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Rob Orchard, editor, Delayed Gratification, explains why being ‘last to breaking news’ can often help readers better understand the world around them

While Facebook continues its apology tour — including making a full-page statement in print — news organizations might not want to get too comfortable, thanks to online tracking-based advertising. Doc Searls shared some thoughts on what he sees as the hypocrisy of news organizations covering Facebook’s data privacy debacle as their own sites harvest data on visitors:

In the immediate aftermath of newsworthy incidents, the debunking of fakes now takes up a much larger part of verification work compared to when I first started in the field in mid-2011. Only a few years ago, most of the unreliable information seemed to come from people making mischief or trying to show that they were in the know. Now, systematic manipulation of online information appears to be widespread.

Two years, two dozen experiments, one Brexit and one U.S. presidential election, and hundreds of thousands of readers later, the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab has wrapped up its work on improving news delivery on smartphones.

It’s examined better formats for push notifications, a web player for podcasts, offline news reading experiences, live polling, and article formats that automatically adjust to readers’ past reading behaviors. It’s worked in public, from setting up the initial questions and problems to gathering user feedback on each project. It’s also deliberately centered its work around off-platform experiences publishers can more easily own — no “how to make good AMP stories” here (platform representatives were invited, but none apparently showed).

Philanthropic foundations are interested in tackling the fake news problem — but where do they put their money? When the Hewlett Foundation — the philanthropy founded by the Hewlett family of Hewlett-Packard fame — started looking at how it could get involved after the 2016 presidential election, it found most money was either going “upstream” or “downstream” rather than midstream.

Google announces a $300M ‘Google News Initiative’ (though this isn’t about giving out grants directly to newsrooms, like it does in Europe)

NEW YORK — Google said Tuesday it’s committing $300 million over three years towards various products and initiatives intended to help news publishers and sweeten Google’s relationships with them, as part of an umbrella initiative it’s calling the Google News Initiative.

The name recalls Google’s Digital News Initiative, through which the company gives out €150 million over three years to “help stimulate innovation in digital journalism” among European publishers. (A round of grants is open for project applications now, by the way.) This Google News Initiative is not that.

YouTube turns to Wikipedia to help debunk conspiracy theories spreading on its platform


For years, YouTube has been plagued with videos that spread hoaxes, hateful speech, and all manner of misinformation. Its latest move to combat that is to display links to Wikipedia articles when you watch conspiracy theory videos, said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at SXSW this week. Wired noted that the new Information Cues feature would surface links to Wikipedia pages on videos about things like chemtrails and whether humans have ever landed on the moon. YouTube will first supplement videos that focus on common conspiracy theories floating around the web this way. Every single video on the YouTube trending page…

Why Did Women Journalists Strike in Spain?

Photograph of the march shared publicly by journalist Elisa Piñeiro, used with permission. Sign reads “Journalists on strike.”

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