March 23, 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

"Historic buildings and structures dating from the Byzantine era to the 20th century have been subjected to disastrous restorations in recent years here, prompting public outcry and fostering a cynical attitude toward planned projects."

"Fox News, normally the object of presidential praise on Twitter, was subjected to an unusual tweet-lashing over the weekend when the president went after three of its anchors."

"Opinion: I am not willing to cast a ballot for this current crop of scandal-mongers, gossips and PR-obsessed dilettantes who are tearing the country apart - don't we deserve better?"

"Listening to The Joe Rogan Experience is sort of like crashing an intense, intimate dinner party in which the only courses are whiskey and weed."

"At the Jewish Museum in London called “Jews, Money, Myth.” The show explores the ways in which Jews have been associated with money over the past 2,000 years."

"Footage of last week’s massacre in New Zealand, which the shooter streamed in real time via Facebook Live, quickly proliferated. The original 17-minute webcast was viewed fewer than 200 times and wasn’t immediately reported, Facebook says."

"When I hear that Jews are too powerful, my response is, we are not powerful enough. When I hear that AIPAC is too influential a lobby, I say it must become even more influential."

"Lost in migration: When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?"

"Someday my daughter will be asked if she wants to have a bat mitzvah. I’m inclined to let her make up her own mind... It's a lot of work to learn Hebrew, memorize parts of the Torah and prepare for a pressure-packed performance at such a young age."

"Tablet's Unorthodox Podcast: Gail Simmons, Shalom Auslander, Jill Kargman, Gil Hovav, and more on the Jewish foods that mean the most to them."

""Hitting someone is a foundational moral violation," Yale University Psychologist Paul Bloom wrote in a comment to the paper. "Indeed, these sorts of physical infractions are found to be morally wrong by the youngest babies we can test."

" Ilhan Omar in particular has garnered attention for tweets widely viewed by the Jewish community as trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The result has been the most media coverage of anti-Semitism in a decade..."