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The Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School announces its newest cohort of Knight News Innovation Fellows, which brings together leading academics and practitioners to examine innovations in journalism tools and practice. Nine new projects have been selected to start this year. 

The new fellows join over 100 current and former fellows at the Tow Center. The Fellowship projects are funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Read more about the Knight News Innovation research projects at the Tow Center here.
Hybrid Media Systems and Digital Platforms: Journalists and Writers on Substack

Shira Zilberstein, Doctoral Student, Harvard University

AI in the News: Re-Shaping in the Public Arena

Felix M. Simon, Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Big Tech Philanthropy: The Dynamics of Charitable Partnerships Between Google, Facebook, and News Organizations

Sarah Wiley, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Minnesota

Predictive Journalism

Nicholas Diakopoulos, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Computer Science, Northwestern University

Informal News Networks

Heather Chaplin, founding director; Associate Professor, Journalism + Design Program;
The New School

Corporate Control of Public Information

Victoria Baranetsky, General Counsel, The Center for Investigative Reporting

Assisting‌ ‌courts‌ ‌reporters‌ ‌with‌ ‌AI-enabled‌ ‌heuristics

Jeremy Merrill, Freelance data journalist

 Lessons for Journalists from Virtual Worlds

Damian Radcliffe, Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism, Professor of Practice, at the University of Oregon

Designing Hybrid Journalism: Embedding Journalistic Values in AI-Driven Tools

Colin Porlezza, Senior Assistant Professor of Digital Journalism, Institute of Media and Journalism| Università della Svizzera italiana
  • In last week’s newsletter, we urged readers to join the virtual #StandWithAndrea campaign to show support for journalist Andrea Sahouri as she prepared to face trial for her coverage of protests over the killing of George Floyd in Des Moines, Iowa last May. The next day, as reported by the Des Moines Register, she was acquitted. The Columbia Journalism School alum wasn’t optimistic about the future safety of other journalists, though. According to the article by the Register, Sahouri said, “This will continue. We’ve seen an upward trend of journalists being arrested just in the past year, in 2020, and it’s really important to stand by your convictions."

  • Over the past five years, the International Center for Journalists, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C., documented the online harassment journalist Maria Ressa faced based on her critical coverage of the Rodrigo Duerte regime in the Philippines, among other stories. The report details the “massive and destructive campaign of gendered online violence” that Ressa, who’s also the founder of Manila-based publication, Rappler, faced in recent years. ICJ’s conclusion? “Ressa is an emblematic case study in the global scourge of online violence against women journalists, which operates at the intersection of viral disinformation, networked misogyny, platform capture, press freedom erosion, and contemporary populist politics.” Margaret Sullivan also weighed in on the “increasingly hard” online environment that female journalists face in her weekly media column for the Washington Post. Similarly, the Tow Center is conducting research into the online harassment of female and female-identifying journalists. Click here for more info. 

  • Technology Review reports on, “How Facebook Got Addicted to Spreading Misinformation.” The study concluded that the spread of misinformation can be boiled down to one key point, “Everything the company does and chooses not to do flows from a single motivation: Zuckerberg’s relentless desire for growth.” In other Facebook accountability news, the Markup released a new tool based on their research into information bubbles that allows users to see what different Facebook feeds look like for people across the political spectrum. One antidote for the polarized nature of our media diets is local news, but Reuters reported last week that, Facebook, Google fight bill that would help U.S. news industry.”

  • Digiday published an explainer on the newly-reintroduced US “Journalism Competition Bill.” The bill, which was originally brought to Congress in 2019, “would allow news publishers to work together to establish distribution and payment deals with digital platforms that have at least one billion global monthly users,” such as Google and Facebook. Key lawmakers sponsoring the bill include Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a growing star in the push for anti-trust legislation against Big Tech, Sen. John Kennedy, and Reps. David Cicilline and Ken Buck. This group represents a bipartisan effort to help the ever-growing local news crisis through legislation. More on Friday’s antitrust meeting here.

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