A lot of failed cross-sector projects happen because of a lack of government oversight, a lack of public understanding, a lack of public pressure in what is going into a complex project. That’s where journalism comes in.
Interest in addressing problems through collaboration among business, government and nonprofit sectors is on the rise. Meanwhile, journalists want to understand the mechanics, benefits and limitations of these relationships — partnerships that involve the “linking or sharing of information, resources, activities and capabilities by organizations in two or more sectors to jointly achieve an outcome.”
Journalists have a key role in covering these partnerships, not only to fulfill the Fourth Estate’s mission of holding public officials and agencies accountable for their work in these collaborations, but also to educate the public about cross-sector collaboration as a model for addressing public problems — both its benefits and limitations.
Recode’s Kara Swisher said last year that journalists needed to be tougher on serial liars in tech and politics. Last month, Swisher returned to Recode Media with Peter Kafka to grade whether the media lived up to that goal in 2017 — and the impact of the Silicon Valley companies whose platforms distribute most of their content.
Swisher is frustrated by the unwillingness of tech leaders to accept their share of responsibility in the media space, and not because they’re blind to the problem.
“I think they know that these platforms are being badly misused, and they don’t know what to do about it,” Swisher said. “I think it was a slow burn, a slow dawning on them. The penny dropped really lugubriously.”
On the new podcast, Swisher also shares why she’s more impressed by Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel than by his peers, why Silicon Valley isn’t thinking about AI’s potential for reinforcing bias, and why she’s tired of tech’s perpetual-victim mentality.
In a quest to find a solution that works for everyone, we too often invest in ideas that don’t work particularly well for anyone. In 2018, my aspirational prediction is that journalism shifts its focus on innovation toward investing in processes, rather than platforms and products. Too many good ideas are discarded because they don’t fit the dominant model of “scalable” and “replicable,” which is too narrow in scope.
Dirty algorithms. Gladden Pappin says, “The filters which prevent web searches from going astray give you no hint about what course of action is virtue and what is vice.”
Pappin’s subtle indictment of algorithmic bias invokes Upton Sinclair’s critique of the contradictions of journalism, with its newsroom of “subordinates drifting inevitably toward the point of view held by their masters.”
For Pappin, varied views are fine, if taken in moderation. Because “when freedom equals unlimited choice, and when technology abolishes limits and with them purpose, everyone winds up having to make or discover the rules himself.”
These days, Facebook and Fake News are synonymous. I get Wikipedia’s stringent rules for what is or isn’t legit. If the almighty wiki overlords sanction a button to rid the world of disinformation, then bring it. Question is, where will it go? Facebook is riddled with tap-traps. Try tapping a pic and instead you’ve opened pandora’s box of pop-ups. Tags, filters, emojis — everything but the kitchen sink.
Adding Wikipedia to the FB clutter grenade without pulling the pin will take focus. And that’s a problem. Focus is the one thing Facebook doesn’t have.