The suicide bombing in a busy shopping district in downtown Istanbul on Saturday, March 19, was the second such attack in Turkey in the space of a week, and the fourth major terror attack in 2016. Rumours are a natural part of the grieving process, a way for people to make sense of the world around them, especially in times of risk or danger. But they can also be dangerously misleading, and are often used in unstable areas for political reasons, sowing fear and distrust among a population trying to come to terms with trauma.
Journalists and news organisations have a duty to investigate rumours, but also to report the truth. Here we hope to set the record straight on 10 rumours and falsehoods which spread in the wake of the recent attacks in Turkey.
Editor’s note: There are a lot of great stories to read in the newest issue of our sister publication Nieman Reports. In this piece, a transcript of a talk given here at Lippmann House, Marshall Project managing editor Gabriel Dance talks about the evolving relationship between media and technology, Facebook, and the importance of collaborators in the newsroom.
Harvard’s Yochai Benkler has been called “the leading intellectual of the information age.” His 2006 book The Wealth of Networks was a key document of Internet optimism, outlining how commons-based peer production could create new and better kinds of cultural production:
After years of anticipation and waiting, the Oculus Rift VR headset is finally here. Facebook-owned Oculus began shipping pre-ordered headsets today. The Rift retails for $599 — plus you need a special high-powered PC to run the VR headset. (Sorry Mac owners.) If you want to order a Rift today, it won’t ship until July.
On March 21 2006, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet – “just setting up my twttr“. Originally intended as a social network based on SMS, the 140 characters available have been used to foster debate on issues of global importance; build businesses and social movements; revolutionise the way information travels; and – perhaps most importantly – report breaking news in real time.
The Times’ attempts to wrestle with its digital identity was summed up last year by the company’s then head of branding as the “grandpa in a nightclub” problem. Avoiding such potential awkwardness, it would seem to follow, means either not going to the nightclub or being less of a grandpa.
It’s a vivid metaphor, but ultimately both the nightclub and grandpa are bound to change. For now, this tension comes as the journalism industry (legacy and upstarts alike) asks itself how much control it must concede to a digital distribution ecosystem built and run by 20- and 30-something engineers and designers. Even while new ways of producing and sharing content are certainly welcome, there’s a potentially fatal risk in abiding, almost desperately, by the conceit that youth is always both the medium and the message.
The Washington Post has developed a tool that tracks the speed of its breaking news email alerts in comparison to nine other competitors. The tool, called BreakFast, has allowed the Post to streamline its own breaking news protocols and is part of its CMS.
Matter, the longform publication that started out as a Kickstarter-funded journalism project before being acquired by Medium in 2013, is now moving out on its own: Matter editor-in-chief Mark Lotto announced Monday that what was once an online magazine is now “an independent media company called Matter Studios.”
Blendle, the Dutch platform that lets users pay by the article, launched in a limited beta in the United States on Wednesday by partnering with 20 outlets — including premium publishers like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Economist, and Time. It’ll be a significant test of its ability to bring its micropayment model to a market swimming in free content.
With the global growth of social media comes a challenge for anyone who uses it to report: How do you report on a language you don’t speak?
Spanish-speaking and Arabic-speaking countries have delved head-first into social media. When covering global events, you’ll find far more tweets in-language than not. Say a major dam breaks in Brazil. Few there are going to tweet about it in English, but in Portuguese. How does a newsroom cover that?