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What you need to know this week (w/c 21st May 2018, Week 8, Spring term)


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9 stories and developments picked by my J408 Demystifying the Media class at the University of Oregon: Amazon’s Rekognition technology, Google’s Human Robot Caller, Empathy, diversity, BuzzFeed's new podcast, Trump's Twitter ruling, New York Times and Parenting, Ad-Free Media, Elon Musk

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What you need to know this week (w/c 21st May 2018, Week 8, Spring term)

  1. 1. Week 8, Spring 2018 J408/508: Demystifying the Media 9 things you need to know this week
  2. 2. Could Jeff Bezos’s Royal Wedding Tech Power A New Surveillance State? Summary • Guests were automatically identified at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Amazon’s Rekognition technology, which uses artificial intelligence to to detect human faces. • It’s been reported that Amazon has sold this technology to police departments in two states, and The A.C.L.U. (American Civil Liberties Union) is calling on Amazon to stop these sales. What surprised you/why this matters • Oregon is one of the two states Amazon has sold their Rekognition technology to (Washington County). The other being the Orlando, Florida police department. • Washington County reportedly pays just $6 - $12 a month to use this software. • A.C.L.U. is worried that this technology will be misused. Feel that people should “be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government.” Mitchell Thomas
  3. 3. Google’s Human Robot Caller Summary • Google introduced AI calling at their I/O conference last week. • The Google Assistant will be able to call establishments and schedule appointments or reservations for you. • The voice sounds life-like, and is designed to respond to anything a human can throw at it. Including heavy accents. • • What surprised you/why this matters • This is a huge step in AI, we are now able to have life-like interactions with a robot. • Passes the “Turing Test” • Raises huge questions for the future of AI. Should they be required to tell us? • Jobs this could replace? Jake Fintzy
  4. 4. Summary • Study by CJR (Tow Center), observed 180 people who viewed a 5 min. news treatment (immersive VR 360- degree video, non-immersive VR 360, or static text/photos from VR videos) to find out if immersive storytelling yields empathy. Findings • Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) formats produced higher empathetic response, especially from infrequent news consumers and those unfamiliar with VR tech. In some cases, moved people to political/social action. • Viewers who had higher empathetic response were able to recall the video they saw 2 and 5 weeks after viewing (higher ability to retain story information). • Increased trust with presence of narrator on screen/voice over Why is empathy important in news stories? • Empathy leads to action (one of the goals of agenda-setting journalism) • Narration in VR storytelling can help increase trust in news organizations Michaela Bourgeois Walking in another’s virtual shoes: Do 360-degree video news stories generate empathy in viewers? By: Dan Archer & Katharina Finger via Columbia Journalism Review
  5. 5. ‘This deepening division is not inevitable’: The failing diversity efforts of newsroomsSummary article by Farai Chideya - • The news and media are failing to adapt quickly enough to the need for representational diversity • Lack of diversity led to misinformation and greater conflict through Civil Rights era • 12 - 17% representation from 2000 to 2016; compared to population 38% • Racially motivated targeting of journalists during 2016 election • Moving forward, “major news prizes like the Pulitzer and Dupont could require public disclosure of diversity metrics as qualification for acceptance of the prize” • What surprised you • 2016 Election • Lost audiences Isaac Mitzel
  6. 6. BuzzFeed News’ podcast cohost, Jojo the bot, wants to help listeners follow along without friction Summary + cite Industry Source you found this in • Buzzfeed New podcast co-host is a gender neutral robot • Link: the-bot-wants-to-help-listeners-follow-along-without-friction/ • What surprised you/why this matters • Engagement • Adaptation Angela Chan
  7. 7. Trump Twitter ruling has implications for all government officials By Pete Vernon, CJR, Summary • New York federal judge Naomi Rice found Trump’s practice of blocking people on the site to violate the peoples’ First Amendment • Twitter is a digital town hall, a public forum • What surprised you/why this matters • Judge did not order Scavino or Trump to unblock accounts - left it to the honor system • Many other public officials use Twitter to communicate with the world Parker Doyle
  8. 8. How the NYT chose parenting Summary + cite Industry Source you found this in • The Verge published an article that covered the New York Times’ announcement to add a third standalone product, parenting. • The team will consist of five parents: editor Jessica Grose of the Lenny Letter; product lead Youngna Park from Tinybop; design lead Barbara deWilde, the New Products and Ventures executive creative director; tech lead David Yee, who previously ran the CMS team at Vox; and Vhanya Mackechnie, of New Products, who will lead project management efforts. • Goals: create content that will be relevant to parents of all ages who are at different parenting stages, what kind of info parents want and how they want that information delivered. • What surprised you/why this matters • In the first three months of 2018, 40,000 of the 139,000 new digital subscriptions came from the Cooking and Crossword products. The NYT has been successful in creating non-news content. • “Parenting is a space that involves many areas that The Times covers so well — from science to relationships to education," MacCallum said. "From our early research, parents are looking for trust and authority, qualities The Times can provide." Cecilia Siauw
  9. 9. Are ad-free environments winning video? Summary + Digital Content Next ( e-ad-free-environments-winning-video/) • More and more, consumers are paying for premium content without advertising. • HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other services are, arguably, as good for you as the best journalistic enterprise. TV doesn’t rot brain • AMC is shifting from cable to streaming, distribution fees making more than ad rev. • There are still only so many subscriptions that consumers can buy before getting overloaded Cory Frey • What surprised you/why this matters • Ad revenues dropping wasn’t necessarily surprising but what is the future of ad? • I wonder how many networks can successfully capitalize and who will collapse and fail? • How will Disney's new streaming network affect this landscape of streaming/ premium content?
  10. 10. Rate My Journalist? Yelp for journalism Summary journalists/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6e482c6c771e • Elon Musk, billionaire Tesla creator, came onto twitter yesterday to announce he will create a website called Pravda to establish accountability in journalism • The goal is for everyone to have access to the website so that they can rate, views stories and check the credibility of journalists What surprised you/why this matters • Elon Musk has already registered the company Pravda Corp. • The website seems to only be based from Musk’s frustration with how the media covers Telsa compared to other companies who’re not as green • It’s strange that for such a professional job to be rated online as if you’re an uber driver • Pravada is the russian word for truth and was also the name of the Soviet Union’s primary news platform Tapiwa Kapurura