Monthly Archives: January 2017

41 key moments in the history of online journalism {now 45} – have I missed any?

July 7 bombings image

A key moment in recent journalism history: Adam Stacey’s image taken during the July 7 bombings

In the history chapter of the Online Journalism Handbook you will find a timeline of key events in web journalism. While working on the forthcoming second edition I recently revisited and updated the timeline. Below are the 41 key events I have settled on — but have I missed any? Let me know what you think. Continue reading

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The machine that learns how to stop whistleblowers

INSIDER THREAT John connects via VPN Administrator performs ssh (root) to a file share - finance department John executes remote desktop to a system (administrator) - PCI zone John elevates his privileges root copies the document to another file share - Corporate zone root accesses a sensitive document from the file share root uses a set of Twitter handles to chop and copy the data outside the enterprise USER ACTIVITY

An example of whistleblower behaviour taken from Harry McLaren’s slides

Workplace surveillance is nothing new, but this slide from Harry McLaren’s talk on Machine Learning for Threat Detection illustrates particularly well the challenges facing journalists wishing to protect whistleblowers.

McLaren is talking about malicious threats, and the way that machine learning can be used to identify suspicious patterns of behaviour. But the example given above is equally useful in illustrating the way that similar behaviour might be used to identify an employee intending to whistleblow on illegal, unethical or dangerous behaviour by his or her organisation. Continue reading

Report: looking back at 2016 — looking forward to 2017…

2017 prediction charts

A couple weeks ago I published my responses to Nic Newman’s annual review exercise. Now the resulting report is out (PDF here).

As usual it’s a great roundup of the last 12 months, and some crystal-ball-gazing that will be as interesting historically as it will be for anything it gets right. It includes some particularly good sections on some news organisations’ plans around advertising, membership, and audio.

The funniest bit of the report comes with the statistic that 70% of editors, CEOs and digital leaders surveyed “said worries over the distribution of fake/inaccurate news in social networks will strengthen their position”.

Hm.

trust-in-mass-media-by-age

Chart taken from the Digital News Project 2017

NiemanLab already have a decent write up of the report here.

Bursting the filter bubble: The Echo Chamber Club

Social media ‘filter bubbles’ – where users only see news sympathetic with their own views – have been blamed for pretty much everything considered ‘wrong’ with politics, from obscuring Trump’s popularity and encouraging political polarisation to the ‘fake news’ epidemic. New publishing startup Echo Chamber Club offers to burst readers’ filter bubbles and challenge their views — and it’s doing so well that it is already planning to expand. Andrew Brightwell interviews its founder, Alice Thwaite.

The Echo Chamber Club, founded in June 2016, sets out to “help ‘liberal and progressive metropolitans’ understand different points of view for themselves.” It publishes weekly emails, each covering a subject in the news, but offering a perspective directly opposed to the liberal consensus.

Since starting in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, it has challenged liberal perceptions on Russia’s support of the Assad regime in Syria, inflation policy, Western military intervention, and the EU referendum. Continue reading

The most-read posts on Online Journalism Blog — and on Medium — in 2016

2016

Rounding up the best posts of the year is a good habit to get into, but one that I’ve failed to acquire. In 2014 – the ten year anniversary of this site – I rounded up the year’s best performing posts, which does give you a flavour of what was happening that year — but I forgot to repeat it for 2015.

Here, then, are some reflections on the 10 pieces which did best in 2016 (there were 100 posts across the year), plus the older posts which keep on giving, and a comparison of some pieces which did far better on Medium than on OJB. Continue reading