News literacy, verification, digital advertising doomsday and how (not) to handle leaks

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

edited by Marco Nurra


  • Post-truth: a myth created by journalists? The short answer is yes.
  • Reuters’ new survey suggests that readers are getting (a bit) smarter about verifying breaking news. Of the 1,711 Reuters readers polled in early May, 74 percent “strongly” agreed that they check with sites they trust to verify breaking news stories. 76 percent said they turn to trusted news sites to verify stories they see on social media, and 88 percent said they seek out multiple news sources when big stories break. While the Reuters report is focused largely on readers’ views on news consumption, it also touches on how evolving reading habits, particularly those involving fake news, affect advertisers. Most respondents (67 percent) strongly agreed that advertising on news brands associated with fake news is damaging to the brand, and 93 percent said that they are more likely to read sites that don’t publish fake news.
  • Breitbart ads plummet nearly 90 percent in three months as Trump’s troubles mount. Six months ago, Breitbart was riding the wave of the election, plotting an international expansion to provide a platform to spread far-right, populist views in Europe. But today, Breitbart is facing traffic declines, advertiser blacklists, campaigns for marketers to steer clear and even a petition within Amazon for it to stop providing ad services. There were just 26 brands appearing on Breitbart in May, down from a high of 242 in March, according to MediaRadar, which tracks ads on websites.
  • Textbook aims to teach journalism and news literacy to kids and teens — one comic at a time. The book’s six chapters each focus on a different journalism topic, taking students on a journey into journalism’s challenges, rewards and ethical complexities. With narratives based on real-life scenarios (one chapter riffs on the Watergate investigation, with a character discovering election fraud at his school), a cast of relatable characters and engaging illustrations, Katina Paron, the book’s author and director of the NYC High School Journalism Collaborative, said the book will break out of the traditional media education model.

🎥 #ijf17 on demand > Improving news literacy through collaboration

  • Google launches news literacy program, designed to help kids make smart decisions online through games and tutorials. Google has also co-created a classroom curriculum with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition to help teachers include news literacy in their lessons.
  • What people really want from news organizations. Some members of the public are frustrated with journalism that seems thin, uninformed, biased against their community and replete with argument, anger and violence. They complain about opinion presented exactly like news. Some people are so fed up that they have simply disengaged. They want more humility from journalists, more recognition that in spite of journalists’ best aspirations, we do sometimes get it wrong.
  • Can trust in the news be repaired? On May 25, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism announced that Molly De Aguiar would be the managing director of the News Integrity Initiative, a $14 million project that aims to cultivate informed citizens who trust the news. The initiative, which was funded in part by Facebook, Mozilla and Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, will also be steered by a three-person executive committee comprised of Áine Kerr, manager of journalism partnerships at Facebook, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Jeff Jarvis, the director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY.

🎥 #ijf17 on demand > Non-profit journalism: the right model at the service of the community?

🎥 #ijf17 on demand > Will there be journalists in 2030?

  • The digital advertising doomsday clock. The ironic subtext of the forthcoming ad blockers is that the tyranny of autoplay videos and low-quality display ads is one of the few topics that builds broad-based consensus on the internet. Even publishers understand that many advertisements actively harm user experience, and media companies’ inability or unwillingness to police them or offer viable alternatives in some ways made a browser-side fix inevitable. The same can be said for clickbait headlines, on which Facebook is cracking down. News organizations will now be forced to reap what they sowed.

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