Journalist and Media 2017

I have written on journalism and media trends eariler few years ago. So it is time for update. What is the state of journalism and news publishing in 2017? NiemanLab’s predictions for 2017 are a good place to start thinking about what lies ahead for journalism. There, Matt Waite puts us in our place straight away by telling us that the people running the media are the problem

There has been changes on tech publishing. In January 2017 International Data Group, the owner of PCWorld magazine and market researcher IDC, on Thursday said it was being acquired by China Oceanwide Holdings Group and IDG Capital, the investment management firm run by IDG China executive Hugo Shong. In 2016 Arrow bought EE Times, EDN, TechOnline and lots more from UBM.


Here are some article links and information bits on journalist and media in 2017:

Soothsayers’ guides to journalism in 2017 article take a look at journalism predictions and the value of this year’s predictions.

What Journalism Needs To Do Post-Election article tells that faced with the growing recognition that the electorate was uniformed or, at minimum, deeply in the thrall of fake news, far too many journalists are responding not with calls for change but by digging in deeper to exactly the kinds of practices that got us here in the first place.

Fake News Is About to Get Even Scarier than You Ever Dreamed article says that what we saw in the 2016 election is nothing compared to what we need to prepare for in 2020 as incipient technologies appear likely to soon obliterate the line between real and fake.

YouTube’s ex-CEO and co-founder Chad Hurley service sees a massive amount of information on the problem, which will lead to people’s backlash.

Headlines matter article tells that in 2017, headlines will matter more than ever and journalists will need to wrest control of headline writing from social-optimization teams. People get their news from headlines now in a way they never did in the past.

Why new journalism grads are optimistic about 2017 article tells that since today’s college journalism students have been in school, the forecasts for their futures has been filled with words like “layoffs,” “cutbacks,” “buyouts” and “freelance.” Still many people are optimistic about the future because the main motivation for being a journalist is often “to make a difference.”

Updating social media account can be a serious job. Zuckerberg has 12+ Facebook employees helping him with posts and comments on his Facebook page and professional photographers to snap personal moments.
Wikipedia Is Being Ripped Apart By a Witch Hunt For Secretly Paid Editors article tells that with undisclosed paid editing on the rise, Wikipedians and the Wikimedia Foundation are working together to stop the practice without discouraging user participation. Paid editing is permissible under Wikimedia Foundation’s terms of use as long as they disclose these conflicts of interest on their user pages, but not all paid editors make these disclosures.

Big Internet giants are working on how to make content better for mobile devices. Instant Articles is a new way for any publisher to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook. Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a project that it aims to accelerate content on mobile devices. Both of those systems have their advantages and problems.

Clearing Out the App Stores: Government Censorship Made Easier article tells that there’s a new form of digital censorship sweeping the globe, and it could be the start of something devastating. The centralization of the internet via app stores has made government censorship easier. If the app isn’t in a country’s app store, it effectively doesn’t exist. For more than a decade, we users of digital devices have actively championed an online infrastructure that now looks uniquely vulnerable to the sanctions of despots and others who seek to control information.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A HuffPost Reporter Was Bombarded With Threats. Twitter Suspended Him.

    When Twitter outsources policing its platform to victims of harassment, it empowers brigades of trolls and extremists.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bernhard Warner / The Atlantic:
    Algorithms used to take down “terrorist” videos are deleting evidence of war crimes and could hinder efforts to bring human-rights abusers to justice

    Tech Companies Are Deleting Evidence of War Crimes

    Algorithms that take down “terrorist” videos could hamstring efforts to bring human-rights abusers to justice.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Russia Is Targeting Europe’s Elections. So Are Far-Right Copycats.

    Less than two weeks before pivotal elections for the European Parliament, a constellation of websites and social media accounts linked to Russia or far-right groups is spreading disinformation, encouraging discord and amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades.

    European Union investigators, academics and advocacy groups say the new disinformation efforts share many of the same digital fingerprints or tactics used in previous Russian attacks, including the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

    The activity offers fresh evidence that despite indictments, expulsions and recriminations, Russia remains undeterred in its campaign to widen political divisions and weaken Western institutions. Despite online policing efforts by American technology companies, it remains far easier to spread false information than to stop it.

    Russia remains a driving force, but researchers also discovered numerous copycats, particularly on the far right.

    Conspiracy theories are peddled freely, including that last month’s Notre-Dame fire was the work of Islamic terrorists, a spy agency, or an elite cabal that secretly runs the world.

    Often, these messages come directly from Russian news media and are repeated and amplified elsewhere.

    The European Parliament elections, which will be held between May 23 and May 26, are regarded as a test of rising populism in the European Union. Populist leaders, many of them sympathetic to Russia, have loosely joined together in hopes of expanding their influence in the Parliament and, in turn, redirecting or subverting policymaking in Brussels.

    Intelligence officials have not publicly accused the Kremlin of backing specific candidates in Europe

    Russia dismisses accusations of meddling.

    “The election has yet to come, and we are already suspected of doing something wrong?” the Russian prime minister, Dmitri A. Medvedev, said in March. “Suspecting someone of an event that has not yet happened is a bunch of paranoid nonsense.”

    Yet even as Russia remains a concern, officials say political groups across the Continent — particularly supporters of the far right — are adopting many of the Kremlin’s tactics, further blurring who is behind the messages.

    Technology companies have toughened policies to eliminate fake accounts, but researchers say their platforms will always be fertile ground for influence campaigns. Algorithms reward content that keeps users engaged, which means posts that stir anger spread and get clicks.

    “We are fundamentally dealing with a security challenge,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy. “There are a set of actors that want to manipulate public debate.”

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Heather Kelly / CNN:
    Facebook will now ban anyone who violates its “most serious polices” from using Facebook Live for a set period of time, starting with their first offense — San Francisco (CNN Business)Two months after the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand was live-streamed by the accused gunman …

    Facebook changes livestream rules after New Zealand shooting

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Casey Newton / The Verge:
    More Democrats are considering a breakup of Facebook, with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris the latest to say they’re thinking it over, joining Elizabeth Warren, others

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Instagram Poll Gone Wrong: Malaysian Teen Commits Suicide After 69% People Answer Yes To ‘Die’

    Ramkarpal Singh, a lawyer and member of parliament, said that those who voted for the teenager to die could be guilty of abetting suicide, and urged authorities to investigate the circumstances leading to her death.

    Under the Malaysian law, anyone convicted of abetting suicide of a minor could face the death penalty or can be jailed for 20 years.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Uncovering fake news bots

    Why fake news bots are still a thing

    Nobody likes bots, but social media companies really hate them, because bots make social networks less attractive to real people. For example, Twitter periodically identifies massive numbers of bots and banishes them (leaving real people whining about losing followers). That means social networks have their own ways of detecting bots. But their efforts are not enough to wipe the bots out completely.

    Social networks don’t disclose their algorithms, but it’s safe to say their effort is based on detecting abnormal behavior. The most obvious example: If an account tries to post a hundred posts a minute, that’s certainly a bot. Or, say, an account only retweets stuff from other accounts and never posts anything on its own, that’s also most likely a bot.

    But the creators of bots are constantly learning to modify their bots so that they can bypass social media services’ techniques. And social media services cannot afford to have too many false positives; mistakenly banning a lot of real people would cause outrage, so they have to be cautious. That means a certain number of bots go undetected.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Israeli TV Eurovision webcast hacked with fake missile alert

    Song contest semi-final interrupted with warnings of imminent attack on Tel Aviv

    The online stream of the Eurovision semi-finals in Israel was hacked to show warnings of a missile strike and images of blasts in the host city, Tel Aviv.

    The website for KAN’s television stations was interrupted on Tuesday evening – just as the competition’s first round was beginning – with a fake alert from Israel’s army telling of an impending attack.

    Messages such as: “Risk of Missile Attack, Please Take Shelter” and: “Israel is NOT Safe. You Will See!” appeared on the screen. Animated satellite footage showed explosions in the coastal city.

    “We know that at a certain stage there was an attempt, apparently by Hamas, to commandeer our digital broadcast,” the chief executive of KAN, Eldad Koblenz, told Israel’s Army Radio.

    “But I am happy to say that within a few minutes we managed to assume control over this phenomenon.”

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Makena Kelly / The Verge:
    White House launches tool to solicit information from people who had social media accounts suspended or banned and who suspect political bias behind the actions — ‘If you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump’

    White House launches tool to report censorship on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter

    ‘If you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump’

    On Wednesday, the White House launched a new tool for people to use if they feel they’ve been wrongly censored, banned, or suspended on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

    “Too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies,” the site reads. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Washington Post:
    White House won’t sign Christchurch Call to Action, an effort by governments and social media companies to fight online extremism, citing free speech concerns — The White House will not sign an international call to combat online extremism brokered between French and New Zealand officials …

    Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, and Amazon sign on to the Christchurch Call to Action, commit to a 9-point plan to stop spread of terrorist content online — Today, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg joined G7 government and industry leaders …
    Facebook Joins Other Tech Companies to Support the Christchurch Call to Action

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Munsif Vengattil / Reuters:
    How political parties in India are using cheap software to send up to 100,000 WhatsApp messages a day and get around the app’s limit of five forwards per day

    In India election, a $14 software tool helps overcome WhatsApp controls

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Casey Newton / The Interface:
    As the definition of “bias” expands to include instances where social media users don’t have the desired outcome, it’s harder for platforms to say there is none

    The “tool” launched by the administration is, in fact, a Typeform page, which can be set up in a few minutes by anyone. The White House’s wording is broad enough that it might inspire anyone who has ever had a bad experience on a social network to register a complaint. “SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH,” the form shouts. Whether platforms might also seek to moderate hate speech or terrorism (for example) isn’t a question that makes it into the form.
    This being the Trump White House, this new tool also appears to be a grift. As Kevin Roose put it: “The thing about the Trump Facebook bias survey is it’s just going to be used to assemble a voter file, which Trump will then pay Facebook millions of dollars to target with ads about how biased Facebook is.”

    In the meantime, “bias” is defined ever downward. In conservative parlance, it now refers to any instance in which the user of a social platform did not have a desired outcome. You didn’t appear high enough in search results? Your video wasn’t promoted by an algorithm? You were suspended for threatening to kill someone? It’s all just “bias” now.

    And for platforms, that presents a devilish trap. With the definition of “bias” constantly expanding, it becomes harder and harder to argue that it doesn’t happen. Social networks often do make mistakes around content moderation, which they have outsourced to an army of underpaid workers who must deal with near-daily changes to community standards.

    The White House’s view — to the extent that there is such a thing as a White House apart from the whims of the president — is not coherent.

    The call is a non-binding agreement, so signing it would not place any draconian new limits on speech. But it would require the Trump Administration to commit informally to de-radicalizing citizens, supporting academic research into violent extremism, and collaborating with other countries. And it refused.

    Other countries are taking much more aggressive action. Australia and Singapore have proposed onerous new laws against social platforms that require them to remove some content immediately, under penalty of massive fines or even jail time for executives. That helps to explain why the platforms all showed up in Paris today to sign the Christchurch Call, agreeing to take new action to prevent the use of live streaming and other platform technologies to promote terrorist ideologies.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook changes algorithm to promote worthwhile & close friend content

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Endless facepalms.

    56 Percent Of Americans Don’t Think We Should Teach Arabic Numerals In School

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook busts Israel-based campaign to disrupt elections

    Facebook says it has identified a private Israel-based influence campaign aimed at disrupting elections in various countries and has canceled dozens of accounts that engaged in spreading disinformation.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Brainwashing of a Nation

    Brainwashing isn’t a secretive event that takes place in hidden rooms. No hypnotists or vials full of chemicals are required. It takes place every day on a massive scale across the United States.

    Brainwashing isn’t magic, but it can look like magic.

    The art and science of brainwashing is well known. We don’t know it because we choose not to.

    Brainwashing happens every day. It doesn’t have to mean a complete transformation of identity. On the simplest level, it means compelling someone to believe something that isn’t true.

    Almost anyone can be compelled to say anything under enough stress. Many can be forced to believe it. The acid test of brainwashing is whether they will retain that belief once fight-or-flight mode passes.

    How do you brainwash a nation?

    Control the national environment, force a crisis on the country, and tap into their fear and guilt. And then you can outlaw planes, cows, skyscrapers, straws, plastic bags and the rest of the Green New Deal.

    The environmental crisis is just one example of how leftist movements can brainwash a Nation.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nicolas Kristen / Global Editors Network:
    Q&A with Google News creator Krishna Bharat on the impact of AI on journalism, the future of assisted interviews, and AI’s contribution to democratic processes

    Krishna Bharat on the impact of AI on journalism and democracy

    . Krishna Bharat, the creator of Google News, shares his thoughts on AI’s potential contributions to newsrooms and democratic processes as well as ways to democratise AI itself.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finland is winning the war on fake news. What it’s learned may be crucial to Western democracy

    A slide titled “Have you been hit by the Russian troll army?” included a checklist of methods used to deceive readers on social media: image and video manipulations, half-truths, intimidation and false profiles.

    Another slide, featuring a diagram of a Twitter profile page, explained how to identify bots: look for stock photos, assess the volume of posts per day, check for inconsistent translations and a lack of personal information.

    The lesson wrapped with a popular “deepfake”

    The course is part of an anti-fake news initiative launched by Finland’s government in 2014 – two years before Russia meddled in the US elections

    As the trolling ramped up in 2015, President Sauli Niinisto called on every Finn to take responsibility for the fight against false information. A year later, Finland brought in American experts to advise officials on how to recognize fake news, understand why it goes viral and develop strategies to fight it.

    Although it’s difficult to measure the results in real-time, the approach appears to be working, and now other countries are looking to Finland as an example of how to win the war on misinformation.

    “The word ‘fake news’ is thrown around very often,”

    he always asks for the source. “You can never be too sure,”

    “What we have been developing here – combining fact-checking with the critical thinking and voter literacy – is something we have seen that there is an interest in outside Finland,”

    The small and largely homogenous country consistently ranks at or near the top of almost every index – happiness, press freedom, gender equality, social justice, transparency and education – making it difficult for external actors to find fissures within society to crowbar open and exploit.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    John Scott-Railton / The Citizen Lab:
    Inside Endless Mayfly, an Iran-aligned network of websites and online personas used to spread false information targeting Saudi Arabia, the US, and Israel

    Burned After Reading Endless Mayfly’s Ephemeral Disinformation Campaign

    Key Findings

    Endless Mayfly is an Iran-aligned network of inauthentic personas and social media accounts that spreads falsehoods and amplifies narratives critical of Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.
    Endless Mayfly publishes divisive content on websites that impersonate legitimate media outlets. Inauthentic personas are then used to amplify the content into social media conversations. In some cases, these personas also privately and publicly engage journalists, political dissidents, and activists.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment

    From now, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’

    Instead of “climate change” the preferred terms are “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” and “global heating” is favoured over “global warming”, although the original terms are not banned.


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