OFF THE TOP
You might have heard: Brand safety controls are demonetizing publishers’ Israel-Hamas coverage (AdWeek)
But did you know: How brand safety made reporting unprofitable (Medialyte)
When bad news happens, advertisers will often use filters known as brand safety or brand suitability measures to ensure that their content doesn’t appear next to a horrific news story. This means that news coverage of important issues — war, pandemics, terrorist attacks — are often accompanied by low-quality ads that make less money for news outlets. Mark Stenberg writes that it’s hard for news outlets to discuss the issue without seeming insensitive to serious topics, but that it’s a problem of sustainability and the future of critical news reporting that hasn’t been solved. [newsletter align=right]
+ Noted: ESPN criticized for posting digitally altered interview video on its social media feeds (Sports Illustrated); New York Times tech workers strike over return-to-office rules, contract delays (Bloomberg); US vows to support ‘free media’ in Pacific as concern over China influence grows (The Guardian)
Do small, quick experiments around audience engagement
Looking for ways to better reach specific audiences? You can test your hypotheses and run experiments using API’s Metrics for News analytics software. Learn more here.
TECH TALKS TUESDAY
Expanding source auditing for Spanish-language newsrooms
API’s Web Applications Engineer Marita Pérez Díaz says: API’s Product Team has been focusing on improving how the Source Matters app captures sources in Spanish. We’ve added over 60 verbs used for attribution to the Natural Language Processing tool from Google that we use.
As we are still tweaking a tool like Google NLP that is primarily used for the English language in our context, we are excited to see how this can open opportunities for source auditing in newsrooms that serve Spanish-speaking audiences.
Why is it important to have adequate tech tools for multicultural newsrooms, especially Hispanic ones? According to CUNY, there are over 600 media outlets serving Hispanic communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and there are 62.1 million Hispanics living in the United States, making them the nation’s second largest racial or ethnic group after non-Hispanic whites.
Taking the time to understand how we use technology and how that affects the different local communities could definitely impact the people that publish news as well as the people that consume it.
I also celebrate the initiatives of fellow organizations aiming to fill the technical and knowledge gaps for Hispanic newsrooms in the U.S. and Latin America. The most recent course from JournalismAI is looking for Spanish-speaking journalists from small newsrooms to participate in their upcoming cohort to learn how to apply the power of artificial intelligence. The deadline to apply is Sunday 19 November, 2023.
TRY THIS AT HOME
How to start and grow a journalism TikTok account (The Lenfest Institute)
For newsrooms with a paywall, social media is an important way to reach a mass audience of potential subscribers, and TikTok is a great place to reach a video-oriented audience. Krishna Sharma, audience engagement editor and TikTok host at The Baltimore Banner, says that TikTok has no rules for how to produce content. “Almost anything will work if it’s well-structured and engaging,” she writes. She recommends that news outlets have a consistent TikTok anchor, give them adequate tools and time to create something unique, and engage with commenters and followers.
AI muddies Israel-Hamas war in unexpected way (The New York Times)
Disinformation researchers have worried that AI and deepfakes could create confusion in warzones, but the truth has been more complicated. Researchers have found few AI-created fake images — and even fewer convincing ones — from the war in Gaza. But the idea that such fake images may be floating around is causing users to dismiss real images and videos. Malicious actors have taken advantage of this fear to sow distrust in politicians and media outlets.
“The specter of deepfakes is much, much more significant now — it doesn’t take tens of thousands, it just takes a few, and then you poison the well and everything becomes suspect.” — Hany Farid, University of California at Berkeley
+ Related: Israeli military says it can’t guarantee journalists’ safety in Gaza (Reuters); communications blackout cuts off Gaza from world as Israel intensifies bombardment (Axios); Messaging app Telegram restricts access to some Hamas-run channels (CNN); Graphic pro-Israel ads make their way into children’s video games (Reuters)
A year later, Musk’s X is tilting right. And sinking. (The Washington Post)
One year after Elon Musk purchased Twitter (now X), the platform has lost many users and advertisers — and is hemorrhaging money. Since Musk took over, the network has shifted substantially to the right, especially in the United States. An analysis by the Washington Post found that dozens of conservative and right-wing accounts saw their follower counts go up on the day Musk took over, and the numbers have continued to rise; there is no similar rise for liberal or left-wing accounts.
+ Related: Why Elon Musk is obsessed with casting Twitter/X as the most “authentic” social media platform (Nieman Lab); X launches two new subscriptions to boost your replies (The Verge); Posts with misinformation on X become ‘ineligible for revenue share’ says Musk (TechCrunch); As users abandon X, sports Twitter endures (The New York Times)
How a journalism professor helps students understand harassment — and how to protect themselves (Poynter)
Dan Kennedy, professor of journalism at Northeastern University, has started setting aside a week in his journalism ethics courses to discuss harassment against journalists. After discussing several examples of harassment and the challenges that face journalists on social media, he asked his students to make suggestions of how to better address harassment in journalism school. He said many suggested that they discuss harassment earlier in their education so that students could know what to look for and what resources are available if it happens.
There is a preconceived notion that journalists must have a thick skin and have to ‘toughen up’ to perform well in their roles. However, this idea … may deter students from reporting harassment because they do not want to be seen as weak.” — Northeastern University student