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This is how an Iranian network created a “disinformation supply chain” to spread fake news
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Nov. 14, 2018, 10:08 a.m.
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LINK: www.theguardian.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   November 14, 2018

At The Guardian, Jim Waterson has the story:

The Financial Times is automatically warning its journalists if their articles quote too many men, in an attempt to force writers to look for expert women to include in their pieces.

The media organisation found that only 21% of people quoted in the FT were women, prompting the development of a bot that uses pronouns and analysis of first names to determine whether a source is male or a female. Section editors will then be alerted if they are not doing enough to feature women in their stories.

The FT, long stuffed full with the male voice of finance, has made a number of recent efforts to increase its representation of and interest to women, as our Laura Hazard Owen has detailed in a couple of stories earlier this year.

In April, she noted the creation of a “new newsletter aimed at (but not explicitly ‘for’) women that is now beating the FT’s other newsletters in terms of open rate,” regular promotion of articles that are over-indexing with women, and changes in the opinion section to encourage women to submit pieces. Here’s Renée Kaplan, the paper’s first-ever head of audience engagement:

We asked [women in a focus group], “If you could picture the FT as a person, how would you picture that person?” To a woman, they all said they pictured a man. We realized that if that was the perception of the brand or the product in general, then naturally women didn’t feel represented, or they felt that it was useful, but not for them…

Our research had shown that what women really wanted and what we didn’t necessarily have was something that would allow them to catch up with the news and would give them a sense that they could get to the FT content they were afraid of missing. They were also put off by our tone. So could we create an FT product that was more approachable and conversational, and felt different from that neutral or male tone of voice? Could we create something that was easier for them to access and share?

Then in September, she reported more on the changes within the FT’s opinion section, speaking with opinion and analysis editor Brooke Taylor:

I have a basic rule that either one of the three or one of the four [online opinion columns], depending on what day it is, is by a woman. I’d like to get to 50 percent, but we’re not there. We never tracked it before I took over, but my impression is that in terms of commentators, we were running about 20 percent women. Now we routinely hit 30 percent, and some weeks we’re 40 percent. We check it every week. I haven’t set a formal goal, but I watch it and want it not to get worse. It’s not a quota, but we do pay attention to it.

Photo of a woman reading the FT by Lars Plougmann used under a Creative Commons license.

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