Journalism

John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017

A neutral observer might wonder if Facebook’s attitude to content creators is sustainable. Facebook needs content, obviously, because that’s what the site consists of: content that other people have created. It’s just that it isn’t too keen on anyone apart from Facebook making any money from that content. Over time, that attitude is profoundly destructive to the creative and media industries. Access to an audience – that unprecedented two billion people – is a wonderful thing, but Facebook isn’t in any hurry to help you make money from it. If the content providers all eventually go broke, well, that might not be too much of a problem. There are, for now, lots of willing providers: anyone on Facebook is in a sense working for Facebook, adding value to the company. In 2014, the New York Times did the arithmetic and found that humanity was spending 39,757 collective years on the site, every single day. Jonathan Taplin points out that this is ‘almost fifteen million years of free labour per year’. That was back when it had a mere 1.23 billion users.

Dear veteran journalists, you deserve better – Poynter

I never get used to it: the layoffs and buyouts, the shrinking of newsrooms, the doing of more and more with less and less. You’d think, as someone who’s covered the media for nearly four years, that I would have by now.

Publishers are desperately pivoting to video—but they should be standing up to Facebook — Quartz

Whether social-media users actually want to watch the kinds of videos that Facebook rewards is beside the point. “What these people are talking about isn’t even actual traditional worthwhile video,” Silvia Killingsworth at The Awl writes, without any mercy at whatsoever. “It’s a box with a play button on it just begging you for a click. It’s a glorified powerpoint presentation—slides, essentially, with words and pictures that flash and Ken Burns around the screen, sometimes with a shaded overlay.”

What’s behind the recent media bloodbath? The dominance of Google and Facebook – Poynter

“There is a clear correlation between layoffs and buyouts with the growth in market share for the duopoly — Google and Facebook,” said Jason Kint, CEO of the trade organization Digital Content Next, in an email to Poynter.

How bureaucratic language strangles journalism’s accountability

Dissidents “were executed.” Bodies “were later found.” The man was killed in an “officer-involved shooting.”

Trump vs. the Press: A Small-Town Boy (Well, Sort of) in Washington

He’s not in Manhattan anymore. This New York-iest of politicians, now an idiosyncratic, write-your-own-rules president, has stumbled into the most conventional of Washington traps: believing he can master an entrenched political press corps with far deeper connections to the permanent government of federal law enforcement and executive department officials than he has.

Those Natty Ole Reporters

There is a sense that everyone with a Press badge is a target, someone who is obviously unfriendly to the candidate (to the -elect…) and yet there seems to be no comprehension that before there was a 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, there was a 1st Amendment. 

The most important moments for journalism in 2016

What was truly significant in media this year? Was it a development in journalism, or corporate moves, technological advances, social media or something else? What insight might we place into a personal time capsule? Here we go:

2016 wasn’t the worst of it

My main journalistic lesson of 2016 is to brace for massive upheaval and redefinition. What we’ve just seen — the election, fake news, red feeds, blue feeds, mistrust, niche sites, the so-called end of the mainstream — have implications for all of us in the fourth estate.

Who’s Really to Blame for Fake News?

What is truly horrifying is that fake news is not the manipulation of an unsuspecting public. Quite the opposite. It is willful belief by the public. In effect, the American people are accessories in their own disinformation campaign.

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