MediaShift Podcast #222: Milo Yiannopoulos Dropped by CPAC, Breitbart; Zuckerberg Supports Local News?; Quartz’s Zach Seward

    by Jefferson Yen
    February 24, 2017
    A view of the Quartz news app. (Courtesy Quartz)

    Thanks to our podcast sponsor, the International Women’s Media Foundation. Learn more about them and nominate a great woman journalist for one of their three awards!

    In the news this week, hate speech provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos loses a speaking gig at a conservative conference, loses his book deal and resigns from Breitbart over comments that seemed to condone pedophilia. And Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg continues to talk about the importance of local news, but what actions will he take? The Polk Awards for investigative journalism highlight the work at non-profit, digital outlets like ProPublica and Center for Public Integrity, as well as collaborations. Politico’s Hadas Gold joins us to talk about Milo’s resignation press conference, and how news anchors and journalists are playing into Trump’s battle with the media. Our Metric of the Week is “survey metrics” and we speak with Quartz executive editor Zach Seward, who explains why their chatty news app is finding success.

    "Nobody really wanted a true 'choose your own adventure' story every time they read the news." -Zach Seward on building the Quartz news app

    Don’t have a lot of time to spare, but still want to get a roundup of the week’s top news? Then check out our Digital Media Brief below!


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    Digital Media Brief

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    Host Bio

    Mark Glaser is executive editor and publisher of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He is an award-winning writer and accidental entrepreneur, who has taken MediaShift from a one-person blog to a growing media company with events such as Collab/Space workshops and weekend hackathons; the weekly MediaShift podcast; and digital training, DigitalEd, in partnership with top journalism schools. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.



    Zach Seward is senior editor of Quartz, where he focuses on new forms of storytelling and leads a group of journalists with backgrounds in data wrangling, programming, and interaction design. He previously worked at The Wall Street Journal, first as a reporter covering education and health, then as the editor of outreach and social media. Before that, he helped launch the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, covering the media industry. He also currently teaches digital journalism at NYU.


    Hadas Gold is a media reporter at POLITICO who runs the On Media blog for the site. Gold was an international reporting fellow with the Pulitzer Center. She was born in Tel Aviv and raised in Arizona. She earned her B.A. in journalism, and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University.

    Top News Of The Week

    Milo Yiannopoulos Dumped from Simon & Schuster, CPAC, and Breitbart

    Just as YouTube video star PewDiePie learned last week, alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is learning this week: Bigotry and hate speech can provoke, and it can go too far. Yiannopoulos, you’ll recall, was an editor at Breitbart and arguably the publication’s most prominent figure after Steve Bannon. He was a rising star at the publication and recently appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher” despite his history of homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and overt sexism. But he finally went too far on some video podcasts last year, which were unearthed by the conservative website, the Reagan Battalion. On those videos, Yiannopoulos defended relationships between “older men” and “younger boys,” and made light of his own child abuse and pedophilia by priests.

    On Sunday he tried to walk back his words, saying the videos weren’t edited right and later saying he did not defend child abuse, and he had used a “poor choice of words.” But the damage was done, and Yiannopoulos lost a speaking gig at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, his book deal with Simon & Schuster was canceled and he resigned from Breitbart by Tuesday. The most surprising point wasn’t that Yiannopoulos had such a striking downfall, but that it took so long after so many line-crossing hate speech moments. As Vox’s German Lopez writes, Yiannopoulos has simply used free speech as a pretext to defend hate speech, but support for pedophilia went too far for CPAC, Simon & Schuster and Breitbart. This is a problem not just for conservative media, but for anyone in the media who’s been enabling hate speech, according to Owen Jones in the Guardian. As Jones notes, “There was money to be made — never mind that they were providing him with a platform to menace and incite hatred against already besieged minorities.” Hopefully, this will lead to more scrutiny by publishers who might consider giving a platform to hate speech.


    How Serious is Mark Zuckerberg About Local News?

    If you had to describe the relationship between Facebook and news publishers, the best phrase would be: it’s complicated. Publishers for years have decried the social media giant for becoming a major source for news without really compensating publishers fairly. Sure, they split some revenues for Instant Articles and Facebook obviously drives tons of traffic  (and subscriptions) for publishers. But Facebook remains dominant in online advertising, and along with Google have a stranglehold on mobile ads. Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg has recently been softening his stance on the importance of news publishing, finally creating a Journalism Partnership to help fact-check and tag fake news. And last week, he published a manifesto about Facebook’s place in the world, including an entire section on helping build an informed community.

    Zuckerberg talked about fighting fake news and filter bubbles and wrote that, “There is more we must do to support the news industry to make sure this vital social function is sustainable — from growing local news, to developing formats best suited to mobile devices, to improving the range of business models news organizations rely on.” While Zuckerberg didn’t get into details, he did post a photo on Facebook this week from his trip to Selma, Alabama, with his wife, with them reading a newspaper and talking about the importance of local news. Of course, others were quick to step into the breach and analyze his thoughts and meaning. Stratechery’s Ben Thompson said the manifesto scared him for the power that Facebook can exert on information and conversation around the world. And The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance believes that Zuckerberg will just continue to decimate the news business by “building a news organization without journalists.” And Steven Waldman, in an Op-Ed in the New York Times, says that Zuckerberg should put his money where his mouth is, with an endowment to fund 50 new investigative reporters in each state and strengthening local journalism. But let’s get real. Facebook isn’t going to decimate the news business nor will it become its savior. The best outcome is for publishers to work more closely with the social giant to help it improve what it’s doing while also helping their own prospects.


    George Polk Awards Go to ICIJ, ProPublica, and The Marshall Project

    Anyone who thinks that investigative journalism is dying, or that digital media can’t measure up to legacy efforts, should take a look at the recent list of George Polk Awards given to investigative reporting in 2016. It’s true that the New York Times led the pack with three awards, and the Washington Post had two. But ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis won a Polk this year for his coverage of Trump’s supporters, to add to their award from last year. And the Center for Public Integrity, a longtime non-profit outlet won its third Polk Award, this time for its International Consortium of Investigative Journalists or ICIJ, which produced the amazing “Panama Papers” report from more than 190 journalists around the world. Not to mention The Marshall Project winning its second Polk award this year for Christine Thompson’s work with NPR’s Joseph Shapiro to uncover the practice of bunking solitary confinement inmates together, with sometimes fatal consequences.

    There’s an obvious pattern here: non-profit journalism outfits are finding their groove and getting the recognition they deserve. For every story about the death of investigative reporting, there should be another story extolling the work of so many great non-profit organizations. Inside Philanthropy’s David Callahan and Mike Scutari wrote that the Polk Awards offer more evidence about the “growing success of philanthropy-backed journalism.” And while the awards are piling up, they also note that funding is also picking up at ProPublica and The Marshall Project, with ProPublica raising nearly $17 million last year, compared to $13 million in each of the previous years. And just as important, these non-profit outlets are doing especially well in collaboration, with the ICIJ being a high water mark for global collaboration. These are signs that digital non-profit outlets are helping to fill the gap with investigative reporting we might have lost from legacy media.


    Music on this Episode

    Can’t Hate The Hater by 3 Feet Up
    Sinking Feeling by Jessie Spillane
    DJ by Jahzzar
    Backed Clean Vibes by Kevin Macleod
    Air Hockey Saloon by Chris Zabriskie
    I Never Wanted To Say by Lorenzo’s Music
    I’m Going for a Coffee by Lee Rosevere

    Jefferson Yen is the producer for the MediaShift Podcast. His work has been on KPCC Southern California Public Radio and KRTS Marfa Public Radio. You can follow him @jeffersontyen.

    Thanks to our podcast sponsor, the International Women’s Media Foundation. Learn more about them and nominate a great woman journalist for one of their three awards!

    Tagged: breitbart facebook mark zuckerberg milo yiannopoulos non-profit news polk awards quartz tech

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