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New research, new events, and new publications from the Tow Center
Print is dead! Long live print!
Catch up on Tricky, a podcast about the future of journalism co-hosted by Tow's founding director Emily Bell and the New School's Heather Chaplin. On the latest episode: As newspapers cut newsrooms and hike prices, are loyal subscribers willing to pay more for less? Emily and Heather talk to UT Austin's Iris Chyi and the Nieman Lab's Josh Benton about the past, present, and future of print. 
In The Columbia Journalism Review
The Cairncross Review admits what America won’t about journalism
by Emily Bell
Bell writes that the assumption that journalism will eventually find a profitable market model has been one of the most consistent and damaging misconceptions advanced over the past twenty years. The Cairncross Review, a government-commissioned report on the state of journalism in the UK, acknowledges the shift of revenue to large technology platforms like Google and Facebook and calls for regulations, subsidies, and tax breaks. 

News media needs to convince readers to open their wallets. Consolidation has not helped.
by Elizabeth Hansen and Elizabeth Anne Watkins
Consolidation in legacy commercial news publishing is exceptionally common but Hansen and Watkins, two Tow Center researchers, report that the business model may be preventing publishers from fostering the kinds of collaboration that can earn readers' engagement, loyalty, and, ultimately, their dollars.

Despite backlash, Jason Leopold stands by his story
by Sam Thielman
In an interview with with CJR, Buzzfeed's Jason Leopold talks about standing by a story Mueller's team has denied, the evolving FOIA landscape, and his fascination with the world of secrets on the national security beat.

In the Fyre Festival documentaries, who is being scammed?
by George Civeris
The Fyre Festival—the music festival scam that was "catnip for trend-chasing journalists"—has yielded two competing documentaries from Hulu and Netflix. Civeris, a Tow research fellow, examines if either film qualifies as an exposé or if selling the story of Fyre Festival is all part of the hustle.  
In the News and At Large
In case you missed them, the Tow Center events on Digital Media and Press Freedom in the Era of Big Tech—which focused on China as a case study—and Data Journalism in the Law were recapped at Medium.

Susan McGregor, assistant director of the Tow Center, contributed to the SAIS Review of International Affairs issue "The State of the Fourth Estate."

McGregor also spoke at Columbia's Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, where she participated in a symposium on Antisemitism, Hate Speech, and Social Media.
Research and Analysis of Note
  • YouTube Kids has come under increased scrutiny for content harmful to children in not one but two hair-raising investigations published in just the last week. The exposés differ from the usual criticism that YouTube is too lenient in its terms of service, though that has also been a major feature of news around the platform: Last month one of the company's most popular stars with teenagers, Jake Paul, was censored by the platform after public outcry for filming himself apparently driving blindfolded on a busy street in Los Angeles as a joke. But the new incidents definitely violate YouTube's in-house standards—they just aren't being detected. Last week a Wired article exposed what appeared to be comment activity by pedophiles on videos posted by children; major companies moved swiftly to pull ad dollars from the platform in the wake of the revelations. Then, over the weekend, multiple outlets including CBS cited Florida pediatrician Free Hess's blog in stories confirming "self-harm tips" by a YouTuber calling himself Filthy Frank incorporated into YouTube videos on the YouTube Kids channel.
  • In the December issue of Journalism, Philippa K Smith, Helen Sissons from the Auckland University of Technology published a case study about a major mistake involving a mis-labeled photo from Facebook and the subsequent apology; the story is instructive for newsrooms seeking both to avoid new mistakes and to triage existing ones.
  • The Verge has published a lengthy investigation of Facebook content moderators called The Trauma Floor, examining the way that exposure to the panoply of objectionable content on Facebook both traumatizes and radicalizes workers assigned to filter it out. It's a topic sure to be of great interest in the near future; UCLA professor Sarah T. Roberts will publish a book on the topic in June.
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