Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Why “Sorry, I don’t know” is sometimes the best answer: The Washington Post’s technology chief on its first AI chatbot
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What We’re Reading
We keep an eye out for the most interesting stories about Labby subjects: digital media, startups, the web, journalism, strategy, and more. Here’s some of what we’ve seen lately.
July 23, 2024
“One of the primary issues that prompted Ramirez’s resignation was the requirement to include at least three stories produced by Sinclair’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) on a nightly basis…a look at the RRT’s stories over the course of the year shows that the group frequently produces pieces that have more in common with right-wing agitprop than journalism.”
Popular Information / Judd Legum / Jul 23
“You might say that AI companies are outsourcing the difficult and costly task of making contentious and disputed claims to the industry [the news industry] that is qualified, or at least willing, to do it, hopefully paying enough to keep the enterprises afloat.”
Intelligencer / John Herrman / Jul 23
“Slack finding its way onto all of our devices has already made work feel like a nonstop thing. If you really want to bring more work into your life, adding these widgets could go even further, putting work front and center every time you open your phone.”
The Verge / Andrew Liszewski / Jul 23
“Almost 200 volunteers have participated to varying degrees in our projects. Their dedication enables us to remain operational without external funding, keeping the project non-profit.”
IJNet / Wei Xing / Jul 23
“Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice, says customers shouldn’t be ‘lured into’ thinking they won’t see ads if they pay the subscription, or that it’s free despite the company profiting from their personal data. Companies must be transparent upfront about how they use user data, he added.”
The Verge / Wes Davis / Jul 23
“So we thought, well, rather than sell licenses for brands to have access to use this tool in their own way, why don’t we launch loads of our own newsletters that we own…publications that we own, where they’re all powered by this AI and we can generate our revenue by selling advertising, sponsorship and lead gen with these newsletters?”
Press Gazette / Charlotte Tobitt / Jul 23
“Semafor Gulf will launch with a team of staff reporters as well as columnists covering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and will continue to expand through 2025.”
Semafor / Jul 23
“BBC headcount has fallen by 2,000 — or 10% — over the past five years, the corporation said, and a further 500 net public service posts will go over the next 20 months. A voluntary redundancy scheme was launched today. Headcount this year sat at 17,611.”
Deadline / Max Goldbart / Jul 23
“The legal demand from Condé Nast comes a month after Forbes sent a similar letter to Perplexity, accusing it of infringing Forbes’ copyright. In Condé Nast’s letter, sent on Monday, the publisher accused Perplexity of plagiarizing its content. The challenge adds to a growing tide of legal actions facing AI startups over their use of news outlets’ content for training their large-language models.”
The Information / Sahil Patel and Stephanie Palazzolo / Jul 23
“But ‘The Trial of Hunter Biden,’ a six-part miniseries released on the Fox Nation streaming platform in 2022, portrayed an imagined courtroom prosecution of Biden on charges of violating bribery and foreign-agent laws that he has never faced in real life.”
The Washington Post / Amy Argetsinger / Jul 23