Up for Debate

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers points of debate and discussion about what’s happening in journalism.

Bill Gates: ‘If anybody says we don’t need the media, that’s a little scary’

“If we define media very broadly to be the things that help voters assess what’s being said, assess how those things have worked, and therefore played their role of picking, on balance, reasonable leaders who pursue reasonable policies — you can’t have a democracy without a media function like that,” Bill Gates said in an […]

Dean Baquet: In newsrooms today, readers finally have more power than advertisers

In an interview with NYT public editor Liz Spayd, Dean Baquet explains why readers have more power than advertisers in newsrooms now. “The reader has far more power than ever before — and they should,” Baquet says. “I grew up in an era when the most powerful entity in the economics of journalism was advertising. […]

‘Fake news’ is an imprecise term, and the phenomenon represents a growing distrust in media institutions

“For a term that is suddenly everywhere, ‘fake news’ is fairly slippery,” Adrienne LaFrance argues. “Is ‘fake news’ a reference to government propaganda designed to look like independent journalism? Or is it any old made-up bullshit that people share as real on the internet? Is ‘fake news’ the appropriate label for a hoax meant to […]

Segregated social media bubbles led to media’s failure in the election, and those forces are likely to only get worse

“American political discourse in 2016 seemed to be running on two self-contained, never-overlapping sets of information,” Joshua Benton writes. “It took the Venn diagram finally meeting at the ballot box to make it clear how separate the two solitudes really are.” And while there’s many things to blame for these separated bubbles, Benton argues that […]

Traditional newspapers publish the majority of accountability journalism, a function that’s not being taken up by digital outlets at the same rate

“Conventional newspapers, for all their shortcomings, remain the best source of information about the workings of our government, of industry, and of the major institutions that dominate our lives,” Jack Shafer writes. “They still publish a disproportionate amount of the accountability journalism available, a function that’s not being fully replaced by online newcomers or the […]

Obama: The media environment in the US gives those who share misinformation a platform, and curation could be the key to fixing that

At an innovation conference in Pittsburgh on Thursday, President Barack Obama shared some of his ideas on what he described as the “wild, wild west” media environment in the United States. Obama said that the American media environment gives conspiracy theorists and others who spread misinformation a broad platform, which Obama argued could possibly be […]

There’s more room for constructive criticism in tech journalism

The difference between journalism and criticism is ingrained in most newsrooms, Nausicaa Renner writes, where reporters are expected to stay as objective as possible, while critics rely on the strength of their opinions and arguments. But in tech journalism, Renner writes that criticism is often viewed as objecting to progress. But in a new report […]

Is augmented reality a passing fad or part of the future of media?

With the news that Elle magazine will work with augmented reality firm HuffPost RYOT on its “Women in Hollywood” issue, WWD’s Alexandra Steigrad asks, is augmented reality a passing fad or something media needs to pay attention to? For the Elle feature, users will be able to use their phone to interact with the print […]

What the Trump tapes can teach journalists about news archives: Even seemingly insignificant pieces of content can be important in the future

The publication of the 2005 tape of Donald Trump shows that value in archiving, says the Journalism Digital News Archive’s Edward McCain “Relatively small, seemingly insignificant kinds of content can be incredibly valuable and important,” McCain says. “We can think about these tapes in terms of other seemingly-mundane stuff that’s recorded all the time. That’s […]

News organizations see Facebook as the ‘enemy,’ but they should still work with Facebook so they don’t ‘find themselves on an island’

Many news organizations see Facebook as a “giant that may eat us,” but Mark Glaser writes that news organizations still need to work with Facebook, despite their uncertainties. Back in 2010, news organizations saw Google as its biggest enemy and News Corp even removed its content from Google’s search results. But two years later, it […]