Ian Silvera
Ian Silvera
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How Vice reports on election disinformation

How Vice reports on election disinformation

SubscribeThe murky world of active measures has been at least defined since the middle of the last century when the Soviets codified this crafty practice of political warfare. An early success was Operation Trust, when a fake network of anti-Bolshevik underground organizations collectively known as ‘The Trust’ (originally dubbed the ‘Monarchist Association of Central Russia’) operated between 1921 and 1926. In effect, it was the counter-intelligence equivalent of a fly trap, with unwitting victims, most notably Boris Savinkov and Sidney Reilly, paying with their lives. The initiative, led...

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Ian Silvera
19h ago
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How internal prediction markets can help media outlets

How internal prediction markets can help media outlets

SubscribeThe American public were quickly and unceremoniously introduced to the world of prediction markets in 2003. Word had reached two senators of the blandly branded Policy Analysis Market (PAM), part of the Future Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP) project from another tedious acronym, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The initiative was launched in May 2001, just months before al Qaeda’s September 11th attacks on the US, and was designed to help improve decision-making by forecasting military and political (in)stability around the world. Created between...

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Ian Silvera
Nov 16
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Why virtual media events are here to stay 

Why virtual media events are here to stay 

SubscribeTalk of a big Spring return to normality is an exaggeration. Most people want to continue to work-from-home (see these and surveys) and some companies, most notably the large technology businesses, have told staffers that they can continue to stay crouched over their laptops in the (dis)comfort of their living rooms throughout 2021. The other overlooked element of our new work-from-home culture is that it could easily become another must have perk for recruiters to lure potential employees in with. If your firm doesn’t offer it, perhaps a competitor will? For other businesses,...

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Ian Silvera
Nov 13
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How Trump changed the future of political journalism

How Trump changed the future of political journalism

SubscribeHe burst into the White House thanks to wall-to-wall coverage of his campaign speeches, made-for-TV antics and his rallies; he was booted out by the American people as broadcasters cut away from his anti-concession speech. Donald Trump’s most lasting legacy could therefore be on the practices, codes and considerations of modern political journalism. The big testFor starters, the Republican has left right-wing media with a purity test that Fox News is currently falling foul of by not unquestionably backing his false claims. Will others, perhaps even Trump himself, take-up that...

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Ian Silvera
Nov 9
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The paywall problem no one is talking about

The paywall problem no one is talking about

SubscribeTwitter isn’t just a social media platform, it’s a search and discovery tool as well, especially for journalists. That’s why it’s surprising that a bigger thing hasn’t been made out of accessing paywalled articles off its app. Here’s the issue: having already logged into outlets on the main Safari browser, a staple feature of the iPhone, FN and others have been consistently sent via Twitter to a new tab where you are asked for login details once again. Sure, you can easily input those in there, but the whole exercise adds friction to the news-reading process, deterring potential...

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Ian Silvera
Nov 2
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Why a top Axios investor will 'take its focus off' media

Why a top Axios investor will 'take its focus off' media

SubscribeThe big news out of VC land the other day was that Greycroft had raised $680m to invest in early and growth stage start-ups across two new funds. The New York and LA-based investor has backed the likes of Axios, Bird and Bumble, which is reportedly planning a 2021 IPO, in the past. Greycroft co-founder and partner Dana Settle, however,that media assets, such as past investee Huffington Post (Greycroft exited in 2011 and Verizon now owns the business), will be ‘less of a focus’ for the firm going forward. Greycroft is instead looking for businesses with subscription-backed models in...

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Ian Silvera
Oct 9
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Inside the fundamentals of GB News

Inside the fundamentals of GB News

SubscribeBuilding shows around opinionated hosts and their teams is very much the play of the UK’s next news channel. GB News will launch early next year after completing a funding round led by Discovery (which has a market cap of more than $10bn) next month and having nabbed Spectator boss Andrew Neil, who co-founded Sky TV, off the BBC. The Scotsman told Sky News recently that the $55m to $65m reported target wasn’t far off the actual amount the channel is looking to raise, although it’s in sterling rather than dollars. As for other public information about and around GB News it’s fairly...

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Ian Silvera
Oct 2
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Expect Microsoft Word on steroids

Expect Microsoft Word on steroids

SubscribeThey’ve been knocking around since the 1980s, but it now, finally, looks like spell and grammar-checkers will get seriously suped-up and change the copywriting world, including print journalism, marketing and anything else that uses sentences, along with it. That’s because , the producer of the GPT-3 (or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) language model. It’s early days yet, so we’ll calm the hype, but the deep learning system is able to produce . Why is this development so important? Because Open AI can use Microsoft’s heft, including its mass reach, to eventually roll GPT-3...

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Ian Silvera
Sep 28
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Why Facebook's political ad stance spells danger for publishers and democracy

Why Facebook's political ad stance spells danger for publishers and democracy

SubscribeMark Zuckerberg is in preemption mode. The Facebook founder and CEO became the left’s bogeyman after Donald Trump’s surprise White House election victory in 2016. It was his social network, which now has, that allowed untruths and misinformation to spread and infiltrate the collective US political psyche, so the story goes. In actuality, American voters are much more sophisticated than Hilary Clinton’s supporters would care to admit and a peer-reviewed study in Nature Human Behaviour proved this point this year when researchers found exposure to untrustworthy websites on Facebook...

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Ian Silvera
Sep 4
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How a Politico newsletter is put together

How a Politico newsletter is put together

SubscribeForget grand strategies more suited to chess or checkers, tricky trade negotiations are often held-up in a diplomatic stink by something much more mundane and sometimes mouldy – cheese. This is a lactose-high fact that Graham Lanktree () has encountered since joining Politico at the start of July. Since then he has gone on to report on how US tariffs are and how Stilton almost derailed the UK’s. The reason this unlikely story made the national news? Lanktree spotted a mention of the blue cheese in the Japanese press and tipped off Politico’s Lobby team, who duly quizzed Number 10...

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Ian Silvera
Sep 1
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Why one journalist chose to go freelance during the pandemic

Why one journalist chose to go freelance during the pandemic

SubscribeAt first, it sounds as mad as becoming a one-legged bull fighter. On second thoughts, it starts to seem more like entering the taxi trade long after Uber has taken over your town. Eventually, though, turning freelance during a global pandemic, on-and-off lockdowns and a deep worldwide economic recession almost appears to be rational – where there is uncertainty, there is opportunity, or something like that. For Josh Lowe (), formerly of Prospect Magazine, Newsweek and Apolitical fame, entering this notoriously unstable world (at the best of times) as the journalistic job cuts came...

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Ian Silvera
Aug 28
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Bundles can save local news outlets from ‘winner takes it all’ model

Bundles can save local news outlets from ‘winner takes it all’ model

SubscribeThey get their talent from them, they often get their stories from them and they sometimes rely on them. National outlets have a vested interest in keeping local and regional outlets alive and one way of doing this would be the creation of consumer-friendly bundles. A subscriber could sign-up for a national and get an additional publication for a discounted rate. If you lived in Florida, for instance, you may want to receive the Miami Herald and The New York Times. In the UK, someone in the West Midlands may want the Birmingham Mail and The Telegraph. The main problem, which...

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Ian Silvera
Aug 24
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What Spotify, NYT and News Corp earnings tell us about the state of journalism

What Spotify, NYT and News Corp earnings tell us about the state of journalism

SubscribeWe should start to look at major podcast outlets more like book publishers. There is a mix of big-name celebrity signings, ever-green non-fiction content (for books it’s cooking, for podcasts its mindfulness) and independently produced content. A point in case would be Michelle Obama, who recently launched her new podcast, Higher Ground, exclusively on Spotify. The former First Lady has also released her own playlist to promote the pod. Not only does Spotify attract potential new subscribers to its platform via Obama’s involvement, but her content is also regularly aggregated and...

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Ian Silvera
Aug 10
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Not on the record royals

Not on the record royals

SubscribeA three-word riff pops up time and again in the serialised version of the latest book to uncover the personal machinations of the British monarchy. We continually hear from ‘sources close to’ and ‘sources in’ the three main households of focus, including Buckingham Palace (The Queen), Kensington Palace (William and Kate) and the ‘Sussexes’ (Harry and Megan).  Finding Freedom, by journalists Omid Scobie () and Carolyn Durand (), has been praised for its balance and good sourcing, but the authors have failed to get any of the big royal guns on the record, an occupational hazard when...

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Ian Silvera
Jul 29
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