI tools to
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Newsonomics: Newspapers are shells of their former selves. So who’s going to build what comes next in local?

Neil Chase knows the painful realities of managing and motivating a daily newsroom in 2018. “You can’t ask dedicated, veteran career journalists to completely change the way they work without explaining why,” the Mercury News executive editor said at a panel discussion I moderated at Stanford two weeks ago. (The panel’s fitting title? “The Last Stand for Local News.”) “So I shared some very simple charts with the newsroom, showing the decline in our circulation and staffing over the past decade, and how that trajectory would put us out of business in the mid-2020s if we don’t make some drastic changes. We then started talking about reorienting the newsroom to serve a digital subscription audience, and we’ve made major progress since.” Chase knows that his staff can still churn out great work, as do many of the 23,000 or so remaining journalists in U.S. daily newsrooms. But Continue reading "Newsonomics: Newspapers are shells of their former selves. So who’s going to build what comes next in local?"

Google’s terrible new news feed thinks I’m mainly interested in misogynists and down jackets

What do the following topics have in common: Donald Trump, Kate Middleton, Milo Yiannopoulos, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” Harvard, James Patterson, and cruelty-free down alternatives? Well, they are all the topics of news stories that appeared in my Google app on Tuesday morning, following a Google update that brings a new “Discover” news feed to Google’s app, under the Google doodle, search box, and weather. HOW ARE YOU DOING THIS MORNING? HERE’S MILO YIANNOPOULOS’S EYEBROWS-RAISED FACE! SURE, HE MAY HAVE BEEN BANISHED FROM TWITTER AND FACEBOOK, BUT HE CAN STILL APPEAR DIRECTLY UNDER YOUR SEARCH FOR “SMITTEN KITCHEN MEATBALLS”! As Dieter Bohn pointed out in The Verge, the introduction of a bunch of random news stories to a place where you didn’t used to see them is — annoying at best, these days. It feels less “interesting stories you might have missed” than “garbage ‘news’ you definitely weren’t
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Gab is Back in the Headlines and Off the Web

The social media website Gab has faced sanction and scorn in the days since one of its active users killed 11 members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. Gab had, for the past few years, made itself out as a "free speech" harbor, safe from the intellectual strictures of the mainstream web. That is to say, it attracted — and very rarely rejected — hordes of neo-nazis, anti-PC provocateurs and right-wing trolls.  When Brooke interviewed Gab's then-COO Utsav Sanduja last fall, the company was in the midst of an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, claiming the the tech titan had wielded its monopoly power to silence a competitor. Brooke spoke with Sanduja about that lawsuit — and about his website's frequently deplorable content. 

What happens when Facebook goes down? People read the news

What would the world look like without Facebook? At Chartbeat, we got a glimpse into that on August 3, 2018, when Facebook went down for 45 minutes and traffic patterns across the web changed in an instant. What did people do? According to our data, they went directly to publishers’ mobile apps and sites (as well as to search engines) to get their information fix. This window into consumer behavior reflects broader changes we see taking hold this year around content discovery, particularly on mobile. This is good news for publishers.

Traffic trends reverse

Despite volatility driven by algorithm shifts and intense news cycles, user demand for content (represented by traffic across the web) is quite stable. But the sources of that traffic are anything but static. In fact, we’ve seen a major reversal in the specific sources driving traffic to publisher sites in the past year. Key shifts:

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"

Google isn’t just a search engine — it’s a literal extension of our mind

We are losing our minds to Google. After 20 years, Google’s products have become integrated into our everyday lives, altering the very structure of our cognitive architecture, and our minds have expanded out into cyberspace as a consequence. This is not science fiction, but an implication of what’s known as the “extended mind thesis“, a widely accepted view in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. Make no mistake about it, this is a seismic shift in human psychology, probably the biggest we have ever had to cope with, and one that is occurring with breathtaking rapidity — Google, after all, is just 20 years old, this month. But although this shift has some good consequences, there are some deeply troubling issues we urgently need to address. Much of my research spans issues to do with personal identity, mind, neuroscience, and ethics. And in my view, as we gobble up Google’s
The Conversation
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