Should tech companies fund journalism?

Our personal weekly selection about journalism and innovation. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

edited by Marco Nurra


🔔 Pleased to announce our first +450 speakers #ijf17. All festival sessions are free entry for all attendees. Come and join us!


  • Why facts don’t change our minds. The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert reviews three newish books (all published before the U.S. election, but particularly fitting now) that look at why humans are so bad at realizing they might be wrong about something.
  • Poynter spent two weeks with the best Spanish TV fact-checkers: “El Objetivo,” the only Spanish program with a dedicated fact-checking segment. Here’s what they learned.
    🔔 Natalia Hernandez Rojo will be a #ijf17 speaker
  • Mr Zuckerberg’s education has further to go. “Zuckerberg’s manifesto may be written in an oddly opaque language which never seems to ask what its key words (‘we’, ‘community’, ‘empower’) actually mean, but I’m left with the strong impression of someone who wants to do right. Zuckerberg has gradually acknowledged — and made fully explicit in this document — that Facebook has responsibilities that are moral and democratic. For a hi-tech company, that is a significant step.”
    🔔 George Brock will be a #ijf17 speaker
  • Turkey arrests journalist for reporting on hack. “Deniz Yucel, a Turkey correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, has been held in police custody since Tuesday, the paper has reported. Yucel is the seventh journalist jailed for reporting about the emails of Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, which were publicly released in October by the marxist hacktivist group RedHack, then indexed by WikiLeaks,” writes Efe Kerem Sozeri. “If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.”
    🔔 Efe Kerem Sozeri will be a #ijf17 speaker
  • Philippines: The Kill List. Since Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines, in May 2016, thousands of people have been killed in a vicious drug war. This “Kill List” compiled by the Inquirer.net is an attempt to document the names and other particulars of the casualties in the Duterte administration’s war on crime.
    🔔 John Nery will be a #ijf17 speaker

Let’s talk about money
  • How Mark Zuckerberg could really fix journalism. Emily Bell, founding director of the Tow Center at Columbia University, thinks that it is in the interest of Facebook (and the rest) to create an endowment fund that would be distributed by an independent board to deserving newsrooms.
  • Facebook and Google owe something to journalism, wrote Steven Waldman on the New York Times. “If the leaders of these companies — Facebook and Google — put the equivalent of just 1 percent of their profits, for five years, to the cause, local American journalism would be transformed for the next century. That would be $4.4 billion — enough to establish a permanent endowment to fund local journalism.”
  • “Journalism wants a slice of the digital pie,” summarizes Charlie Beckett. “Why should Facebook give journalism serious, game-changing money? Why not primary health or education? Are journalists really the Deserving Poor at a time when much of the industry — while slashing costs — is often still profitable? The problem is not just that the platforms are attracting the old advertising revenue, but that too much of old mainstream media was not good enough.”
    🔔 Charlie Beckett will be a #ijf17 speaker
  • Dave Winer doesn’t agree with Bell’s idea. “Yes we need journalism, but the journalism we need is not what Emily Bell describes, we need something re-born out of the web. I’ve been right about a lot of stuff over the years, and the journalism thinkers have never understood until it actually happens. It won’t go the way Bell wants it to go. But journalism will thrive on the net, I’m sure of it. Further it can’t thrive in the environment Facebook has created. And as long as they’re on top and generating all that money they have no incentive to change. And once they feel the heat, it’ll be too late for them. That about sums it up.”
    🔔 Dave Winer will be a #ijf17 speaker
  • A solution, or a Hail Mary pass? “Even if we assume that Google and Facebook should fund journalism — wrote Mathew Ingram — there’s no guarantee that a $4-billion endowment is going to solve some of the structural problems in media. Media companies have probably wasted that much and more going down blind alleys, avoiding making the decisions that might actually have helped them adapt, and paying their executives inflated salaries for doing nothing.”
    🔔 Mathew Ingram will be a #ijf17 speaker
  • Technology is already “fixing” journalism. But is it working? “Should Facebook “fix” journalism?,” asks Adam Thomas. “The media’s answer ranges from hand-out (yes, please), to hand-up (maybe just help us get back on our feet…), to hands-off (no way). Yet, the reality is that technology philanthropy is already happening, but we don’t seem to be learning much from it.”
    🔔 Adam Thomas will be a #ijf17 speaker
  • Thomas Baekdal wrote a short thread on Twitter that we collect here entirely: “The newspapers need to realize that advertising is no longer the market, and the reason is because of the editorial focus. Newspapers do an important job, but that job is also completely incompatible with what brands are looking for in a marketing sense. Instead, newspapers need to focus on its own customers… which is the public, and drive their income directly through them. And if the public won’t pay, the problem isn’t Google or Faceobok. The problem is that we haven’t demonstrated the value of journalism. We all agree that we need a strong market for journalism. Perhaps now more than ever. But it must be because the public wants it. But to do that we must improve out own product through a higher level of trust, relevancy, ethics and usefulness, so that we stand out.”

International Journalism Festival is the biggest annual media event in Europe. It’s an open invitation to interact with the best of world journalism. All sessions are free entry for all attendees, all venues are situated in the stunning setting of the historic town centre of Perugia.

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