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Journalism + Design
Disentangling journalism’s messiest problems. Heather Chaplin and Emily Bell tap the biggest brains in the business and beyond to tease out where we go from here. From the Journalism and Design program at The New School.
Apr 8, 2019
Season Two Finale: Is This Thing On?
For our season two finale, Emily and Heather are joined by "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" writer Mike Drucker to talk about all things comedy and journalism. How do the writing staffs at shows like Full Frontal collaborate with researchers to produce investigative segments? How has the rise of social media changed the comedy landscape? Have comedians done a better job of explaining Brexit to Americans than journalists? Plus, Tricky's in-house comedian George Civeris presents a list of innovative suggestions for solving journalism's thorniest problems.
Mar 22, 2019
'The Digital Maginot Line' and the Future of Information Warfare
In "The Digital Maginot Line", Mozilla fellow and disinformation expert Renée DiResta argues that perpetrators of information warfare have shifted from "targeting infrastructure to targeting the minds of civilians." In this week's episode, Renée joins Heather and Emily to talk about how governments and platforms are not doing enough to address this shift. In light of recent debates about the ethics of covering the Christchurch massacre, we talk about best practices for journalists working in an era of democratized propaganda and rampant misinformation.
Mar 9, 2019
And The (Tech) Beat Goes On
In the past few years, coverage of Silicon Valley in the press has shifted away from techno-utopian boosterism towards increasingly critical analysis. On this week's episode, we hear some advice from the New York Times' John Herrman about covering big tech platforms, and then Emily and Heather are joined by the Times' Amanda Hess to discuss her experiences writing about the internet as both a reporter and a critic.
Feb 25, 2019
The Rise of Unions in Digital Media
Gawker unionized in 2015, setting off a wave of digital newsroom organizing, invigorated by layoffs and politics that leave journalists feeling embattled. Emily and Heather are joined by long-time labor reporter Steven Greenhouse, Writers Guild of America East organizer Megan McRobert, and writer and WGAE Council member Kelly Stout to explain how unions has been brought into the digital newsroom— and what digital journalism expects from labor.
Feb 9, 2019
Print Is Dead! Long Live Print!
BuzzFeed, Vice and other leaders in digital media have laid off over 2,000 people so far this year. It seems that nobody can bring in enough revenue from digital advertising to fuel free news online. Meanwhile, printed newspapers continue to lose subscribers. The good news, says University of Texas at Austin associate professor Iris Chyi, is that loyal subscribers are willing to pay more for less— even while newspapers feed their own "death spiral" by cutting newsrooms, hiking prices, and bemoaning their own demise. Nieman Lab director Joshua Benton joins in to discuss and disagree about what the numbers tell us about newspapers' past, and to pitch a future for print.
Jan 18, 2019
Can We Count on Audience Metrics?
How do we measure the reach and impact of online journalism? Does audience data belong in the newsroom? The meaning of audience metrics is often unclear, but their effects on business and editorial decisions are very real (pivot to video, anyone?). Chris Moran, The Guardian's strategic projects editor, talks to Emily about building analytics tools for journalists, navigating misleading numbers, and working in a newsroom that is "data-driven, but not data-led."
Dec 14, 2018
Platforms & Publishers, Part 2: "We Damaged Our Souls"
In the second part of Tricky's deep-dive into the relationship between news publishers and tech platforms, Jezebel founding editor Anna Holmes joins Heather and Emily to talk about the glory days of blogs, the evolution of women's digital spaces (RIP Rookie), and what was lost when commenter culture moved to Facebook and Twitter. We also discuss the legacy of Gawker Media, what recent layoffs at digital publishers mean for the industry, and Anna's escape from the 24-hour news cycle as the editor of Topic, an online magazine that publishes once a month.
Nov 30, 2018
Platforms & Publishers (Name A More Dysfunctional Duo)
Writer and journalism professor Anjali Khosla joins Heather and Emily to talk about how we got this fraught relationship between tech platforms and news publishers. They cover the latest Facebook bombshell(s), Jonah Peretti's plans for digital media conglomeration, Anjali's experience as one of the first social media editors, and how future decisions from social media platforms will to shape the viability of journalism. They attempt to end on a positive note several times to mixed results.
Nov 16, 2018
The Jam-Packed Post-Election ‘What Does It All Mean?’ Special
Emily and Heather discuss the fallout from the White House sharing a doctored video of Jim Acosta's heated exchange with President Trump. They then listen to local reporters from around the country share lessons they learned from covering the mid-terms. Plus, Heather interviews Rolling Stone's Jamil Smith about the responsibilities of journalists reporting on a divided electorate as we look towards 2020.
Nov 2, 2018
Justice for Jamal Khashoggi
Journalist Mehdi Hasan joins Heather and Emily to discuss Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder and explore what its coverage says about the American media's evolving relationship with the Saudi Arabian government. Plus, Heather and Emily bring back the unboxing to reveal two new recurring segments for the show. It's the beginning of a whole new season of Tricky.
Oct 24, 2018
Season Two Starts Next Week
Emily and Heather are back with a new season of Tricky! Starting Nov. 2, we'll unbox the news of the week and untangle the knottiest problems facing journalism. New episodes every other Friday.
Jun 26, 2018
What Are Journalists For?
On the finale of the first season of Tricky, Emily and Heather are joined by media critic and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen to discuss the journalism that exposed the Trump administration's atrocities at the border and the role of the American press in an era of competing realities. Reading List: ProPublica's initial reporting from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility: https://www.propublica.org/article/children-separated-from-parents-border-patrol-cbp-trump-immigration-policy Our friend Margaret Sullivan's column about reporter Olivia Nuzzi's decision to play the ProPublica clip during a White House press briefing: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/a-reporter-at-the-white-house-decided-to-play-the-audio-of-children-sobbing-somebody-had-to/2018/06/19/bbb8d814-73aa-11e8-805c-4b67019fcfe4_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.db8b0e4c5b4f On the aftermath of Trump's executive order ending family separations: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-des…
Jun 1, 2018
Credibility Ratings Dive
How many fact-checking organizations does it take to change the proverbial fake news lightbulb? Elon Musk thinks we need at least one more. But maybe more like a popularity contest than a fact check, with journalists and institutions competing for credibility ratings. Emily and Heather ask what is the point in the dozens of recently launched fact-checking initiatives, and the director of Poynter’s international fact-checking network Alexios Mantzarlis provides them with answers. Reading List: Explainer on the Elon Musk & “Pravda” https://www.vox.com/2018/5/24/17389388/elon-musk-twitter-pravda Nate Silver’s response: https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/999370434108944384 Ben Smith’s response: https://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/elon-musk-doesnt-know-what-hes-talking-about?utm_term=.poQVePjPl#.pcqEYlOla Our guest Alexios Mantzarlis’ response: “Four serious questions about Elon Musk's silly credibility score” https://www.poynter.org/news/four-serious-quest…
May 18, 2018
The Unraveling of Univision
Heather and Emily are joined by David Uberti of Splinter News, one of the authors of “Univision is a Fucking Mess” about his employer. But, seeking silver linings wherever they go, they also talk with Almudena Toral from Univision News Digital about some of the award-winning investigative work coming out of the Miami newsroom. Plus, Emily has all the latest on the Royal Wedding. Reading list: https://journalismdesign.com/episode-8-the-unraveling-of-univision/ Theme music: The Insider Theme by The Insider is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
May 4, 2018
A Bonfire of Hot Takes
Emily and Heather consider what place opinion journalism has in public discourse today. With Jeet Heer of The New Republic, and Katie Kingsbury of the New York Times, the two ask: Is intellectual diversity possible? Can, and should, legacy news organizations provide thought leadership? When do provocations and thought experiments actually foster debate and when are they just straight trolling? And what’s that smell? Is it the daily bonfire of hot takes? Reading list: https://journalismdesign.com/episode-7-a-bonfire-of-hot-takes/ Theme music: The Insider Theme by The Insider is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Apr 20, 2018
Heather and Emily hunker down in the journalistic equivalent of a nuclear bunker with Storyful’s Mandy Jenkins and design technologist Rick Barraza to explore the looming crisis of AI-generated fakery that threatens our understanding of what’s real. Reading list: https://journalismdesign.com/episode-6-getting-ready-for-the-infocalypse/ The Insider Theme by The Insider is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Apr 6, 2018
What’s in the Sinclair Broadcasting box?
A perverted sex act in a company-owned Mercedes, and a shriveled local media ecosystem. Heather and Emily are joined by Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan and Texas Tribune founder John Thornton to unpack the tricky problem of how to save local news from bankruptcy and bias. Reading list: https://journalismdesign.com/episode-5-whats-in-the-sinclair-broadcasting-box/ Theme music: The Insider Theme by The Insider is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Mar 23, 2018
Propaganda and pink hair
Heather Chaplin and Emily Bell talk to Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, about misinformation, conspiracy theories, and how journalism can survive in systems flooded with propaganda, with tips on tackling fake news from Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass. And Emily gives us an audio whiteboard sketch of the complexities of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data story. Reading list: https://journalismdesign.com/episode-4-propaganda-and-pink-hair/ Theme music: The Insider Theme by The Insider is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Mar 14, 2018
Don't read the comments
In this episode of Tricky, Heather and Emily talk to Sarah L. Roberts, the woman who coined the term “commercial content moderation,” about how elements of online discourse are governed by outsourced and unseen low-paid workers, who sift through “the grossness of humanity.” And they ask Andrew Losowsky of the Coral Project whether newsrooms and journalists still have a part to play in fostering civil discourse, on and offline. Plus: the bubonic plague, dance mania, Karen Carpenter, and pointy shoes. Read the full transcript below. Reading list: https://journalismdesign.com/please-dont-read-comments/ Theme music: The Insider Theme by The Insider is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Feb 26, 2018
Facebook is broken. Should we hop on the Blockchain?
Facebook’s 35 mentions in the 37-page indictment of 13 Russian nationals solidified the social network’s position at the center of our current political and cultural conundrum. In this episode, Heather Chaplin and Emily Bell retrace the steps that led to this point, examine whether Facebook’s leadership was willfully ignorant or breathtakingly naive, and analyse the role of journalism in all this. And while we pick over the debris of our democracy, we also debate the case for blockchain – technology plenty of smart folks, including our guest Jarrod Dicker (former VP of innovation at the Washington Post, new CEO of Po.et), are putting a lot of faith in. Reading list: https://journalismdesign.com/episode-2-facebook-is-broken-should-we-hop-on-the-blockchain/ Theme music: The Insider Theme by The Insider is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
1 hr 1 min
Feb 13, 2018
In the inaugural episode of Tricky, Emily Bell and Heather Chaplin look at perhaps the greatest challenge facing journalism today: the fight to capture your attention. Journalism may be a pillar of democracy, but how can it compete with the persuasive design tactics that serve up everything from Instagram posts to dating apps? Examining persuasive design through the lenses of psychology, anthropology, ethics and history, Emily and Heather try to unpack what the attention economy is doing to journalism and to society. This week’s show features excerpts from a discussion about the “dark side of design,” starring some outspoken critics of social networks. Our hosts speak with Natasha Schull, author of Addiction by Design and James Williams, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology and try to identify a framework for change. Who’s responsible for the effects of persuasive technology? Is regulation of Big Tech reasonable, or even the right approach? Where does personal respo…
1 hr 6 min
Feb 9, 2018
Coming Soon: Tricky. A show about the shape of the future of journalism
Disentangling journalism’s knottiest problems. Heather Chaplin and Emily Bell call on leading thinkers, doers, writers, and designers to tease out where we go from here. From the Journalism and Design program at The New School.