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Freedom’s just another word for “not sure what to do”
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Articles by Joshua Benton

Joshua Benton founded Nieman Lab in 2008 and served as its director until 2020; he is now the Lab’s senior writer. Before spending a year at Harvard as a 2008 Nieman Fellow, he spent a decade in newspapers, mostly at The Dallas Morning News. His reports on cheating on standardized tests in the Texas public schools led to the permanent shutdown of a school district and won the Philip Meyer Journalism Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has reported from a dozen foreign countries, been a Pew Fellow in International Journalism, and three times been a finalist for the Livingston Award for International Reporting. Before Dallas, he was a reporter and occasional rock critic for The Toledo Blade. He wrote his first HTML in January 1994.
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NPR’s new ethics policy allows its journalists to advocate publicly for “the freedom and dignity of human beings.” But good luck figuring out which visions of “freedom” are now fair game.
And what does “retraumatizing” mean, anyway? You won’t get PTSD reading this story, because when you’re done, you’ll know that’s a really inappropriate use of “PTSD.”
Among the 20 biggest dailies, nearly two-thirds of their newsrooms are run by a woman or a person of color (or both). But newsrooms still have a long way to go to be reflective of the communities they serve.
News Corp’s painfully named news aggregator promised to somehow battle “crass clickbait,” filter bubbles, media bias, and two trillion-dollar companies, all at once. It ended up being a D-minus Drudge clone and OnlyFans blog.
The marketplace for online news has thus far rewarded (a) premium quality and (b) local connection. USA Today’s digital subscription offering seems likely, in its current form at least, to fall between those two stools.
Management of the justice-and-policing-focused news org: “It became clear that The Appeal could not continue in its current form.” Staffers: “Today we are officially announcing the worker-led effort to relaunch The Appeal.”
Google’s trying to figure out how to satisfy privacy advocates without crippling its gazillion-dollar ad business — or poking regulators around the world. Now, the company says it needs more time, and publishers should take advantage.
The U.K. wants to regulate Netflix and other streaming services the same way it does British TV networks — including punishments for “bias” and “inaccuracy.” Meanwhile, Nigeria wants to do something similar, but in a more authoritarian context.
And to get permission before even talking to a book agent.
The news alerts you send to iPhones might be about to disappear from your users’ screens. The bedrock metric of the newsletter business just got murdered. (But there’s good news, too.)