Facebook and Google are giving more lip service (and boot camps) to local news


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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On the heels of Facebook’s first local news conference this week, Google announced a new subscription boot camp for eight local publishers in the U.S. and Canada. The Local Media Association is partnering with the Google News Initiative to carry out the six-month program, bringing in consultants to evaluate and revamp their subscription process. “Those chosen must be dedicated to figuring out a subscriptions strategy with buy-in and direct involvement from the highest executives (including the CEO) in their respective companies. They’ll come with open minds, a willingness to experiment and a community spirit built around sharing what they learn along the way. We’re looking to help these eight publishers make significant leaps forward with their subscription businesses, the kinds of leaps that can transform these organizations,” LMA president Nancy Lane wrote in Google’s blog post about the effort. It sounds similar to Facebook’s subscription accelerator for local news Continue reading "Facebook and Google are giving more lip service (and boot camps) to local news"

Facebook and Google are giving more lip service (and boot camps) to local news


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




On the heels of Facebook’s first local news conference this week, Google announced a new subscription boot camp for eight local publishers in the U.S. and Canada. The Local Media Association is partnering with the Google News Initiative to carry out the six-month program, bringing in consultants to evaluate and revamp their subscription process. “Those chosen must be dedicated to figuring out a subscriptions strategy with buy-in and direct involvement from the highest executives (including the CEO) in their respective companies. They’ll come with open minds, a willingness to experiment and a community spirit built around sharing what they learn along the way. We’re looking to help these eight publishers make significant leaps forward with their subscription businesses, the kinds of leaps that can transform these organizations,” LMA president Nancy Lane wrote in Google’s blog post about the effort. It sounds similar to Facebook’s subscription accelerator for local news Continue reading "Facebook and Google are giving more lip service (and boot camps) to local news"

The New York Times has released an open-source tool to let you manage all your internal knowledge more easily


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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The means for creating (and maintaining) a documentation site — or a style guide, or a knowledge base, or any other set of information frequently used as a reference — have shifted back and forth over time. Blogging software! Wikis! Flat files! Database-driven! Google Docs! GitHub Pages! Dropbox Paper! Notion! The number of options — and the degree to which their selection sometimes come down to one person’s aesthetic choice or workflow preference — has left the job of keeping updated documentation a bit of a mess. Into this muddle steps The New York Times, which faced the same set of questions and built an internal tool called Library to address them. And now they’re releasing it as open source. Here are senior software engineer Isaac White and former summer interns Andrew Fischer and Suzanne Wang:
The New York Times is no different. Several years ago, it was common Continue reading "The New York Times has released an open-source tool to let you manage all your internal knowledge more easily"

“The widest shoulders carry the heaviest load”: A Danish socialist outlet charges membership fees based on personal income


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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A recently launched news outlet in Denmark is taking an approach Fox News might be intimidated by: an explicitly socialist membership scale.
According to [Solidaritet.dk] chief editor Morten Hammeken, the goal is to create a media that is independent of party interests, but which has a clear socialist agenda: “Our starting point is socialism and class struggle, and our opponent is the minority who sits on the vast majority of the values ​​in society and who also dominates the vast majority of the media,” says Morten Hammeken in a press release.
That’s Google Translate from another Danish site, so apologies if there are some misinterpretations. (Dag = day, maned = month — that chart outlines how much you should expect to pay based on your income.) Solidaritet explains “in Solidarity we mean that the widest shoulders carry the heaviest load. Therefore, our membership income Continue reading "“The widest shoulders carry the heaviest load”: A Danish socialist outlet charges membership fees based on personal income"

Here’s how publishers around the world are using automated news


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Reports about the use of automated news in journalism usually tend to include some kind of “relax-your-job-isn’t-being-taken-by-a-machine” disclaimer, and a report from WAN-IFRA out this week is no exception. The report focuses on “the automated generation of news texts based on structured data.” The point of this type of automated content is to save journalists from repetitive tasks, “while increasing output volume.” Machines are definitely not replacing journalists, the report’s authors say, so you can stop worrying about that. The biggest question is more mundane: “Whether the [news automation] system should be bought from a service provider or created and modified in-house.” The report looks at five publishers from around the world that are using automated reporting. The Washington Post, for instance, has Heliograf. Originally created for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Heliograf now encompasses other areas with a lot of data, “such as election results, crime, real Continue reading "Here’s how publishers around the world are using automated news"

WhatsApp fact-checking, deepfake detection, and five other AI/news projects get funding


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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How will artificial intelligence change society? How should journalists cover it? And how can AI actually be helpful to newsrooms and reporters? Seven organizations are getting a combined $750,000 in funding to help answer these questions, the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, a joint project of the MIT Media Lab and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, announced Tuesday. These are the projects receiving funding:
Project: Sidekick
Organization: MuckRock Foundation
Award: $150,000 Newsrooms and researchers are winning access to larger and larger document sets, but getting them is just the start. Understanding what is in those PDFs can be just as challenging, requiring hours of sifting and data entry. Sidekick will offer accessible and intuitive crowdsourcing and machine learning tools to help newsrooms and other groups automate turning documents into data, helping quickly analyze tens of thousands of pages while highlighting sections that might go overlooked. Project: Reporting from the Continue reading "WhatsApp fact-checking, deepfake detection, and five other AI/news projects get funding"

Five recommendations (and many examples) for how to nurture engagement in European newsrooms


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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The Engaged Journalism Accelerator, boosting a dozen European media organizations’ engagement strategies, is working to change that continent’s reporting culture and compiled some recommendations for (and solid examples of) news outlets putting engagement at their core. The accelerator’s report, compiled by Madalina Ciobanu, Kathryn Geels, and Ben Whitelaw, pulls together five recommendations from the convening of 30 engaged journalism practitioners (and includes their detailed process of developing the summit). It also highlights specific examples of European newsrooms making progress with engagement that are worthwhile to consider elsewhere. Warning: These findings are explicitly for people who already buy into the importance of engagement journalism, the process of involving the community/audience in the reporting process from ideation to distribution. But hey, if you’re unfamiliar or undecided, here’s an explainer, some more recent highlights, and a database of 100 European outlets already putting engagement into action. Continue reading "Five recommendations (and many examples) for how to nurture engagement in European newsrooms"

With muddily funded sites emerging in swing states, the race is on to rebuild transparent local news


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Remember the Denver Guardian, that fake news site di tutti fake news sites? Now you have more examples to think of when talking about fraudulent local news sites that want to mess with swing state politics. Meet The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun, all part of a new network from Tea Party-connected conservative activists, a Snopes investigation found. The Denver Guardian was a fake local news site that, days before the 2016 election, had its “FBI AGENT SUSPECTED IN HILLARY EMAIL LEAKS FOUND DEAD IN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE” headline blasted across Facebook, with over half a million shares. (Debunk by the Denver Post, actual local news site, here.) The site was spearheaded by a suburban dad who allegedly wanted to point out how easily right-wing readers can be hooked — and targeting local news, the most trusted news source, helped, he told NPR:
Continue reading "With muddily funded sites emerging in swing states, the race is on to rebuild transparent local news"

We’re hiring: Come work for Nieman Lab as a staff writer


This post is by Joshua Benton from Nieman Lab


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We have an opening for a staff writer here at Nieman Lab. If you’re interested, apply over here! The job’s pretty easy to describe: You see all the stories on this website? The ones about journalism innovation — changes in how news gets reported, produced, distributed, discovered, consumed, and paid for? This job is about coming up with, reporting out, and writing those stories. There are some other duties, of course, like helping run our social media presence, but it’s a reporting and writing job at its core. If you’ve ever thought I’d be good at writing Nieman Lab stories, I’d strongly encourage you to apply. This person will join our little Harvard newsroom. She or he will also be joining the larger Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, which does a lot of exciting things for journalism and for journalists. Best known are the Nieman Fellowships, Continue reading "We’re hiring: Come work for Nieman Lab as a staff writer"

“I no longer believe 9/11 was a terrorist attack”: Working as a Facebook content moderator messes with people’s minds


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Casey Newton’s unprecedented investigation into the contract workers who moderate content on Facebook in America is full with horrifying, dystopian tidbits. Horrifying like: Workers are getting PTSD from repeatedly watching videos of murders in which the victims cry for their mothers as they die. The Verge has summarized some of Newton’s findings in a TL;DR sidebar (for instance, “Employees can be fired after making just a handful of errors a week, and those who remain live in fear of former colleagues returning to seek vengeance. One man we spoke with started bringing a gun to work to protect himself”). But here I’ll focus on just one aspect: the fact that some of these content moderators are becoming radicalized themselves, beginning to believe the conspiracy theories that they are paid to flag. From the piece:
The moderators told me it’s a place where the conspiracy videos and memes that they Continue reading "“I no longer believe 9/11 was a terrorist attack”: Working as a Facebook content moderator messes with people’s minds"

“Rebuilding a local news ecosystem”: Knight pledges $300 million to local news, free speech, and media literacy organizations


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will provide a whopping $300 million over five years to organizations including the American Journalism Project, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and and ProPublica, the foundation announced Tuesday. The funding announcement follows the Knight Commission’s release earlier this month of a report outlining its recommendations for 21st-century journalism. “We’re not funding one-offs,” Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president, said in a statement. “We’re rebuilding a local news ecosystem, reliable and sustainable, and we’re doing it in a way that anyone who cares can participate.” The foundation called on “other funders and individuals across sectors” to participate as well. (Disclosure: Nieman Lab has received Knight funding in the past.) The bulk of the funding is going to “national organizations working in partnership at the local level”:
American Journalism Project ($20 million): To support the American Journalism Project, a Continue reading "“Rebuilding a local news ecosystem”: Knight pledges $300 million to local news, free speech, and media literacy organizations"

More than 240,000 people donated to nonprofit newsrooms via NewsMatch in 2018 (50,000 for the first time)


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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In journalism’s long and treacherous move away from ad dependency, the growing nonprofit news sector is trying to build a culture of philanthropy. At one level, that involves convincing foundations to send grants their way. But probably more important for the long term is building the habit of giving to news in a large number of individuals. So it’s heartening to hear that more than 240,000 people donated to 154 nonprofit newsrooms in 2018’s last two months as part of the NewsMatch program. Geared as a national grassroots campaign to stir up individual support — backed with checks from a coalition of journalism-friendly and local foundations and, new this year, Facebook — NewsMatch has brought $14.8 million over the past three years to nonprofit newsrooms since its launch in 2016. This year’s drive brought in more than half of that three-year total: a grand total of $7.6 million,
Continue reading "More than 240,000 people donated to nonprofit newsrooms via NewsMatch in 2018 (50,000 for the first time)"

Patch is launching paid, “ad-lite” memberships


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A profile of hyperlocal news site Patch pops up once a year or so, and here’s the latest one, from Recode’s Peter Kafka. A few tidbits: — Patch is profitable (and has been for a few years — the company also said it was profitable in early 2016 and in mid-2017). — It now consists of 1,200 sites (up from around 900 three years ago) that pull in more than $20 million in ad revenue. While it started out focusing primarily on “more affluent” communities, Kafka notes that the range of places with Patch sites has grown:
Under [investment firm Hale Global], Patch launched a Joliet [Illinois] site and found success: [editor-in-chief Dennis Robaugh] says the site, staffed by a writer who grew up there, generates 2.5 million page views a month for its stories and has roughly a third of the town signed up for Continue reading "Patch is launching paid, “ad-lite” memberships"

Transparency, diversity, philanthropy: The Knight Commission’s final recommendations for 21st-century journalism


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Radical transparency, committed philanthropy, disinformation-debunking technology, organizational diversity — and a year of service: There are some of the recommendations from the 27-member Knight Commission on Trust, Media, and Democracy, highlighting examples of successful experiments in a 200-plus page report a year and a half in the making. “We, as individual citizens of a great nation, need to take measures now, not next year, to maintain the democracy that has developed over nearly two and a half centuries,” the authors write. “This report is only a beginning point — a compass, not a map.” If you’re not a regular Nieman Lab reader or otherwise familiar with how the decline in institutional trust involved the downfall of the journalism industry and a healthy democracy under siege, you can read the full report and learn about the backstory. (There are enlightening charts!) Alongside the creation of the commission, Knight funded Continue reading "Transparency, diversity, philanthropy: The Knight Commission’s final recommendations for 21st-century journalism"

“It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook”


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Happy anniversary, Facebook: Snopes quit your fact-checking partnership. Poynter’s Daniel Funke reported Friday that Snopes has pulled out of the third-party debunking squad Facebook enlisted in 2016. The Associated Press is not currently fact-checking for it either (but apparently hasn’t fully quit), TechCrunch reported. Snopes, the 25-year-old fact-checking site, said Facebook’s system was too manual — not automated enough — for the 16-person organization. “With a manual system and a closed system — it’s impossible to keep on top of that stuff,” Snopes’ VP of operations Vinny Green told Poynter. “It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook. At some point, we need to put our foot down and say, ‘No. You need to build an API.'” (Snopes has its own leadership troubles, which it counts as another Continue reading "“It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook”"

The layoffs aren’t over yet, and this time they’re at Vice


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Another sign things are really dire: Vice is trimming 10 percent of its workforce, around 250 people, the Hollywood Reporter first reported. It’s a smaller percentage of the workforce than the 15 percent BuzzFeed started cutting last week, but each company let go more than 200 employees. As of November, Vice had reportedly been on track to bring in between $600 million and $650 million in revenue in 2018 (double BuzzFeed’s amount), but THR says investors are becoming “antsy for the company to find a buyer.” (BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti has floated a merger between the handful of digital media contemporaries, but that consolidation would likely ultimately result in more layoffs.) Nancy Dubuc, who took over as CEO from founder Shane Smith in May, attributed the cuts to a shifting focus
🙃
Continue reading "The layoffs aren’t over yet, and this time they’re at Vice"

NewsGuard changed its mind about The Daily Mail’s quality: It’s green now, not red


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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What do the websites of the Daily Mail, RT, and Sputnik no longer have in common? A red (bad) rating from NewsGuard, the startup aiming to filter the internet with trustworthy rankings through a browser extension. Now The Daily Mail’s rating will show as green on a shield when you visit the website with the NewsGuard extension installed — “this website generally maintains basic standards of accuracy and accountability” — just like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Fox News. NewsGuard, the Steve Brill/Gordon Crovitz startup, launched under a year ago with a stoplight system as bumpers for what news sites users should trust and how news sites could be more transparent/media-literacy-friendly. But the 35-member team now says it was wrong about Mail Online, the Daily Mail’s website, the most read news site in the U.K., according to PressGazette:
Continue reading "NewsGuard changed its mind about The Daily Mail’s quality: It’s green now, not red"

Hot potato, hot potato: Alden Global Capital now reportedly wants to offload Digital First Media on Gannett


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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After attempting a hostile takeover of Gannett, vulture fund Alden Global Capital is reportedly trying to offload its Digital First Media group…to Gannett, the New York Post first reported on Saturday. This whiplash apparently comes from the company’s lack of actual funds to absorb Gannett and its apparent desperation to sell off its investment, according to the Post’s sources:
Last week, MNG, better known as Digital First Media, sent shudders through the media industry with a $1.4 billion hostile takeover bid for Gannett, the company that owns 100 newspapers nationwide, including USA Today. But many insiders are skeptical whether MNG’s owner, Alden Global Capital, can raise the money it needs to make good on its Jan. 14 offer to buy Gannett for $12 a share, a 23-percent premium to Gannett’s stock price a day earlier. “Buying Gannett is a tall task…I’m not sure Alden can get the financing to Continue reading "Hot potato, hot potato: Alden Global Capital now reportedly wants to offload Digital First Media on Gannett"

A typical big news story in 2018 lasted about 7 days (until we moved on to the next crisis)


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Remember the great blood moon of 2018? Not the one a few days ago, the one last July. Yeah, me neither. Google Trends, the data visualization firm Schema, and Axios partnered on a collaboration to show how long various news events stayed in the American consciousness in 2018, as evidenced by Google searches. A finding that will not be surprising to anyone who had completely forgotten about that Hawaii false missile alert until they read this sentence is that “the news cycles for some of the biggest moments of 2018 only lasted for a median of seven days — from the very beginning of higher-than-normal interest until the Google searches fizzled out.” And honestly, even seven days seems surprisingly long — you only get there by including big sustained stories like the Brett Kavanaugh nomination and the midterm elections. (Though that blood moon somehow stuck around somewhere in
Continue reading "A typical big news story in 2018 lasted about 7 days (until we moved on to the next crisis)"

Meet the eight European news organizations with (funded) plans for engaged journalism


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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As one accelerator closes, another opens — or, well, announces the teams it’s selected. The Engaged Journalism Accelerator, funded by the News Integrity Initiative and Civil, shared the eight newsrooms chosen for its second round of boosting journalism that involves audiences at a deeper level. Here’s how we described the accelerator at its own launch in April:
Ten to 15 European journalism organizations will receive grants from a €1.7m accelerator launched by the European Journalism Center with contributions from cryptocurrency-based journalism marketplace Civil and Jeff Jarvis’s News Integrity Initiative, the EJC announced Friday. The funding will go to “emerging media organizations with proven user loyalty.” In addition to money (from a €600,000 pool), participants will receive coaching and access to a peer mentorship network. The EJC will also run events and meet-ups across Europe, which will be open to any interested newsrooms.
The first cohort, comprised of Continue reading "Meet the eight European news organizations with (funded) plans for engaged journalism"