May 24, 2019

To Save Journalism, Regulate Big Tech

“Google and Facebook recently reported bumper profits for 2018: almost $31 billion and $22 billion, respectively. It mattered little that both companies faced the wrath of lawmakers around the world for spreading fake news and allowing illicit actors to run influential disinformation campaigns using their platforms and technologies.

Meanwhile, news-media companies, including BuzzFeed and Vice, which compete with the big tech platforms for digital advertising spending, announced thousands of job cuts in the first weeks of 2019.

Juxtaposing the tech platforms’ growing might with newsrooms’ shrinking ranks may seem unfair. Google and Facebook aren’t solely responsible for the woes of the news industry. Publishers underestimated the changes that the internet would bring to people’s reading habits and are still struggling to catch up. Some digital players, like Mic, funded by venture capitalists initially succeeded by innovating in spaces, such as online video, ignored by legacy media. But their reliance on the tech platforms to grow their audiences cuts both ways; when the algorithms shift, so can their entire business models, forcing their financiers to rethink investments and valuations, leading to job cuts.”

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."

"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."

"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."

"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."

"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."

"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."

"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."

"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."

"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."

"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."

"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"

"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."