Nieman Foundation at Harvard
FTC: Let digital subscribers click to cancel. Newspapers: Hey, not so fast.
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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.
December 1, 2021
“The strategy works because the platforms continue to reward engagement over everything else, even when that engagement comes from publications that also publish false or misleading content.” (Epoch Media, parent company of The Epoch Times, racked up nearly four billion views using the tactic.) SS
New York Times / Davey Alba / Dec 1
Back in 2019, Amazon founder (and Washington Post owner) Jeff Bezos accused the Enquirer of attempting to extort him with texts and photos — and his security team suggested Saudi Arabia might have been involved. Separate investigations were conducted by the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and have closed without public action.
WSJ / Corinne Ramey, Dustin Volz, and Aruna Viswanatha / Dec 1
“All this right-wing divergence comes down to the reality that Newsmax and OAN have far more to gain with Sohn at the FCC than more traditional conservatives backed by telecom interests thanks to the regulator’s record of favoring independent programmers. Though that’s generally been considered a ‘liberal’ position, it nonetheless benefits right-wing upstarts trying to take on traditionally entrenched media as well.”
Gizmodo / Mack DeGeurin / Dec 1
“By gathering information from ‘sources’ and passing it to his brother’s staff, Cuomo committed the more egregious step of directly mixing the journalistic work of calling sources and gathering information with his personal, familial commitments.”
Columbia Journalism Review / Jon Allsop / Dec 1
“What makes Twitter such a baffling company to analyze is that the company’s cultural impact so dramatically outweighs its financial results; last quarter Twitter’s $1.3 billion in revenue amounted to 4.4% of Facebook’s $29.0 billion, and yet you can make the case — and I believe it — that Twitter’s overall impact on the world is just as if not larger than its drastically larger peer.”
Stratechery / Ben Thompson / Dec 1
The once-lauded former “60 Minutes” correspondent compared Dr. Fauci to an infamous Nazi doctor on Fox News. It was just one of many inflammatory and conspiracy-tinged comments she’s made in the years since she left CBS.
Washington Post / Jeremy Barr / Dec 1
The anchor used media contacts to gather information about women who accused his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, of sexual harassment.
The Guardian / Dec 1
November 30, 2021
“Lots of other apps are trying to create the TikTok of audio — Facebook chief among them, along with many decently funded startups focusing on shortform audio. Hinge didn’t set out to make a viral feature that would come with wide-ranging network effects, or at least Parsons says that wasn’t the intent. So why did this take off? For a couple reasons, I think. For one: Hinge already has a massive network. It’s been downloaded more than 5 million times and has a better shot of making a feature popular over a startup.”
The Verge / Ashley Carman / Nov 30
“Hosting a prime-time television show is a privilege, not a right. Chris Cuomo doesn’t need to be drummed out of journalism, but he does need to face repercussions. By keeping Cuomo on the air and in his job, CNN would send the message that journalistic ethics are only for the little people and viewers are on their own. Cuomo should take some time off and reflect on his chosen profession—and if and when he comes back, perhaps he should choose a new beat.”
The Atlantic / David A. Graham / Nov 30
“Since 2005, about 2,200 local newspapers across America have closed. In a new local news issue, the Washington Post Magazine asked local news journalists about the stories in danger of being lost.”
The Washington Post Magazine / Whitney Joiner and Alexa McMahon / Nov 30