A hedge fund’s ‘mercenary’ strategy: Buy newspapers, slash jobs, sell the buildings

For Alden and its subsidiary, the Gannett empire’s newspapers are clearly an attractive feature. But by purchasing the Memphis building and others like it, Alden has already begun coming for what it may consider a bigger prize: Gannett’s real estate. […] The tactics employed by Alden and Digital First Media are well-chronicled: They buy newspapers already in financial distress, including big-city dailies such as the San Jose Mercury News and…

Journalism Isn’t Dying. It’s Returning to Its Roots.

An important reminder that “objective” journalism is a recent innovation. In the past, even a small town would have a liberal paper and a conservative paper. If you wanted to be truly informed, you’d subscribe to both. Out-of-town publishing chains with more interest in profits and less investment in the communities started buying up both local papers, and meeting both the liberal and conservatives audiences with a single just-the-facts news…

Why Fears of Fake News Are Overhyped

Facebook seems to have made changes that mean it is less involved in the spread of fake news. Overall, and for reasons that extend beyond whatever unknown changes Facebook may have made to its algorithm, fake news seems less prevalent now than it was in 2016. “[T]he role of Facebook in the spread of fake news appears to have changed. In 2016, the site differentially appeared in web traffic just…

This is what happened when a KDKA-TV journalist showed bias

Social media platforms are full of people who complain “the media is biased” against whatever side they support. When my students repeat this claim, I ask them to supply an example. They usually point to a meme that supplies a biased headline to a real news story. The story itself is fine, but the text in the meme makes it look like a wildly inaccurate or unfair statement from “the…

Columbia Journalism Review

Journalism is now the second draft of history

The unavoidable truth is that first draft of history is no longer written in tomorrow’s newspaper. Instead, it’s tapped out on new and social media, which is thick with rumor and conspiracy. There’s little journalists can do about crap on the internet; taking aim at disinformation is like firing a machine-gun at an unruly flock of birds. What we can do is to get our own house in order. Amid…

Twitter and the “Two Minutes Hate”

Another of the many, many reflections on the big story of the weekend. In 1984, George Orwell famously described a totalitarian political order in which people were kept as docile subjects in part by a daily ritual called “Two Minutes Hate” in which the population directs all of its pent up fury at “Goldstein,” a possibly fictional enemy of the state. Thanks to Twitter, we now know that the same dynamic…