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The Nieman Journalism Lab is an attempt to help journalism figure out its future in an Internet age.

18 October 2018

Trump’s USA Today op-ed demonstrates why it’s time to unbundle news and opinion content

“At a time when both the public and algorithms are trying to understand what journalism means and how to distinguish between news and opinion, publishers should make it more clear what makes journalism special.” Article by Eli Pariser originally published on Niemanlab. A friend who works at a major tech platform recently posed an interesting […]
11 October 2018

More research suggests that Twitter’s fake news “strategy” is either ineffective or nonexistent

“The persistence of so many easily identified abusive accounts is difficult to square with any effective crackdown.” Article by Laura Hazard Owen originally published on Niemanlab. Enough with the “whack-a-mole” claims that as soon as you ban one fake news site, another one pops up: A report released by Knight on Thursday finds that most of the […]
12 September 2018

Saying “I can just Google it” and then actually Googling it are two different things

Plus other findings from a new study’s interviews with that increasingly common creature, the “news avoider.” Article by Christine Schmidt originally published on Niemanlab. “If I needed to know something, then somebody would probably knock at my door and tell me.” That’s the sentiment of one participant in a study on how “news avoiders” — infrequent […]
26 July 2018

On a big story like the Helsinki Trump/Putin summit, Google News’ algorithm isn’t up to the task

The algorithm that ranks content can make some truly strange decisions. What set of signals is Google News looking for?
22 July 2018

What kind of information — not just content — do you need as a news consumer?

Pulse, a project launched by Sarah Alvarez and Andrew Haeg, aims to help news organizations text their communities to find out. Article by Christine Schmidt originally published on Niemanlab. For all the questions journalists ask, sometimes one of the most important ones can get lost in the shuffle: What do you, as a reader/​listener/​viewer/​news absorber, need? […]
12 July 2018

“In 2018, coherence is bad journalism, bordering on malpractice.” Here’s how to do better (with some help from conflict mediators)

“The goal is not to wash away the conflict; it’s to help people wade in and out of the muck (and back in again) with their humanity intact.”
28 June 2018

These are the three types of bias that explain all the fake news, pseudoscience, and other junk in your News Feed

Indiana University researchers “have found that steep competition for users’ limited attention means that some ideas go viral despite their low quality — even when people prefer to share high-quality content.”
7 June 2018

People Want to Know About People

Environment journalism fails when we forget about people
31 May 2018

Is your fake news about immigrants or politicians? It all depends on where you live

Plus: Facebook is accepting proposals for fake news research, and fake news was growing as a topic of media discussion even before the U.S. presidential election.
17 May 2018

Google News gets an update, with more AI-driven curation, more labeling, more reader controls (fingers crossed for no AI flops)

Google announced a shiny new iteration of the Google News app on Tuesday as part of its I/O developer conference (here’s a good collection of all the other announcements from I/O, which runs until Thursday). Google News has started rolling out and should be available to basically everyone by “next week”; the app will replace the existing […]
10 May 2018

Is audience engagement a mushy construct based on anecdata — or something audiences actually want?

“You know what? There doesn’t need to be data. We all know this to be true.”
12 April 2018

Facebook is adding a button to let users get more “background information” (aka information from Wikipedia pages) on publishers

Facebook is adding an additional information button to news articles surfaced in the News Feed that will let users click through to see (1) background pulled from the Wikipedia page about the publisher, (2) other articles recently posted by the publisher, and (3) a heat map of where in the world the article is being […]
5 April 2018

This is how Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook targeting model really worked — according to the person who built it

The method was similar to the one Netflix uses to recommend movies — no crystal ball, but good enough to make an effective political tool.
29 March 2018

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica fallout continues. Data breach? No. Pretty bad? Yes

Hidden cameras. Leadership disagreements. And, oh yeah, misinformation is still a problem.
22 March 2018

Could students’ media literacy be compared across countries, like math scores?

Plus: YouTube’s sad reliance on Wikipedia, a problem with Pinterest, and how countries around the world are fighting misinformation.
15 March 2018

Living in a sea of false signals: Are we being pushed from “trust, but verify” to “verify, then trust”?

uzzFeed’s fake-news reporter outlines some of the dangers ahead: “We have a human problem on our hands. Our cognitive abilities are in some ways overmatched by what we have created.”
8 March 2018

How photojournalism can survive the digital revolution (and your short attention span)

“How many photographs have crossed your screen today? Dozens? Hundreds? How many have you looked at? How many did you really see?”
1 March 2018

With in-article chat bots, BBC is experimenting with new ways to introduce readers to complex topics

“For us, this is a way to let people read and ask questions at their own pace, instead of having them read through long screens of text. Often people aren’t engaged in stories because they haven’t had the right context.”
21 February 2018

Should we consider fake news another form of (not particularly effective) political persuasion — or something more dangerous?

Plus: The lines between “fake news” and psyops, the Russians shared real news too, and “reality apathy.”
15 February 2018

Crowdsourcing trusted news sources can work — but not the way Facebook says it’ll do it

A new study finds asking Facebook users about publishers could “be quite effective in decreasing the amount of misinformation and disinformation circulating on social media” — but Facebook will need to make one important change to its plan.
8 February 2018

The era of “truth decay”: 12 things we still don’t know about our weird time

For example: How could we increase public demand for fact-based information? Would incentives work? Article by Laura Hazard Owen. Originally posted on Niemanlab. The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed. […]
17 January 2018

Good journalism won’t be enough

“If journalists want the public to listen, then journalists have to listen to the public. If journalists want the public to care, then journalists have to care about the public.”
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