Episode 9: Journalist Credibility Ratings Dive

How many fact-checking organizations does it take to change the proverbial fake news lightbulb? Elon Musk thinks we need at least one more.

But maybe fact-checking should function more like a popularity contest, with journalists and institutions competing for credibility ratings. Emily and Heather ask what is the point of recent fact-checking initiatives, and the director of Poynter’s international fact-checking network Alexios Mantzarlis offers some answers.


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Reading list:

Elon Musk doesn’t know how journalism works — but thinks he can fix it  — A primer on the tweets that started it all.

Plus, responses from Nate Silver, Buzzfeed, and Poynter.

Who decides what’s true in politics? A history of the rise of political fact-checking  — An interview with a fact-checking expert to demystify the partisan bickering.

A 2018 survey of fact-checking projects around the world finds a booming field, with at least 149 dedicated initiatives  — More background on the credibility verification efforts from organizations around the globe.

 

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Episode 8: The Unraveling of Univision

Heather and Emily are joined by David Uberti of Splinter News, one of the authors of “Univision is a Fucking Mess” about his employer. But, seeking silver linings wherever they go, they also talk with Almudena Toral from Univision News Digital about some of the award-winning investigative work coming out of the Miami newsroom. Plus, Emily has all the latest on the Royal Wedding.


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Reading list:

  • From migrants to refugees: the new plight of Central Americans — An example of excellent reporting from Univision.
  • Univision is a Fucking Mess — Guest David Uberti’s blistering report on problems at Univision, co-authored with Kate Conger and Laura Wagner.
  • Univision’s Urgent Sense of Purpose: A Newsroom and a Lifeline — A New York Times piece from last June, about Univision’s importance as a news source for native Spanish speakers in the U.S.
  • “A Complete Shit Show”: As Fusion Media Implodes, Will the Gawker Orphans Hit the Block? — Vanity Fair on the unraveling of Fusion Media Group.
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    Episode 7: A Bonfire of Hot Takes

    Emily and Heather consider what place opinion journalism has in public discourse today.With Jeet Heer of The New Republic, and Katie Kingsbury of the New York Times, the two ask: Is intellectual diversity possible? Can, and should, legacy news organizations provide thought leadership? When do provocations and thought experiments actually foster debate and when are they just straight trolling? And what’s that smell? Is it the daily bonfire of hot takes? 


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    Reading list:

  • The Myth of Intellectual Diversity at the NYT — Guest Jeet Heer examines the establishment consensus of the paper’s opinion section.
  • A history of the NYT op-ed page
  • Recent internal strife at the NYT A string of controversial editorial choices have put the opinion page at the center of internal conflict at the Times
  • The Wall Street Journal editorial board coverage of Robert Mueller  … and at the Wall Street Journal.
  • “It’s Time to Stop Yammering About Liberal Bias” Actually, “the right has plenty of representation on the nation’s opinion pages.”
  • Independent local opinion writing is dying On the disappearing voice of the indie local
  • As newspapers cut opinion sections, African Americans take disproportionate hit
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    Episode 6: Preparing for the Infocalypse

    Heather and Emily hunker down in the journalistic equivalent of a nuclear bunker with Storyful’s Mandy Jenkins and design technologist Rick Barraza to explore the looming crisis of AI-generated fakery that threatens our understanding of what’s real.


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    Reading list

  • “That” Obama Video
  • He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He’s Worried About An Information Apocalypse Technologist Aviv Ovadya, who coined the term infocalypse, on our impending information crisis, “reality apathy,” and “human puppets.”
  • Artificial Intelligence is Killing the Uncanny Valley and Our Grasp on Reality A breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of recent AI research
  • The Verge: Deepfakes Are Disappearing From Parts of the Web, But They’re Not Going Away On the ethics and legality of deepfake pornography
  • What Worries Me About AI Google’s François Chollet on two possible futures for AI
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    Episode 5: What’s in the Sinclair Broadcasting Box?

    A perverted sex act in a company-owned Mercedes, and a shriveled local media ecosystem. Heather and Emily are joined by Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan and Texas Tribune founder John Thornton to unpack the tricky problem of how to save local news from bankruptcy and bias.


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    Reading list:

  • Not Necessarily the News — A 2005 GQ article on Sinclair’s news takeover.
  • Big Media Companies and their Many Brands—In One Chart — A 2016 NPR visualization on media consolidation. Right now, the vast majority of media brands are owned by the “Big 6:” National Amusements (aka Viacom), Disney, TimeWarner, Comcast, News Corp, and Sony.
  • America’s Growing News Deserts — An recent interactive from the Columbia Journalism Review.
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    Episode 4: Propaganda, Misinformation and Tips for Tackling Fake News

    Heather Chaplin and Emily Bell talk to Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, about misinformation, conspiracy theories, and how journalism can survive in systems flooded with propaganda, with tips on tackling fake news from Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass. And Emily gives us an audio whiteboard sketch of the complexities of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data story.


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    Reading list:

  • Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality
  • ‘How Propaganda Works’ Is a Timely Reminder for a Post-Truth Age
  • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
  • Propaganda
  • The Attention Merchants
  • Selling the Great War: The Making of American Propaganda
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    Episode 3: Please Don’t Read the Comments

    In this episode of Tricky, Heather and Emily talk to Sarah L. Roberts, the woman who coined the term “commercial content moderation,” about how elements of online discourse are governed by outsourced and unseen low-paid workers, who sift through “the grossness of humanity.”

    And they ask Andrew Losowsky of the Coral Project whether newsrooms and journalists still have a part to play in fostering civil discourse, on and offline. Plus: the bubonic plague, dance mania, Karen Carpenter, and pointy shoes. Read the full transcript below.


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    Episode 2: Facebook is broken. Should we hop on the blockchain?

    Facebook’s 35 mentions in the 37-page indictment of 13 Russian nationals solidified the social network’s position at the center of our current political and cultural conundrum. In this episode, Heather Chaplin and Emily Bell retrace the steps that led to this point, examine whether Facebook’s leadership was willfully ignorant or breathtakingly naive, and analyse the role of journalism in all this. And while we pick over the debris of our democracy, we also debate the case for blockchain –  technology plenty of smart folks, including our guest Jarrod Dicker (former VP of innovation at the Washington Post, new CEO of Po.et), are putting a lot of faith in.


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    Reading List:

  • The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism
  • Inside the two years that shook Facebook–and the world
  • A Facebook executive apologies to his company–and to Robert Mueller
  • Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble
  • The Waterline: How Civil Works
  • How the blockchain will radically transform the economy
  • Civil, the blockchain-based journalism marketplace, is building its first batch of publications
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    It’s Tricky: A Podcast About the Thorniest Problems in Journalism

    In the inaugural episode of Tricky, Emily Bell and Heather Chaplin look at perhaps the greatest challenge facing journalism today: the fight to capture your attention.

    Journalism may be a pillar of democracy, but how can it compete with the persuasive design tactics that serve up everything from Instagram posts to dating apps? Examining persuasive design through the lenses of psychology, anthropology, ethics and history, Emily and Heather try to unpack what the attention economy is doing to journalism and to society. This week’s show features excerpts from a discussion about the “dark side of design,” starring  some outspoken critics of social networks.

    Our hosts speak with Natasha Schull, author of Addiction by Design and James Williams, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology and try to identify a framework for change. Who’s responsible for the effects of persuasive technology? Is regulation of Big Tech reasonable, or even the right approach? Where does personal responsibility begin and end?

    From Jim Carrey divesting from Facebook, to ad-blocking as an act of revolt to suing Mark Zuckerberg for that time you’ve wasted, they cover all the issues.

    Plus…gin.


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