Venture philanthropy for local news might not be as scary as it sounds

An incomplete list of attempts to finance local news: Swallow that bile in your throat — at least for the last item. Local news is swimming in quite the pickle juice, as we’ve documented here before. Two of the brains behind a couple nonprofit, mission-driven, local-centric news organizations think venture philanthropy could help similar outlets get closer to the bullseye of sustainable local news as a public good.

Are billionaires trying to swipe local news again? (Nope.)

The concept is called the American Journalism Project, Continue reading "Venture philanthropy for local news might not be as scary as it sounds"

$20 million is heading toward local news from the Lenfest Institute and Knight Foundation

Boom, baby: After initially joining forces to boost Table Stakes — their project to boost the nation’s metro newspapers — the Knight Foundation and the Lenfest Institute are each putting $10 million into a joint fund targeted at local news. (Yes, $20 million total, with opportunity for more to come.) Table Stakes was launched in 2015 by Knight and Temple University, bringing leaders from four metropolitan newspapers in the U.S. together to gameplan for their digital transition. Lenfest was founded in 2016 and began supporting the newly rebranded Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative in February 2017, expanding to 12 newsrooms. Now, the new collaboration will center around three pillars, explained Lenfest executive director Jim Friedlich and Knight’s vice president of journalism Jennifer Preston:

Here’s what Americans say it will take to rebuild their trust in the media

Figuring out just how to rebuild Americans’ trust in media is proving to be a tricky question. The Knight Foundation and Gallup shared their latest findings on mixing the perfect potion, after previously testing whether articles featuring their sources or community-rated trust metrics would improve readers’ trust in media organizations. Spoiler alerts: Nope and nope. (Disclosure: Knight has provided funding to Nieman Lab in the past.) This time around, Knight/Gallup researchers did this thing where they just asked (and also tested) their survey respondents what helps increase or decrease their trust in news organizations. In addition to deeper questions, respondents were able to select from 35 different factors for determining trust in organizations, such as “The type of media it uses — newspaper, TV news, radio or website” and “Its commitment to accuracy — not reporting stories before it verifies all the facts and being willing to correct mistakes
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What approaches are in play for fighting misinformation? Let us count the ways

In March 2017, the Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the Rita Allen Foundation hosted a prototype open call for ideas on countering misinformation, which attracted 830 submissions. As described by the Democracy Fund’s Joshua Stearns, “These open calls are a way for foundations to catalyze energy and surface new ideas, bringing new people and sectors together to tackle the complex challenges related to misinformation.” From the 830 applicants, these foundations awarded 20 projects a total of $1 million. As Stearns notes, this is just one of several new efforts by funder confront the problem of misinformation, including the News Integrity Initiative and the Knight Foundation’s commission on “Trust, Media and Democracy.” Since the call launch, the number of such efforts has continued to grow, including new ones involving social media platforms directly. A philanthropy-funded research collaborative with Facebook recently announced its first request for proposals from researchers. Continue reading "What approaches are in play for fighting misinformation? Let us count the ways"

Major internet companies might want to push their own point of view, but can they also take care of misinformation please and thank you

So we all heard Facebook’s view on the role that major companies play in deciding who gets what news. (Really, no need to say it twice.) But what does your average Mark or Campbell think? According to a new survey by the Knight Foundation and Gallup, American adults feel negatively about major Internet companies tailoring information to them individually, acting as content arbitrators that enhances bias, and not being transparent about their methods. (Note: Knight has provided support to Nieman Lab in the past.) Those major internet companies in this context are Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter (surprise). Of the 1,203 U.S. adults interviewed earlier this summer, most got their news from Google (53 percent daily/a few times a week) or Facebook (51 percent), with only 23 percent coming from Yahoo and 19 percent from Twitter. The survey’s authors kindly broke out the percentages we’ll highlight
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Continue reading "Major internet companies might want to push their own point of view, but can they also take care of misinformation please and thank you"

Sorry to burst the bubble, but showing readers community-rated trust metrics doesn’t seem to help them trust the media more

It takes a village for some things, but it doesn’t necessarily take a village-wide rating of a news article to increase a reader’s trust in the same piece. Using the same setup as a previous study that found the identification of the news organization in a link doesn’t increase trust either, researchers with Gallup and the Knight Foundation tested how users responded to average trust ratings for various news outlets. Those ratings were determined by a) the user personally, b) the community of users in the study, c) “people like you” based on demographics, and/or d) any two of the above. And of course, a control group. (Disclosure: Nieman Lab has received funding from Knight in the past.) News flash: It didn’t help. “Opinion-based metrics that convey the general impressions of the public seem to drive confidence downward,” the researchers concluded. But they also noted “it seems that
Continue reading "Sorry to burst the bubble, but showing readers community-rated trust metrics doesn’t seem to help them trust the media more"

When a link to a news story comes shows the source of the story, some people end up trusting it less

People don’t always remember the precise source of their news. Pew Research found in a recent study that Americans could come up with a publisher behind a news story they’d clicked on only 56 percent of the time. (And that’s assuming they were remembering the source correctly, which the study had no way to check.) But people actually seem to trust news articles they click into less when the stories come labeled with the news outlet that published it. That’s especially true with certain outlets, including Vox, Fox News, and Breitbart News. (As my colleague Laura Hazard Owen asked in her coverage of a previous Knight study analyzing people’s perceptions of bias, do people know what Vox does? Are they confusing it with Fox? Are they familiar with Breitbart News?) That’s the finding from more than 3,000 U.S. adults who looked at and rated the trustworthiness (on
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