From Bible study to Google: How some Christian conservatives fact-check the news and end up confirming their existing beliefs

“As much as possible, when I know things are happening, I try to hear it or read it for myself first before reading any stories on it…I mean, they all lie in one way or another.” “It’s important to encourage people to think for themselves, and that’s why we have all these different news outlets. That’s why we have the internet and stuff. People are sick and tired of the same old narrative. These lies have become known. We know that the mainstream media is lying to people.” “To me, ‘fake news’ is, in a nutshell, people pushing a personal bias as the news.” “There’s news that’s false. These facts are made up or it’s not fact-checked or whatever, it’s false news. But I also think there’s a version of ‘fake news’ that’s different. Either news media or social media outlets will amplify Trump or his opinion
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What a 2004 experiment in hyperlocal news can tell us about community voices today

In 2004, a team of Medill School of Journalism grad students tried to save democracy, newspapers, and local communities. The threat? The internet. Our response? A website called GoSkokie for the people of Skokie, Illinois. Yes, we thought we could use the internet to fix what was wrong with it. But with increasing social isolation, rising partisanship, and newspapers’ ongoing woes, it seems that the problems we hoped to solve with our shuttered project have gotten worse, not better. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why, 14 years after the GoSkokie project, Google recently launched an experiment in local, user-generated storytelling: Bulletin. Google suggested that Bulletin will enable people to “be the voice” of their community by contributing “hyperlocal stories,” but it appears to be struggling with getting people to participate during limited pilots in Oakland, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn. Sounds familiar. We used the term Continue reading "What a 2004 experiment in hyperlocal news can tell us about community voices today"

What happens when two companies journalists love to hate are also handing out cash for journalism?

One Wednesday this spring, I wrote about an accelerator aimed at local newsrooms and funded by Facebook. Two days later, I criticized the fact that Facebook’s algorithm changes don’t actually appear to be hurting hyperpartisan publishers. This is a fairly common dynamic at Nieman Lab, where we write about the duopoly’s latest news funding efforts and announcements even as we bemoan their increasing dominance. We’re certainly not alone among news outlets in doing this, but, as Mathew Ingram pointed out this week in Columbia Journalism Review, it’s a weird situation:
These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world. The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model — largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue — has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a Continue reading "What happens when two companies journalists love to hate are also handing out cash for journalism?"

Here’s how blockchain, bots, AI, and Apple News might impact the near-term future of journalism

If you’re interested in Canadian media — and who among us is not — you probably already listen to Canadaland, the flagship show of Jesse Brown’s growing podcast empire, which dives into the nation’s journalism issues. I was happy to appear on the show to talk digital news strategy in 2016, and Jesse just had me back for today’s episode, where — contrary to the doom and gloom that accompanies most discussion of the technology’s impact on the media. Well, I’m not going to say we avoided doom or gloom entirely — but we did get to have a fruitful discussion of some of the more tech-forward ways the industry is changing. In particular: — Will blockchain meaningfully change the fundamental questions about how we journalism gets funded? (I’m skeptical.) — Will AI and bots replace reporters? (Maybe on the fringes, but they’re mainly for scale and speed. Continue reading "Here’s how blockchain, bots, AI, and Apple News might impact the near-term future of journalism"

Google’s news chief Richard Gingras: “We need to rethink journalism at every dimension”

In the shadows of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the public’s trust in news, and the platforms that distribute it, is at an all-time low. As big tech seemingly scrambles to restore users’ confidence in their platforms, Google is introducing new ways to streamline the subscription process for digital news-readers. I sat down last week with Richard Gingras, the longtime vice president of news at Google, to discuss the company’s new Subscribe with Google feature, the open web, data privacy, and the search giant’s role in the future of news. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation. There’s an interesting publication in Bristol, England: The Bristol Cable. They don’t have marketers on staff, they have community organizers on staff and they go out and they arrange town halls and they’re trying to assess the needs and interests of their community, they’re trying to figure out how do Continue reading "Google’s news chief Richard Gingras: “We need to rethink journalism at every dimension”"

Google News gets an update, with more AI-driven curation, more labeling, more reader controls (fingers crossed for no AI flops)

Google announced a shiny new iteration of the Google News app on Tuesday as part of its I/O developer conference (here’s a good collection of all the other announcements from I/O, which runs until Thursday). Google News has started rolling out and should be available to basically everyone by “next week”; the app will replace the existing Google Play Newsstand and News & Weather apps. Here’s Google’s demo of what this looks like on mobile, if you’re not seeing the update yet. Google says it’s analyzing news and information using a “new set of AI techniques” (👀👀👀). Among the features Google is highlighting: — A five-story “For You” briefing, which responds to your reading habits, and includes local sources (“the more you use the app, the better the app gets”). The customized briefing was available in Google Play Newsstand as well, after a November 2016 overhaul of the news reader.
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Saying “I can just Google it” and then actually Googling it are two different things

“If I needed to know something, then somebody would probably knock at my door and tell me.” That’s the sentiment of one participant in a study on how “news avoiders” — infrequent users of conventional news — rely on social media and search engine algorithms to get their information. Benjamin Toff, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, director of research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, just published their findings from the study about three particular folk theories of news consumption — each one useful for news junkies seeking a better sense of how people who aren’t glued to Twitter think about their information intake. The researchers interviewed 43 people in the U.K. (over half come from working-class backgrounds, and 39 percent of the sample have a bachelor’s degree) to get a sense of their perceptions of the Continue reading "Saying “I can just Google it” and then actually Googling it are two different things"