Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
July 2, 2013, 11:59 a.m.
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   July 2, 2013

Luke Dittrich might be my favorite magazine writer, and his “The Prophet” — a skeptical profile of Dr. Eben Alexander — will be in August’s Esquire. But the magazine’s also posting it for sale separately on its website. Editor David Granger:

This is the first time we’ve asked online readers to pay for a story, but for good reason: Because stories like Dittrich’s matter and they don’t come along often. Because great journalism — and the months that go into creating it — isn’t free. So, besides providing the story to readers of our print and digital-tablet versions of the August issue, we are offering it to online readers as a stand-alone purchase. Thank you.

Great journalism, indeed, isn’t free. It’s paid for by full-page Salvatore Ferragamo ads.

Felix Salmon found the purchasing process taxing:

I didn’t have the same issues — a quick PayPal payment, pick a password, and you’re done. (Esquire’s using Tinypass.) Without giving away too much, it’s also worth noting that this is barely even a paywall technically. Very easy to evade with a well-timed keystroke or a trip to the web inspector. I would imagine that Esquire, like The New York Times, will probably leave its initial paid-content experiments intentionally leaky and tighten up over time.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
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.