Google to pay newsrooms in Australia: A proposed law in Australia would force Google and Facebook to compensate news publishers for the use of their content, writes Mathew Ingram for CJR. Facebook and Google are taking opposite approaches to these new copyright regulations: Google has already agreed to pay publishers, while Facebook, by way of protesting, is removing news from its website in Australia entirely. These two companies have very different relationships with the news, but both are facing regulation in Australia’s effort towards committing to high-quality information, says Ingram. While the Australian media landscape is very different from the U.S., the moves raise questions about what could happen here.
The Fairness Doctrine & Limbaugh: The end of the Fairness Doctrine gave birth to Rush Limbaugh’s rise of unfiltered radio broadcasting, says Al Tompkins in Poynter. The doctrine once required news media to grant coverage to competing views, but when the Reagan administration agreed to stop enforcing it, radio hosts like Limbaugh were given free reign. This shift allowed Limbaugh to become a star: radio was no longer a back-and-forth with callers, but more a source of entertainment as the host espoused extreme content. Tompkins writes that although Limbaugh and the Fairness Doctrine alone can’t be credited with the hyperpartisan landscape of today’s news, they certainly played a big role in changing American media.
Alden’s reign of destruction: Alden Global Capital is a destructive force that is partly responsible for the nationwide loss of local news, says Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post. It’s clear that Sullivan has nothing good to say about Alden. Alden is positioned to buy the Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, adding them to their large collection of local papers. A corporation interested in little more than short-term profit, Alden has taken papers like the Denver Post and the Boston Herald and cut staff and reporters, reducing them to a skeleton of what they once were. The commitment to a strong local newspaper is lost as soon as Alden gets involved, says Sullivan.
White power groundswell [podcast]: In an episode of the CJR podcast “The Kicker,” University of Chicago history professor Kathleen Belew says the media needs to cover domestic terrorism in the same way that it covers Islamic terrorism. Journalists need to make connections between white power groups and the larger domestic terror movement in their reporting. Basing her opinion on historical precedent from the post-Vietnam War era, Belew’s outlook is bleak on the direction of the movement that burst into public view during the Jan. 6 insurrection. “I think a lot more activity will be unfolding,” says Belew. “I hope I’m wrong about that.”
New opinion editor: Kathleen Kingsbury, the New York Times’ new opinion editor, has big plans, writes Sarah Scire for Nieman Lab. Kingsbury intends to experiment with different methods of reporting, including video, audio, and graphics. Beyond this, she plans to change the content and publish some stories that don’t fall clearly on a left-right spectrum to challenge readers. It will be interesting to see what direction the NYT takes here.
Twitter-thread star: As Twitter has become a source of news and insight for many users, influencers like Seth Abramson have emerged. Lyz Lenz of CJR profiles the rise of Abramson, who treats his nearly 1 million followers with what he terms analysis of ongoing events — sometimes in tweet threads that are 100 tweets long. Abramson’s writing and role is controversial — Lenz says a person’s opinion on Abramson “is kind of a Rorschach test,” as he is either seen as a favorable speaker of truth or a “rogue pundit.” Abramson says he is navigating the convoluted world of modern politics. But his accuracy has been questioned and his sources may not be as reliable as many of his followers are led to believe, writes Lenz. An interesting take on how Twitter influencers are changing media.
Cancel culture or accountability?: Some right wing individuals claim that liberal journalists are trying to “cancel” conservative voices. Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post argues that conservatives are entitled to their opinion, but are not entitled to a platform to espouse these opinions, especially when they are trying to spread false claims, such as election fraud. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech without government intervention, it is not the responsibility of the media to make sure that radicals are given a platform, says Sullivan.
Crime coverage: Coverage of crime and police brutality often means looking critically into systemic racism embedded in the criminal justice system. But what happens when no one is covering local crime? CJR writer Jaeah Lee follows East Bay Times crime reporter Nate Gartrell, one of the last reporters covering crime in the Bay Area. The article examines the decline of local news and its consequences. When there are no more crime reporters because of the decline in local and regional news, there is no one left to expose injustices occurring within the courthouses.
MSNBC ≠ Fox: MSNBC is not Fox News’ left wing equivalent, argues Tom Jones in Poynter. The difference between the two is that MSNBC has a grasp on the truth and guests who reflect facts and reality. Though both networks have opinion hosts and use dramatic tactics to attract viewers, doing so by neglecting to tell the full story or misleading viewers is not honest journalism, says Jones.
A Substack future
Anna Wiener of the New Yorker explores Substack, an online service that allows writers to send out email newsletters on a wide range of topics, including opinion, research, journalistic reporting, and much more. Writers of the newsletters profit on the theory of the “passion economy” – the idea that an audience will buy the products of the producer of what they are watching or reading. Substack may be good for writers, but journalistic individualism becoming more prevalent may pose a threat to newsrooms and other reliable forms of news, according to Wiener.
Nextdoor as newsroom?
The widely-used neighborhood social network app Nextdoor is beginning to fill the role of a transmitter of local news and a replacement for local news organizations, according to Will Oremus in his article in OneZero. Nextdoor can be a useful tool for discussing local politics (but not national) or staying up to date on neighborhood happenings, issues and elections, says Oremus. However, with few fact-checking resources available on the platform, it becomes difficult to distinguish between information and disinformation.
It’s been an eventful newsweek for journalism. Marty Baron, the widely respected editor of the Washington Post, announced plans to retire. The Post has experienced significant growth over his tenure. The Los Angeles Times is also on the hunt for an editor after executive editor Norman Pearlstine stepped down in December. Lastly, ex-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany may be hired by Fox.