Did Facebook’s faulty data push news publishers to make terrible decisions on video?

“It will probably be all video.” In June 2016, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s VP for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, spent several minutes of a panel at a Fortune conference talking about how Facebook was witnessing video overtake text. “We’re seeing a year-on-year decline on text,” Mendelsohn answered. “We’re seeing a massive increase, as I’ve said, on both pictures and video. So I think, yeah, if I was having a bet, I would say: Video, video, video.” “Wow,” the moderator, Pattie Sellers, responded. “The best way to tell stories, in this world where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” Mendelsohn continued. “It commands so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually, the trend helps us to digest more of the information, in a quicker way.” “Five years to all video” wasn’t just Mendelsohn’s line — it came from
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Civil’s token sale has failed. Now what? Refunds, for one thing — and then another sale

It was clear — definitely by midnight last night, but also in the days and weeks leading up to yesterday — that journalism blockchain platform Civil’s initial coin offering, in which it aimed to raise $8 million, was not going to work. Civil ended up raising about $1.4 million, and around three-quarters of that was acquired by ConsenSys, Civil’s seed investor. Some of the things that went wrong are clear. It was very hard to buy into Civil, though in the last couple of weeks the company had started letting people buy tokens with cash and was also, up to the last minute, asking possible contributors to email Civil customer service for help buying tokens. “The biggest things to know are that a) we’re going to try this again in the near future, under more reasonable terms; and b) this doesn’t impact the grant funding for any of
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Where are the weeklies? Still kicking, Penelope Abernathy’s news desert report says

Penelope Abernathy‘s latest report on news deserts is damning. About 1,300 U.S. communities have completely lost news coverage. More than one in five newspapers have closed over the past 15 years. And many of the 7,100 surviving newspapers have faded into “ghost papers” that are essentially advertising supplements. Half of the 3,143 counties in the U.S. now only have one remaining newspaper — and it’s usually a small weekly. Lost weeklies tend to be in low-income areas that tend to be poorer, less educated, older. If we don’t want half of our country separated from the other half, we need to come up with some kind of funding model that gets the news to the people in the communities that need it most. Less than five percent of philanthropic funding over the last few years has gone to state and local news sites. It’s going to take Continue reading "Where are the weeklies? Still kicking, Penelope Abernathy’s news desert report says"

“Yelling at her family in public, in your headphones”: Reality TV comes to podcasts

All this comes on top of the executive-level departure that was announced last month in tandem with the news that Panoply was laying off its editorial team: Jacob Weisberg, chairman of the Slate Group, was leaving to form a new audio company with Malcolm Gladwell, taking the audience-driving Revisionist History with them. That these leadership exits are clustered is certainly eyebrow-raising, but any overtly glum narrative should be checked against the state of site’s actual podcast portfolio. And on that front, things seem to be quite good. Consider that Slate has just wrapped up a very successful second season of its narrative documentary podcast, Slow Burn. Not only would I argue that it’s the best nonfiction narrative podcast of the year so far — yes, that includes Serial, In The Dark, and Caliphate, and yes, I’m aware it’s almost certainly recency bias — the sophomore season put up significant numbers. Continue reading "“Yelling at her family in public, in your headphones”: Reality TV comes to podcasts"

Will Vox’s new section on effective altruism…well, do any good?

Earlier this year, Vox Media closed the closet on Racked, folding the standalone site into Vox.com itself and introducing a condensed version called The Goods as its own section. Now, a new kind of good is coming to Vox.com. And it’s getting a philanthropic boost. Future Perfect, a section led by longtime Vox-er/senior correspondent Dylan Matthews and Vox senior policy editor Elbert Ventura, starts explaining effective altruism today. The concept is about as straightforward as the words themselves: doing good in a way that makes the most good (and doesn’t just feel good). Got it? Good. “It came out of a sense that there were some really important topics with impacts on human beings that didn’t get as much coverage in traditional journalism sections and pieces,” Matthews said. “Animal welfare is something that felt like it got treated a bit like what animal rights Continue reading "Will Vox’s new section on effective altruism…well, do any good?"

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"

The Outline built itself on being “weird.” But is it weird enough to survive?

There are some sites that everyone roots for. Scrappy, beloved. See: The Awl. The Toast. Or not so scrappy, but beloved still. See: Grantland. When they shut down, people mourn them. Then there’s The Outline. In April 2016, Joshua Topolsky wrote a Medium post entitled “Your media business will not be saved.” Topolsky, the cofounder of The Verge, had left his position as Bloomberg’s top digital editor several months before. “Your problem,” he told his fellow media people, “is that you make shit”:
A lot of shit. Cheap shit. And no one cares about you or your cheap shit. And an increasingly aware, connected, and mutable audience is onto your cheap shit. They don’t want your cheap shit. They want the good shit. And they will go to find it somewhere. Hell, they’ll even pay for it. The truth is that the best and most important things the
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