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Blockchain Applications for Journalism
On October 19, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation convened leading thinkers to discuss issues of business model integration, ethical applications, and innovative technology design in relation to blockchain. Speakers included Nellie Bowles (NYT), Alexia Bedat (Klaris Law), Jarrod Dicker (, Paul Ford (Postlight), Mike Goldin (AdChain), Vivian Schiller (Civil), Eran Tromer (Columbia), Nataliya Stanetsky (Women in Blockchain), Salah Zalatimo (Forbes), and Manoush Zomorodi (ZigZag). Watch the full panel discussions here
Local News After Analog
A quarter century after the birth of the World Wide Web, local news in the United States still struggles to fully inhabit the medium. But as digital platforms replace legacy ones, publishers will have to adapt. Tow Fellow Jesse Holcomb's new research on the digital footprint of more than 2,000 local news outlets provides an early marker for where the industry stands today, and signposts for where it is headed. The report was launched at Columbia Journalism School on October 10 with an expert panel including Esfand Pourmand (Hearst), Jim Schachter (WNYC), Jennifer Choi (the Craig Newmark School of Journalism, CUNY).
In the Columbia Journalism Review
The Rumor Caravan: From Twitter Reply to Disaster
by Jonathan Albright
Tow Center digital forensics initiative director Albright examines the debate over the caravan of mostly Honduran migrants on their way to the US-Mexico border. Raging controversies around the story seem guaranteed to stir voter anger, also showing up prominently in the social media feeds of right-wing terrorism because of an antisemitic rumor falsely tying the caravan to George Soros. This rumor predates the current caravan by more than six months, Albright finds, and it was spread beyond the fringes by Fox Business host Lou Dobbs.

Conservatives Trust Conservative Media. Here's Why.
by AJ Bauer and Anthony Nadler
As they research the intricate conservative news ecosystem with colleague Magda Konieczna, Bauer and Nadler try to answer pressing questions about the way conservative media works and how its consumers view both the right-wing media sphere and other news. Though it may seem monolithic to outsiders, conservative media has a spectrum of stakeholders and perspectives, all of which serve to evangelize specific points of view in the name of providing "balance" to what they see as a fundamentally flawed liberal order.

What Can Blockchain Actually Do for Journalism?
by Mia Shuang Li
As the merits and pitfalls of blockchain preoccupy not just tech and finance stakeholders but journalists as well, the question of whether ledger-based journalism is the way of the future or a complex distraction becomes increasingly salient. Li writes about the Tow Center's recent blockchain conference, the difficulties inherent in the technology, and the many hopes journalists have for it.
Tool for Educators
by Priyanjana Bengani
Tow Center Computation Journalism Fellow Priyanjana Bengani shares a presentation for journalists seeking ways to verify digital information and research stories on largely anonymous social media networks. The 2-3 hour class presentation includes lecture notes, exercises, video, and lists of resources for data journalists. Download it here or click the image above for a more thorough introduction on CJR.
In the News and At Large
Jonathan Albright's long-form essay on the state of social media and its relationship to news can be found on the Tow Center's Medium page; Albright has also recently published a deep dive into the election rumor mill on his own Medium.

Albright's research made national headlines in the U.S. for his analysis of the terrorist attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue and the mailed pipe-bombs; his work was cited or used as a primary source for several articles in the New York Times, notably an in-depth analysis of hate speech on YouTube, in Wired, in USA Today, at NBC News, and in The Washington Post.

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