The stories on this page will update every 30 minutes. Hit your browser’s refresh button to see the latest stories.
NewsFeed - Media
This feed was created by mixing existing feeds from various sources.
The Washington Post now offers 20 weeks of paid parental leave; here’s what other U.S. news orgs provide
Facebook’s relationship to speech is complicated. The giant social network routinely takes down hate speech provided it meets certain criteria (although critics say it misses a lot more), along with gratuitous nudity, and other content that breaches its “community standards.” And it hides or “down-ranks” misinformation, although only in certain categories, such as anti-vaccination campaigns. But it refuses to do anything about obvious disinformation in political content, including political ads, saying it doesn’t want to be an arbiter of truth. One of the most interesting things about Mark Zuckerberg’s speech Thursday at Georgetown University was listening to the Facebook CEO try to justify these conflicting decisions. The speech, which was livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube and published in the Wall Street Journal, was at times a passionate defense of unfettered free speech, and how it played a crucial role in social movements like the Vietnam War and the civil-rights era.
If nothing else, Zuckerberg’s emotional investment in this idea came through, despite some awkward phrasing (he wrote the speech himself, and wouldn’t let anyone see or edit it because he wanted to “maximize for sincerity,” according to a Facebook source). Zuckerberg warned about a number of countries that are moving to restrict speech, and even trying to censor speech that occurs elsewhere on the internet, and his voice became almost strident as he talked about the repressive regime in China (a market Facebook has repeatedly tried to enter) and the fact that most of the top internet services used to be American, but now six of the top 10 are Chinese. “While our services, like WhatsApp, are used by protesters and activists everywhere due to strong encryption and privacy protections, on TikTok mentions of these protests are censored, even in the US,” Zuckerberg said. “Is that the internet we want?”
But the Facebook CEO also defended the network’s decision not to fact-check political ads, despite the fact that the Trump campaign has already used its ad campaigns to circulate lies about Joe Biden and his alleged involvement in corruption in Ukraine. “We don’t fact-check political ads, because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Zuckerberg said. “I know many people disagree, but, in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.” The Facebook founder also noted that similar ads appear on other services, and also run on analog TV networks. “I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100 percent true,” Zuckerberg said, despite having just described how the social network routinely takes down or down-ranks misinformation of various kinds.
In many ways, as New York Times writer Mike Isaac put it, the Facebook CEO’s speech seemed like “an optimist’s defense of the internet—or the internet as defined by Facebook.” During questioning after the event (where questions were carefully moderated in advance) Zuckerberg admitted the company made a mistake by not acting more quickly in Myanmar, where Facebook was weaponized by anti-Muslim forces as part of a campaign of vicious attacks on the Rohingya community. But he maintained that “people having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world—a fifth estate alongside the other power structures of society,” and that while he understands the concerns about tech platforms like his and their power, “the much bigger story is how much these platforms have decentralized power by putting it directly into people’s hands.”
Jillian York, international director of freedom of expression for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the Facebook CEO’s speech “23 minutes of contradictions, unsubstantiated postulations, and a Cliff Notes version of free speech history.” At one point, Zuckerberg drew a direct line between the freedom fighting of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King and the kind of free expression he says he’s committed to at Facebook. It’s an analogy that likely came as a shock to many of the marginalized groups that have either been censored by the social network or harassed and victimized by it. But as far as Zuckerberg is concerned, we’re all on the same side. “We can continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness, believing that the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us, or we can decide the cost is simply too great,” he said. As always when it comes to Facebook, the question is the cost for whom?
Here’s more on Facebook and free speech:
- Destroying democracy: In an op-ed in the New York Times, Matt Stoller — a fellow at the Open Markets Institute and the author of Goliath: The Hundred Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy, says that tech companies like Facebook are destroying democracy and the free press because “advertising revenue that used to support journalism is now captured by Google and Facebook, and some of that money supports and spreads fake news.”
- Lots of pain, little gain: Kurt Wagner notes in a piece for Bloomberg that political ads seem to be more trouble than they are worth for Facebook, since they account for such a tiny portion of the company’s revenue, but spark controversy when they don’t get fact-checked. Alex Stamos, former head of security for Facebook, said on Twitter that not running political ads at all might be a smart decision, “except that the politicians who are loudest about FB’s ad policies have also benefited immensely from the platform and would flip out.”
- Oversight not enough: In his speech, Zuckerberg talked about the “oversight board” the social network is planning to create, in which outside advisors would be able to overrule the company’s decisions on content. But in an op-ed for the Harvard Business Review, disinformation researcher and former Facebook staffer Dipayan Ghosh said that the board isn’t an effective solution to the company’s moderation problems because the underlying problem is “the business model behind the company’s platforms itself.”
- Calling the shots: Judd Legum, an investigative reporter who publishes a progressive newsletter called Popular Information, says one of the problems with Facebook is the fact that the network bends over backwards to please right-wing groups. The main reason it does this, Legum argues, is that several senior executives at the company are former high-level Republican operatives, including Joel Kaplan, director of global public policy and a former deputy White House chief of staff under president George W. Bush.
Other notable stories:
- Despite a memo sent to all New York Times staffers earlier this year by standards editor Phil Corbett, articles in the newspaper routinely fail to link to competitors who have written or broken news stories about similar topics, a Vice report notes. “I think that a big problem is that there are still editors who like…do not get the online etiquette of linking,” one Times employee told Vice. “I wish you great luck in shaming people out of this policy.”
- According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a review of nearly 170,000 tweets, plus analysis from expert information warfare researchers, shows that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was the target of what appears to be a coordinated harassment campaign after a tweet on Oct. 4 (since deleted) that set off an international furor about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
- Fake news stories about Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau that appear to be designed to weaken his political support continue to circulate on Facebook as the country approaches a national election, according to iPolitics. The stories are posted by a site called The Buffalo Chronicle that pretends to be a newspaper. A spokesman for Facebook said “misinformation does not violate our community standards. We don’t have a rule that says everything you post needs to be true.”
- The Miami Herald is partnering with the Miami Foundation to launch an Investigative Journalism Fund that it says will nearly double the size of the paper’s investigative team. The company’s says its goal is to raise $1.5 million for reporting efforts spread over three years, adding two full-time reporters, a data visualization specialist, a videographer and an editor to its existing team. The Herald says it plans to launch the Investigative Journalism Fund as soon as it reaches $500,000 in donations.
- Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is launching an “anti-monopoly fund” with a donation of $10 million, according to a report in the Washington Post. Hughes and the organization he co-chairs, the Economic Security Project, said the fund will be backed by a series of high-profile philanthropies, including the George Soros-financed Open Society Foundations and the Omidyar Network, created by the founder of eBay. The fund will go towards researchers and grassroots groups fighting against monopolies that have too much market power.
- New York Times writer Thomas Edsall says Donald Trump is winning the political marketing war because “the technical superiority and sophistication of the president’s digital campaign is a hidden advantage of incumbency.” According to the report, the Trump re-election machine has spent $15.9 million on Facebook and Google advertising this year, more than was spent by the top three Democratic candidates combined.
- Marc Benioff, the owner of Time magazine and CEO of Salesforce, writes in an op-ed for Time that “the very technologies and social media platforms that were supposed to bring us together have been used to sow division and undermine our democracy,” and that he bought the news magazine from its previous owners because “we need journalism to elevate humanity.”
- There have been high hopes that artificial intelligence might be able to flag disinformation, but two new research reports show that current machine-learning models aren’t yet up to the task of distinguishing false news reports, according to a report from Axios. “If you create for yourself an easy target, you can win at that target,” said MIT professor Regina Barzilay. “But it still doesn’t bring you any closer to separating fake news from real news.”
- When ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked Donald Trump a question about his Syria strategy at a recent news conference, the president took the opportunity to criticize Karl and his network for running video footage that ABC said showed violence at the border with Turkey, but which turned out to have been filmed in Kentucky. “You shouldn’t be showing buildings blowing up in Kentucky and saying it’s Syria, because that really is fake news,” Trump said.
Guess which politician said the following quote: “Fake news continues to be a major creeping challenge into mainstream media”? I bet if you are in the United States, you probably said Donald Trump. If you live in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. If you were born in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. But this quote actually comes from […]
The post You would never guess who’s accusing the mainstream media of producing ‘fake news’ appeared first on Poynter.
Happy Friday. Welcome to the end of the week. For today’s Poynter Report, something a little different. Today, here are various random media thoughts — things that popped into my head, if you will. As always, I’m interested in your feedback, so give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your weekend. See you on Monday. Poytner’s […]
The post Observations on USA Today, NBC and newspaper unions: The Poynter Report appeared first on Poynter.
“Publishers are going to live or die based on their relationship with readers”: How Quartz is rethinking its membership offerings
In a piece yesterday I reported that phasing out USA Today in print is likely to be part of the calculations of the expected Gannett/GateHouse merger. The move, which is not likely to be immediate, would help find critical savings to pay off debt and align with the merger’s primary strategy to serve digital journalism […]
The post In a weekly memo, Gannett CEO Paul Bascobert discusses the future of print appeared first on Poynter.
Imagining a Fox News competitor | Student newspaper refuses prior review | LA Times makes union deal
The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Thursday morning. Let’s dive right into today’s media news, which includes a couple of hot rumors. What would it take to outfox Fox News? I mentioned this in Wednesday’s newsletter, but here are some more thoughts on […]
The post Imagining a Fox News competitor | Student newspaper refuses prior review | LA Times makes union deal appeared first on Poynter.
By Peter Adams As politicians continue to attack the credibility of the press, ABC News suffered a self-inflicted wound that is feeding cynical, misguided notions about how news media operate. On Sunday evening, in a report about violence in northern Syria, ABC’s “World News Tonight“ included a video clip of a nighttime machine gun exhibition […]
The post Don’t let ABC’s mistake fuel distrust of the media appeared first on Poynter.
Alberto Cairo is on a mission to improve how journalists use charts. “Visualizations, charts can be incredibly powerful at exploring data,” he told me recently. They can also be powerful as tools for communicating information to news readers. “If you know how to use them well,” Cairo added. To his endless frustration, too many reporters do not.
In his new book, How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information, Cairo, who is the Knight Chair in visual journalism at the University of Miami, aims to dispel the myth of objectivity, and the air of truthfulness, that has been undeservedly awarded to numbers. A chart, he said, is a “visual argument” that is only as strong as the data on which it’s based. To tell a reliable story with a chart requires an understanding of its data—what it consists of, how it was gathered, who it might leave out. “We journalists are mediators,” Cairo explained. “Mediators between science and complexity, and the general public.”
Throughout the book, Cairo breaks down common mistakes journalists make. First up: assuming that correlation indicates causation. To demonstrate why that’s wrong, Cairo produces a chart, using data from the World Health Organization and the United Nations, showing that cigarette consumption by country is positively correlated with life expectancy. “I have seen graphics like that described by journalists––including myself because most of these things are mistakes that I have made myself––describing this kind of chart as ‘the more we smoke, the longer we live,’” he told me. But in reality, he writes, “a chart only shows what it shows, and nothing else” (emphasis his).
Cairo then breaks the data down further, with fifteen more charts, grouping countries by income and region. Ultimately, he shows, the original chart cannot prove anything definitive––it can merely point to a pattern. His step-by-step instructions, at risk of becoming dry, are livened up with humor (a data point about the glam rock band Poison has no place in a chart about heavy metal, he argues). “I try to do it in a way that could be used as a template by translators, communicators, journalists, to do the same thing,” he told me.
When journalists are wrong, Cairo warns, there can be serious repercussions. A town in danger of storm damage, for instance, may fail to take proper precautions because a broadcaster misinterpreted a graph. Just look at Hurricane Dorian projections: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration relies on a graphic––called the cone of uncertainty––to explain potential paths for major storms and, during Dorian coverage, many reporters interpreted the cone graphic as showing the entirety of the storm’s wrath. That left out a lot of possibilities. “I have seen TV newscasters explaining this map wrong and it drives me crazy,” Cairo said. “Like saying, ‘Oh you’re outside of the cone, you may not be in danger.’ Well that’s actually not true.”
Cairo doesn’t want to put journalists off charts, and he has ideas about how to produce them effectively. When news outlets design their own graphics, Cairo suggests, they should introduce a “me-layer” into the design. Why was the New York Times’ dialect map so popular? “Because people see themselves in the data,” he writes. “And they see their families in the data, and they can compare the way they talk with how other people talk.”
Perhaps most important, Cairo writes, reporters shouldn’t assume that visuals serve as a substitute for words. Sometimes, a lengthy explanation is what’s required. At the same time, when reporters are trying to make a point, they need to just spit it out: “If you really want to emphasize something, emphasize it,” he said. “So people will not miss it. If there’s a particular pattern, or a particular data point or a particular fact that should not be missed, just show it.”
And when all else fails, ask a data scientist. “You need to basically give them whatever it is that you’re writing,” Cairo advised, “and very openly say, ‘please destroy it.’”
Below, more on Cairo and how journalists use visual data:
- A chart with dubious political categorizations of media outlets, and reportedly being taught in media literacy classes, spread around the internet this week. Good news: you can ignore it. “The main reason this chart is so deceptive,” Cairo writes on his blog, “is that it compares things that aren’t comparable. Come on, Breitbart or The Federalist rags at the same level of ‘bias’ as Vox? The Washington Examiner at the same level as NPR? Those aren’t equal. Neither in terms of trustworthiness, nor in terms of ideological bias.”
- “His book reminds readers not to infer too much from a chart, especially when it shows them what they already wanted to see,” The Economist writes in a review of Cairo’s book, noting that he has sent a copy to the White House.
- ICYMI: CJR hosted a series of Q&As with visual journalists who work with data, including Quartz’s David Yanofsky and ProPublica’s Lena Groeger.
Other notable stories:
- The Guardian shared updates to its style guide, featuring six language changes to better cover the environment, including a preference for “climate crisis” or “emergency” over “climate change.” The modifications are intended to be more scientifically precise and to properly convey the severity of the crisis. The Guardian is CJR’s lead media partner in the Covering Climate Now initiative; you can read the work produced as a result of the project here.
- As the Gannett-GateHouse merger continues to take shape, executives plan to pivot away from print editions of USA Today, Poynter reports. Instead, Gannett (as the company will be known once it’s fully merged) will focus on bolstering its digital marketing. “‘Digital transformation’ has been often promised and rarely delivered many times over at Gannett––and at other chains,” Poynter’s Rick Edmonds writes.
- The Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists voiced their support for the unionization effort from the Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald. The newspaper is owned by McClatchy. The Miami Herald publisher and executive editor, Mindy Marqués González, has been unwilling to voluntarily recognize the union, One Herald Guild. Standing with the union “is an abnormal step,” Florida SPJ’s letter of support reads. “The National Society of Professional Journalists has not taken a stance on unions despite repeated opportunities, and we were unable to find any local chapters that have done so. But the SPJ Florida leadership feels strongly that it is our duty to protect and support journalists, and this is one way to do it.”
- Sky News, a British television news station, is launching a Brexit-free news channel, according to the Press Gazette. The channel was developed in response to a YouGov survey that found that a third of British news consumers were avoiding the news––71 percent of whom cited exhaustion from Brexit coverage as their rationale. Sky News won’t avoid Brexit coverage altogether, but it give news consumers an option to focus their attention on other “hard-hitting, original” stories, Sky News head John Ryley told the Press Gazette.
- Charleston City Paper, the popular South Carolina alt-weekly, was sold to a pair of new owners on Wednesday: Ed Bell and Andy Brack. They’re two local businessmen who vowed to maintain the paper’s “legacy of publishing vibrant, incisive local news and information,” City Paper reports. The founding editors will stay on as consultants. Bell and Brack already have ties to Southern journalism; Bell co-owns Garden & Gun magazine, while Brack is the publisher of an online local news site called Statehouse Report and writes a column for City Paper.
- After more than a year of negotiations, the Los Angeles Times reached a tentative labor agreement with the LA Times Guild, which represents about 475 journalists. A 2018 vote to form a union set a path for the paper’s return to local ownership from corporate ownership. Guild members still have to ratify the agreement in a vote expected for the end of the month, with a potential agreement slated to take effect in November. The new agreement includes pay raises, family leave, severance pay, intellectual property rights, and more. “When the final documents were signed…the room burst into applause, cameras clicked and champagne soon flowed,” the Times reported.
The post American newsrooms’ 2020 efforts: Cover misinformation but don’t amplify it appeared first on Poynter.
After surviving the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a democratic process historically marked by the amount of false news produced and distributed by doubtful sources, it looks like the American people will face a 2020 presidential campaign plagued by a new type of disinformation: promoted by White House candidates using lots and lots of money. In […]
The post Will the 2020 U.S presidential election be all about fake political online ads? appeared first on Poynter.
ProPublica and The Texas Tribune are teaming up on a full-time, Texas-focused investigative news unit
Is USA Today’s print edition headed for the sunset as GateHouse and Gannett merge? Signs point to yes.
This story has been updated. After a nearly 40-year run, USA Today and its digital sites are about to undergo a major restructuring that will include building up digital marketing while phasing out the print edition. The deal for GateHouse’s parent, New Media Investment Group, to acquire Gannett, which owns USA Today, will not close […]
The post Is USA Today’s print edition headed for the sunset as GateHouse and Gannett merge? Signs point to yes. appeared first on Poynter.
There’s plenty to consider about the role debate moderators and political commentators play in effectively informing the American electorate. But it’s also worth considering the role local journalism plays in serving its portions of that same electorate. People tend to trust local news more than national news, as a 2018 Poynter survey indicated. Trust plays a foundational role in effectively distributing public-service information, putting local journalists in powerful positions to shape their audience’s civic engagement. Local journalists wield their power most effectively when they offer their audiences something exclusive: localized angles.
On Tuesday night, as viewers across the country tuned in to the CNN-New York Times Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio, a few journalists in that state capitalized on their geographic access to the debate and their proximity to candidate talking points by offering their audiences fact-checks and careful context. Cincinnati Enquirer reporters Jessie Balmert and Jackie Borchardt fact-checked a list of claims made by candidates about Ohio, from Julian Castro’s lament that Ohioans were losing jobs under Trump (employment rates have steadily grown and since 2010) to Yang’s assertion that Ohio prescribed more opioids than it had people (that checks out).
Other local publications beyond Ohio took advantage of their own resources and considered their audience in different ways. The Des Moines Register, located in an early primary state, tweeted a link to their Candidate Tracker, which aggregates relevant caucus headlines and upcoming public appearances by all the candidates. Michigan reporter Malachi Barrett wrote for MLive about the United Auto Workers strikes, an issue pertinent to Michigan voters that he felt had been largely glossed over on the Ohio debate stage. (Mike Elk wrote about coverage of the UAW/GM strikes this morning for CJR.)
A host of local news publications across the country—the Patriot-News on PennLive, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Dayton Daily News in Ohio, just to name a few—posted live updates throughout the debates. Some news sites populated their debate pages with political reporters’ tweets, which meant many local outlets mirrored the hot takes happening at the national level. “Put me down for Medicare For All Who Don’t Want to Hear Any More About It Right Now,” tweeted John Bridges, editor of the Austin American-Statesman. Other local sites honed in on those candidates from their state: The IndyStar dedicated its real-time debate blog exclusively to Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and the El Paso Times did the same for Castro and O’Rourke.
Other local outlets focused their work on general analysis and national storylines. Reporters at the Tampa Bay Times, for example, addressed Tulsi Gabbard’s complaint about a recent New York Times article that, she claimed, called her “a Russian asset and an Assad apologist.” The Tampa Bay Times parsed Gabbard’s response as many national news outlets did. (“The Times story didn’t accuse Gabbard of being a Russian asset,” Tampa reporters wrote. “It just noted that she has the support of some on the far-right and is mentioned frequently on Russian state news media.”) But is such generalized debate coverage at the local level worth something more for Tampa Bay readers? Or is it a missed opportunity to bend a national debate to local concerns?
As local news struggles for readership and attention, it’s worth considering the singular services local journalists are able to provide readers during nationally significant media moments. Local news has the power to move far beyond important basic services such as linking readers to debate-watching sites; instead, it might reward its audience’s trust with localized perspectives in a shared language and a common context. With the 2020 presidential election still more than a year away, there will be plenty more opportunities for local journalists across the country to rise to their unique occasion.
Below, more on the debate:
- Hunter questions, pt. 1: Before the debate, Hunter Biden appeared in an exclusive interview with ABC News to refute President Trump’s widely debunked allegation that his father, Joe Biden, pressured Ukranian officials to fire a prosecutor investigating Burisma, a Ukranian company at which Hunter was a board member. In the ABC interview, Amy Robach asked Hunter about his salary (reported at more than $50,000 a month), his qualifications to be on Burisma’s board, and whether or not he discussed his position with his father. Hunter declined to discuss his salary and maintained that he was qualified to serve on the board, though he admitted he couldn’t untangle his last name from many of the privileges he enjoys in life. He repeatedly insisted that his father was above reproach.
- Hunter questions, pt. 2: Later, during the debate, Anderson Cooper asked Joe Biden two questions about the same issue. The first question openly (and accurately) declared Trump’s allegation false, while the second question suggested that Hunter Biden has stepped down from Burisma out of guilt or culpability, rather than political pressure. Politico ran down the partisan critiques of Cooper’s framing
- ICYMI: Last month, I talked with Adam Entous about his Hunter Biden profile and how to responsibly report on these allegations.
Other notable stories:
- Staff, producers, and supporters of Brooklyn broadcast station WBAI gathered at City Hall to protest the station’s contentious and abrupt closure by its parent nonprofit, the Pacifica Foundation. The Nation reported earlier this October that the community-based radio’s local station board had gotten a temporary restraining order to limit the Pacifica Foundation’s control, but the parent company did not comply with the order. Before a contempt-of-court hearing took place, the proceedings were moved to a Manhattan court. The Brooklyn Eagle reported yesterday that the temporary restraining order was reactivated, “prohibit[ing] Pacifica from keeping local broadcasting off-air” until an upcoming court date.
- The Texas Tribune and ProPublica announced that they will join forces for a special investigative unit. The newsroom will be based in Austin, but will draw upon the resources of both organizations.
- The Hollywood Reporter noted that media mogul Shari Redstone is exploring a plan to launch a conservative TV station as a competitor to Fox News. The move, which is not official, would likely rebrand an existing Viacom channel.
- TechCrunch reported that Twitter plans to restrict users’ ability to interact with the tweets of world leaders who break its user guidelines. Though the tweets will continue to exist, users will be unable to re-tweet, like, or comment on posts that do not meet the social-media company’s standards.
- Hachette Australia—a publisher of Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill—will continue with its plans to release the book, despite a legal threat from Australian journalist Dylan Howard that has discouraged an online distributor and some Australian book sellers from stocking it. The Guardian has more.
How the Charleston Gazette-Mail overcame bankruptcy, layoffs and management changes to double digital subscriptions
Democratic debate proves 12 is too many, and other takeaways | Ronan Farrow praises NBC journalists | Now hiring investigative reporters
The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Wednesday morning. Another Democratic presidential debate is in the books. The next one will be Nov. 20 in Georgia and co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post. Let’s look back at Tuesday’s debate, as well as the […]