Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable
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March 28, 2012, 11:40 a.m.
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   March 28, 2012

The venerable liberal political weekly — cofounded by Walter Lippmann, for whom our office building is named — has Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes as its new owner, and he’s decided to open the gates:

We are pleased to announce that, as of today, all articles on the TNR website are now accessible free of charge to subscribers and non-subscribers alike. This decision is in line with our desire to enable new readers to discover and share the best of what TNR’s writers produce each day. While readers will continue to need to subscribe in order to read our content in print or on tablet devices, access to recent TNR content on the web will be free.

A paywall for new articles always seemed like a strange strategy for a magazine whose purpose is to influence political debates, not to make money. TNR’s lost about half of its paid print circulation since 2000.

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Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable
“We were able to demystify this black box, this algorithm that had very scary connotations, and break it down into what ended up being a very simple linear model.”
Fill in the blanks: What’s still missing from the study of fake news? (A whole lot.)
A big new report from the Hewlett Foundation pulls together existing research on social media, political polarization, and disinformation to show where we still need to know more.
Google announces a $300M ‘Google News Initiative’ (though this isn’t about giving out grants directly to newsrooms, like it does in Europe)
Also: an easier subscription flow, $10 million for media literacy in U.S. high schools, fact-checking efforts in search around health issues, and more.