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CTO at The 19th. Writing a novel.
Previously: Co-founder of Elgg and Known; former investor at Matter.

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benwerd

werd.social/@ben

19thnews.org

 

A Matter of Necessity

“Today, The 19th’s staff reflects that broadened aim: the newsroom is 65 percent women of color, with 28 percent identifying as LGBTQ+; 16 percent are people living with disabilities. “We pledged to build the most representative newsroom in America,” Ramshaw told me. “I think we are pretty close to that point.”” I’m deeply proud and grateful to work here.

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Linked: Lack of trust in journalism and knowledge of news practices

“The researchers said both the survey and focus groups showed that while several factors influence trust - such as someone’s willingness to trust other institutions in society - when audiences understand how news works they are more likely to trust it.”

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Mastodon Media List

“This list is designed to point people to media outlets on the fediverse so they can either follow or avoid them.” A really useful, growing list.

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Post, the latest Twitter alternative, is betting big on micropayments for news

“Consumers have changed their behavior. They want to consume their news in their feed. And so, obviously, consumption from a feed does not work with subscription. And social media networks, with their advertising-based model, promote the worst in us because it works. I mean, the algorithms are don’t really care. They just, you know, try to achieve the engagement at any cost, right?” OK, but open, non-proprietary feed technology is available and widely used …

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News Outlets Urge U.S. to Drop Charges Against Julian Assange

“In a joint open letter, The Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País said the prosecution of Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act “sets a dangerous precedent” that threatened to undermine the First Amendment and the freedom of the press. “Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists,” the letter said. “If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.””

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We Can't Depend on Platforms Anymore

“For a solid decade, many media operators thought they could build a sustainable business on the backs of the platforms. Those days are dying. Owned audiences are the future like they always should have been.” Spoiler alert: we never could depend on platforms.

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Online mobs are now coming for student journalists

“Targeted online harassment has become a pervasive threat to newsrooms across the country. A 2019 survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 85 percent of respondents believed their career had become less safe in the past five years and more than 70 percent said they experienced safety issues or threats as part of doing their job.”

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The unbearable lightness of BuzzFeed

“In 2016, BuzzFeed stories posted on the platform had 329 million engagements; by 2018, that number had fallen to less than half. Last year, BuzzFeed posts received 29 million engagements, and this year is shaping up to be even worse.” I had no idea it had fallen so far.

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Most media predicted a red wave. Here’s how The 19th got the election right.

“The media missed the concerns and the motivations of many voters and failed to capture the full electorate. At The 19th, we remained focused on you.” I’m proud, as always, to work here.

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Why Meta’s withdrawal from journalism will hurt local media companies

“Looking beyond LMA, any guesses on who is the largest funder of Report for America? That’s right. The Meta Journalism Project donated $6.5 million. I believe that’s a little more than 40% of the total raised to date. That means 120 reporters could go away if other funders don’t step up.” Repeat after me: don’t depend on Meta. For anything.

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Farewell from Protocol

This makes me so sad. I really loved Protocol.

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If You Want to Understand How Dangerous Elon Musk Is, Look Outside America

“Musk is right that the world needs a digital public square; unfortunately, he seems to have little idea that creating one involves balancing free speech against abuse, misinformation and government overreach.”

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Media Companies Are Having Their Worst Year in Three Decades

“Advertising and affiliate fees are the two biggest revenue streams for most traditional media companies. Now they are both in secular decline.”

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Illustration.lol - Editorial illustrations from around the world

A really nice visual database of journalism illustration. Beautiful and inspiring.

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How much press are you worth?

“This website calculates your press value based on current reporting in America, to expose bias and to advocate for change.” I would be worth a below-average 17 stories if I went missing.

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James Bennet and the rewriting of 2020

“Desperate to undo the social movement that threatened their place atop the social hierarchy, the right and its handmaidens in the squeamish center have fought obsessively to recast the protest summer as the aborted dawn of a new, terrifying tyranny — of “cancel culture,” anti-racism, and the most feared of them all, “wokism” — in which revolutionary mobs working with the Hollywood elite and the mandarins of the Democratic Party (don’t think too hard about it) will … well, do something bad.”

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Publishing Prejudice: The Oregonian's Racist Legacy

“The newspaper helped create the Oregon of today: A majority white state, with the West Coast’s smallest proportion of Black residents, anchored by Portland, America’s whitest big city. Despite Oregon’s progressive reputation and growing population of color, its major institutions — lawmakers, schools, police, housing systems and health care providers — have failed to erase deep-rooted inequities.”

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News in America: Public Good or Private Enterprise?

“Most Americans believe news organizations prioritize their own business needs – over serving the public interest: More than three in four say news organizations are first and foremost motivated by their own financial interests, while just 12% of Americans say news outlets act as civic institutions first.”

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The BBC at one hundred

“Its relationship with the British state has been fraught, a function of its peculiar dual status as both a news organization and a nominally unifying cultural service, and of its funding status.”

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Tucker Carlson’s strange rant about Fetterman shows how media fails

“Asking objective news reporters to be aware that a massive apparatus of disinformation is out there waiting to pounce on and exploit hazy reporting seems like the absolute minimum to expect.”

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When spyware turns phones into weapons

“In the long-term, journalists who feel threatened by an invisible enemy that could expose their sources and their private lives to public scrutiny may start to shy away from controversial investigations, curtailing their publications’ coverage, and dealing a blow to press freedom.”

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If Trump Runs Again, Do Not Cover Him the Same Way: A Journalist’s Manifesto

“We should be resolutely objective in the sense of seeking evidence and approaching subjects with an open mind. We should not, however, resort to taking everything down the middle, no matter what.”

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What is Dovetail from PRX?

“From a birds-eye view, Dovetail does three main things: podcast distribution, data collection, and ad inventory management.”

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Most people on Twitter don’t live in political echo chambers — but mostly because they don’t care enough to bother building one

“Most people don’t follow a bunch of political “elites” on Twitter — a group that, for these authors’ purposes, also includes news organizations. But those who do typically follow many more people they agree with politically than people who they don’t.”

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The Sun-Times’ new chapter: Our digital content is now free for everyone

“So today, we are dropping our paywall and making it possible for anyone to read our website for free by providing nothing more than an email address. Instead of a paywall, we are launching a donation-based digital membership program that will allow readers to pay what they can to help us deliver the news you rely on.”

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Email: ben@werd.io

Twitter: @benwerd

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