“Journalism practice may feel like a product on a conveyor belt”: Researchers on the future of automated news production and consumption

Even if automation is creeping into all corners of our lives, at least we humans can still get together in real life to talk about it. At the Algorithms, Automation, and News conference in Munich this week, some of journalism’s biggest brainiacs shared their research on everything from bot behavior to showing your work when it’s automated to reporting through the Internet of Things. Many of academics’ relevant papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of Digital Journalism. (Full list of presenters, panelists, and papers here.) Algorithmic accountability — reverse-engineering and reporting on the algorithms across our lives, from Facebook to Airbnb to targeted job listings — is a hot topic in journalism, but this conference focused more on the silver linings: how automation and algorithms could bolster newsrooms full of human journalists. Here are some of the top tweets from the Munich mind-gathering: The Associated Press’ director of
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Many major newsrooms, champions of transparency in other cases, remain tight-lipped about their newsroom diversity

When it comes to shining a light on their own hiring practices, many major newsrooms seem to be less forthcoming about the demographics of their staff, Joan Shorenstein Fellow Farai Chideya found in her new report on the state of diversity in American newsrooms, with a focus on the political press corps. As part of her research, Chideya reached out to 15 news organizations asking for race and gender breakdowns, specifically of newsrooms’ 2016 political reporting teams. She only heard back from four of them with the data she’d requested: USA Today, The New York Times, NPR, and The Washington Post. BuzzFeed, which has disclosed its diversity numbers in previous years, didn’t provide data to Chideya. NBC instead provided diversity numbers for its parent company, Comcast. The Wall Street Journal and CBS declined to provide data. Few were willing to put anyone on the record about staffing choices, with Continue reading "Many major newsrooms, champions of transparency in other cases, remain tight-lipped about their newsroom diversity"

Here’s a blueprint for a sustainable online state news nonprofit

VT Digger is the little nonprofit that could. The online news outlet serving the second least-populous state in the U.S. is turning nine this summer, and now has 19 full-time
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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?"

Exiting the exit poll: The AP’s new plan for surveying voters after a not-so-hot 2016

One hundred and seventy-four days remain until the United States’ midterm elections (421 until the next presidential election, but who’s counting) — which means there’s still time to “evolve” how polling is conducted. The 2016 presidential election wasn’t polling’s shining moment, with many post-mortems pointing to opinion polls misleading election forecasters and underestimating now-President Trump’s support. It didn’t help that some polls were tied to news organizations that don’t really have the resources anymore to support this work — at least doing this work well. There’s no perfect poll aside from (maybe) the ballot itself, but the polling system — both conducted by the media and reported on in the media — has faced critics since long before November 8, 2016. These issues contributed to the Associated Press’ and Fox News’ departure from the Election Day polling data shared by the major networks last year. But now the wire Continue reading "Exiting the exit poll: The AP’s new plan for surveying voters after a not-so-hot 2016"

Dutch news organization De Correspondent is getting more money toward its global expansion

Dutch darling De Correspondent got its start in the Netherlands in 2013 as a wildly successful crowdfunded news site promising ad-free, in-depth journalism and close reader participation in the reporting process. It’s now a few steps closer to launching its English-language global counterpart here in the U.S. On Monday, the organization announced that it’s received $950,000 in funding from the Omidyar Network. De Correspondent now has $1.8 million total behind its global expansion (New York University professor Jay Rosen is working with it on these efforts, and studying member-funded journalism best practices through the Membership Puzzle Project). Blue State Digital (which ran digital strategy for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns) and Dutch design studio Momkai (a founding partner of De Correspondent) will help spread the word about its global edition The Correspondent, cofounder and CEO of De Correspondent Ernst-Jan Pfauth wrote in a post announcing the Continue reading "Dutch news organization De Correspondent is getting more money toward its global expansion"

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"