Personal expression in journalism | The girl stunt reporter | Amazon’s content moderation responsibilities

Personal expression in journalism: Journalism isn’t supposed to be personal. Or, at least, that’s been the practice for a very long time, writes Barbara Allen in Poynter. However, the line between journalist and activist needs to be re-evaluated, as it’s impossible and unnecessary to totally remove the personality from reporting. George Floyd’s death, for example, led to a wave of emotion and “secondary trauma” among journalists, says Allen. So, why hide it? Emotional reporting isn’t necessarily problematic, but many are hesitant to accept too much personal expression from reporters due to today’s extreme political polarization. However, sometimes personality can really emphasize the importance of an issue, and it’s up to the stories to tell the tale, not the politics, says Allen. 

The girl stunt reporter: In the late 19th century, women were entering the field of journalism as “stunt reporters,” immersing themselves in the stories that they were trying to cover, says Katy Waldman in a New Yorker analysis of author Kim Todd’s “Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s ‘Girl Stunt Reporters.’” The end of the 1800s brought about a slew of women, such such as Nellie Bly, working to expose inhumane conditions in factories, psychiatric hospitals, and other previously unreported places. At the time, their role in reporting confronted the very fabric of the role of women in the era. It’s important to remember their contributions to the field of journalism and acknowledge the work that they once dedicated. There is a significant legacy of the girl stunt reporter that shouldn’t be forgotten, as “she was writing a story that her public didn’t yet know how to read,” says Waldman. 

Amazon’s content moderation responsibilities: Amazon might want to pay a little more attention to what’s on their bestselling book lists, because some make no sense in their categories, writes Benedict Evans in his weekly tech newsletter. This issue brings to mind the question that social media sites have had to address recently: what is the role of online social and retail companies in content moderation? Of the top-selling books in the “Children’s Vaccination & Immunization” category, most are either anti-vaccination or are fictional novels. Given this example, it’s clear that the process by which the books are broken down and categorized is grossly oversimplified, argues Evans. Is the way in which Amazon processes data facilitating the spread of misinformation, or is it merely a tool that the site has no social responsibility to address so long as business is good? Like other sites that have had to deal with censorship and content moderation, there’s no clear answer, says Evans.

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