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As election looms, a network of mysterious ‘pink slime’ local news outlets nearly triples in size

As election looms, a network of mysterious ‘pink slime’ local news outlets nearly triples in size

The voice of journalismAugust 4, 2020Figure 1: The organizational structure of the networkFigure 2: A single algorithmically-generated story with different stock photography that appeared across over 850 domains Evolution and Sprawl of the Network in 2020 Figure 3: Metric Media and LGIS # sites per stateFigure 4: Different page ownerships on Facebook for publications within the same networkHas America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Priyanjana Bengani is a senior research fellow at Columbia Journalism School's Tow Center for Digital Journalism.On February 29,...

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3d ago
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The logistical and ethical challenges of sports reporters’ restart

The logistical and ethical challenges of sports reporters’ restart

The voice of journalismJuly 28, 2020In mid-March, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer issued a joint statement: members of the media would henceforth be barred from locker rooms and clubhouses, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The leagues pledged to make players and staff available in more socially-distanced settings, , warning against “unnecessary” limits on their hard-won access, and pointing out that the leagues still intended to let fans attend games. The latter objection, at least, was quickly...

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Jul 28
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The attacks on press freedom in Portland

The attacks on press freedom in Portland

The voice of journalismJuly 24, 2020This week Dave Miller, who hosts a daily talk show on Oregon Public Broadcasting, interviewed “two very tired people”: Tuck Woodstock and Sergio Olmos, both independent journalists. Since late May, daily protests in solidarity with Black lives and against police brutality have taken place in Portland. Local outlets have often sent reporters, but not to cover every protest; mainstream national outlets , when OPB reported that federal agents in unmarked vehicles were snatching protesters off the streets. By contrast, freelancers like Woodstock and Olmos...

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Jul 25
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MSNBC public editor: The goldfish network

MSNBC public editor: The goldfish network

The voice of journalismJuly 16, 2020One of journalism’s biggest jobs, maybe the biggest, is just plain remembering. Too much is going on all the time for people to even begin to take it in coherently. If journalists don’t contextualize events, if they don’t trace out the relevant trajectories, the picture of the world they paint remains chaotic, patternless.And this is how MSNBC operates, continually failing to remember. The network has the memory of a goldfish. If an anchor talks about what happened four years ago, she’ll be congratulated for the depth of her coverage.A few days ago,...

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Jul 19
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Unmasking Certainty

Unmasking Certainty

n early March I was wondering, as many people were, if I should get a face mask. I remember standing in my kitchen watching cable news when a medical expert declared that there was little evidence a mask could prevent our catching , the disease caused by the new coronavirus. People should not wear one, the expert said, unless they were medical workers, were displaying -like symptoms, or were caring for someone who was sick. I relayed that advice to friends and family and repeated some variant of it in The Media Today, the daily newsletter I write for the Columbia Journalism Review.News...

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Jul 8
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Kayleigh McEnany, media critic

Kayleigh McEnany, media critic

The voice of journalismJune 29, 2020Screengrab viaWhen McEnany pivots from reporters’ questions to go off on unrelated diatribes, she is seeking to undermine the credibility not just of individual journalists or outlets, but of journalism itself.THE KICKER:Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Bill Grueskin is on the faculty of Columbia Journalism School. He has previously worked as founding editor of a newspaper on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, city editor of The Miami Herald, deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, and an executive...

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Jul 3
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Spies, Lies, and Stonewalling: What It’s Like to Report on Facebook

Spies, Lies, and Stonewalling: What It’s Like to Report on Facebook

July 1, 2020 It can feel impossible to comprehend Facebook’s total influence—or to overstate its impact on journalism.   “Facebook employs the only comms people who have ever yelled at me.”    What Facebook has become is the press’s assignment editor, its distribution network, its great antagonist, devourer of its ad revenue, and, through corporate secrecy, a massive block to journalism’s core mission of democratic accountability.  Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Jacob Silverman is the author of Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant...

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Jul 2
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How Fox News’s Harris Faulkner showed the way for political journalism

How Fox News’s Harris Faulkner showed the way for political journalism

The voice of journalismJune 16, 2020NEW AT CJR:Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Bill Grueskin is on the faculty of Columbia Journalism School. He has previously worked as founding editor of a newspaper on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, city editor of The Miami Herald, deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, and an executive editor at Bloomberg News. He is a graduate of Stanford University (Classics) and Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (US Foreign Policy and International Economics).The last few months have...

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Jun 18
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Why micropayments will never be a thing in journalism

Why micropayments will never be a thing in journalism

The voice of journalismJune 15, 2020RECENTLY:Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .James Ball is a journalist and author based in London, UK. His latest book is Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered The World.On Tuesday, voters in Georgia went to cast their ballots in primary elections, but many of them found that they could not—or not without a long wait. Voters in the Atlanta area, in particular, faced huge lines and hours-long delays...

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Jun 15
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The Story Has Gotten Away from Us

The Story Has Gotten Away from Us

June 3, 2020For the most part, journalism has decided that the coronavirus and the killing of George Floyd, a forty-six-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis, are two distinct stories. That’s fiction. Floyd’s murder, under the knees of a white police officer—and the demonstrations in response—occurred as part of a cascade of events. There is the history of systemic racism in America, police brutality, and protest. There is the spread of , the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and its economic effects. Floyd had worked as a security guard, alternately at a Salvation Army and a club called...

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Jun 6
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Through the Obamagate

Through the Obamagate

The voice of journalismMay 29, 2020ICYMI:Do we all have to use the word "Obamagate" because the president tweeted this word a bunch of times with no explanation? It doesn't seem like that's a rule.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8)  NEW:Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .David Roth was an editor at Deadspin. He’s from New Jersey and lives in New York.With the world’s attention glued to the coronavirus pandemic, news about anything else has been slipping farther and farther down the proverbial front page. But that doesn’t mean nothing’s been going on. Whether by design...

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May 30
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Covering anti-lockdown protests: ‘Time, distance, and shielding’

Covering anti-lockdown protests: ‘Time, distance, and shielding’

The voice of journalismMay 15, 2020THE MEDIA TODAY:NEW:Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Judith Matloff teaches conflict reporting at Columbia. Her latest book, How To Drag a Body and Other Safety Tips You Hope to Never Need, publishes May 19.In early January, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism published my report, “Media Mecca or News Desert?” Covering Local News in New York City,” which examined how citywide and hyperlocal news organizations allocate diminishing editorial resources, and the challenges they...

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May 20
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The last days of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newsroom

The last days of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newsroom

The voice of journalismMay 13, 2020.Many Guild members gather for a photo in late 2018. Photo used with permission. Employees ask year after year, How much more can they cut? But then I got it. It doesn’t end.The Plain Dealer newsroom in 2013, before print staff was separated from Cleveland.com staff. Photo used with permission. “The layoff may have ended my thankful time in newspapers, but it did not end my dedication to story telling,” Branson Wright, a longtime Plain Dealer sports reporter, wrote in a Facebook . Music critic Chuck Yarborough the column he was never able to publish. Grant...

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May 20
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Ronan Farrow, Ben Smith, and the problem of the superstar journalist

Ronan Farrow, Ben Smith, and the problem of the superstar journalist

The voice of journalismMay 19, 2020“Is Ronan Farrow too good to be true?” With that question—which, let’s be honest, we’ve all thought at one point or another—Ben Smith, the New York Times media columnist, made the case that the answer is “yes,” and launched a New York media spat for the ages. , Smith allowed that he’d long “marveled” over Farrow’s ability “to shine a light on some of the defining stories of our time,” but that “some aspects of his work made me wonder if Mr. Farrow didn’t, at times, fly a little too close to the sun.” He then proceeded to comb through Farrow’s back...

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May 20
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The good-news trend: Uplifting? Delusional? Both?

The good-news trend: Uplifting? Delusional? Both?

The voice of journalismApril 21, 2020ICYMI:  Other notable storiesICYMI: Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Mathew Ingram is CJR’s chief digital writer. Previously, he was a senior writer with Fortune magazine. He has written about the intersection between media and technology since the earliest days of the commercial internet. His writing has been published in the Washington Post and the Financial Times as well as by Reuters and Bloomberg.A viral pandemic isn’t the same thing as a war. But as I’ve tried to work and lead a semblance of normal life in New...

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Apr 22
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The Ethics of Predictive Journalism

The Ethics of Predictive Journalism

The voice of journalismApril 15, 2020, the first general-purpose digital computer, was put into production in 1951. By 1952 journalists at CBS were already using it to predict the outcome of the presidential election based on early vote returns. They even featured it live on air:Almost seventy years later, journalists are still at it.In the past decade the early successes of Nate Silver and his site FiveThirtyEight have helped solidify data-driven election prediction as an important—even expected—product from major newsrooms. We’ve also seen predictive data journalism applied to a growing...

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Apr 15
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No, journalism can’t wait until ‘after this war is over’

No, journalism can’t wait until ‘after this war is over’

The voice of journalismMarch 30, 2020Yesterday morning, the homepage of the New York Times made for grim reading. “NYC’s 911 system is overwhelmed,” one headline read. “Who should be saved first?” another asked, “Experts offer ethical guidance.” Amid the coverage of the present, horrifying state of things, , at the period between late January and early March. It did not offer readers any respite; rather, it traced the current problems to a “lost month” during which officials’ failure to test widely for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, “blinded the US” to its advance. Six...

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Apr 10
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How the COVID Tracking Project fills the public health data gap

How the COVID Tracking Project fills the public health data gap

The voice of journalismMarch 24, 2020READ:Before our update, we wanted to show you why we do this. Tracking testing data in the U.S. has been a challenge. The CDC is currently publishing incomplete data that lags several days behind state reports. We collect and clean the state data. Here’s how the two datasets differ:— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) If we can help states clean up their data, understand what people need to know, and maybe keep their websites from falling over, that’s a piece we definitely want to be doing.THE MEDIA TODAY:Has America ever needed a media...

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Apr 10
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Hundreds of ‘pink slime’ local news outlets are distributing algorithmic stories and conservative talking points

Hundreds of ‘pink slime’ local news outlets are distributing algorithmic stories and conservative talking points

December 18, 2019n increasingly popular tactic challenges Figure 1: Breakdown of sites across networks, including the sites for multiple corporate entities or parent organizations (“Organizations”) such as LGIS, Franklin Archer, Metro Business Network, or Dan Proft’s PAC Liberty Principles. Figure 2: Network graph of shared IP addresses; each different edge colour represents a different IP address Figure 3: Network graph of shared Google Analytics IDs; each different edge colour represents a different Google Analytics ID Figure 4: Network graph of the single shared NewRelic IDFigure 5:...

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Apr 9
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The death of Hungary’s democracy is a worldwide press-freedom warning

The death of Hungary’s democracy is a worldwide press-freedom warning

The voice of journalismApril 1, 2020On Friday—as concern spread internationally about Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, using the cover of the coronavirus to consolidate his personal power— in which Judit Varga, Orbán’s justice minister, lashed out at the country’s critics. “False claims about a power grab in Hungary are spreading as quickly as the coronavirus,” Varga wrote; Orbán’s government, she argued, is being slandered by “Western European thinkers” who don’t like its “coherent, Christian-Conservative policy,” and by a “leftist-liberal media” that doesn’t like its...

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Apr 9
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In coronavirus coverage, a tricky balance between scrutiny and amplification

In coronavirus coverage, a tricky balance between scrutiny and amplification

The voice of journalismMarch 23, 2020Remember when the Sunday shows were filled with , or ? In recent weeks, as the coronavirus crisis has taken hold and relegated recent huge stories to the realm of distant memory, administration officials—Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and others—have (often virtually) made the rounds. Yesterday, it was the turn of Peter Gaynor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, who appeared on ABC, NBC, and CNN. On the latter network, Jake Tapper tried to pin Gaynor down on the number of protective masks the federal...

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Mar 24
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How journalists around the world are covering the coronavirus

How journalists around the world are covering the coronavirus

The voice of journalismMarch 17, 2020The coronavirus is shaping up to be a multifaceted crisis for US journalism. ——have muddied the picture we’ve tried to present to readers and viewers. Public-health restrictions, including newsroom closures, , and—along with the worsening economic picture—. The US media is not alone in facing such problems; as with the virus itself, these challenges are global, but subject to important local variation. This morning, I looked into the media response in four other countries: the UK, Italy, France, and South Korea.Last week, reports circulated that the UK...

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Mar 20
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Under Trump, media companies are emboldened against employee unionizing

Under Trump, media companies are emboldened against employee unionizing

The voice of journalismJanuary 30, 2020ICYMI:RELATED:Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Jessica Meiselman Jessica Meiselman is a lawyer and writer in Brooklyn. She has been published in Vice, Pitchfork, Vanity Fair, Artsy, and Billboard.Yesterday morning I woke up, realized I was low on espresso, and went to the supermarket down the street to stock up. As I drank my coffee on the balcony of my apartment, in Milan, I listened to trams rumble...

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Mar 13
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Felicia Sonmez and the tyranny of the social-media policy

Felicia Sonmez and the tyranny of the social-media policy

The voice of journalismJanuary 29, 2020This article was also published by.On Sunday——many people on Twitter stressed that we should also remember the time he was credibly accused of raping a hotel worker in Colorado. (Bryant denied the claim, but later settled with the woman, and said he understood “how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”) One such tweeter was Felicia Sonmez, a politics reporter at the Washington Post. Sonmez has consistently been vocal on issues of sexual assault; in 2018, , who then worked for the LA Times. (Another woman made a similar claim; Kaiman,...

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Mar 13
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Op-ed: What ‘Death of the Newspaper’ stories leave out

Op-ed: What ‘Death of the Newspaper’ stories leave out

The voice of journalismMarch 11, 2020ARCHIVES:Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by .Ryan Binkley and Francis Wick are the authors. Binkley is the CEO of Anchorage Daily News. He and his siblings brought the paper out of bankruptcy in 2017 and today publish one daily and four weekly papers around Alaska. Wick is the third generation CEO of Wick Communications, a 95-year-old family business based in Sierra Vista Arizona, which publishes 10 daily and 14 weekly papers across 11 states.Yesterday morning I woke up, realized I was low on espresso, and went to the...

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Mar 13
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