What to Learn on Social Media From Traditional Media

On October 10, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published a special issue of this Sunday’s magazine dedicated in full at the opening of the Staples Center arena in downtown LA. Apparently unaware of time the editorial staff, including the writers and editors associated with the magazine, the paper negotiated an agreement with the owners of the Staples Center to share the revenue from the ads sold in the issue.

When the staff found out about the arrangement, they rebelled. More than 300 reporters and editors signed a petition asking the publisher to apologize, which he did. In a sweep, 12-part post mortem, the paper’s media critic David Shaw, says that “many of The Time newsroom sees Staples activity as the more visible and ugly tip of an iceberg that puts bad balance-one that raises revenue, pushes the price tag that poses a threat of quality deterioration in journalistic, integrity and reputation on paper. ”The deal violates one of the most principled sacrifices of serious journalism, sometimes referred to as a“ firewall ”or separation of church and state: the business department should have no influence on editorial decisions.

Things have changed over the years since the Staples Center event. Social media has become a dominant forum for discourse and news dissemination. The leaders of social media companies insist they are not publishers but purely technological invitations for user-generated content. And yet at the same time they are PRIDE publish their important role in modern communication and access to information. The judgments they make about what material should be seen as to who has more impact than anything else. the Los Angeles Times can be dreamed of.

Although the social media industry has not yet articulated a philosophy on how to achieve advertising revenue should be weighed against other societal values. Facebook, in particular, has nothing like the separation of church and state. An explosive investigative series on the Wall Street Journal last week provided fresh evidence of what would happen if nothing prevented the business side from dominating the people working in quality control. In one case, the Journal reports, the company’s internal researchers studied several changes to the News Feed’s ranking algorithm designed to increase “meaningful social interactions.” When the changes were introduced, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had declared publicly they are the “right thing” to do, even if they sacrifice user interaction and time spent on the app. However, the researchers found that the images, including enlarged posts that were considered likely to be segmented as well, inadvertently promoted “misinformation, poison, and violent content.” Consistent with the documents reviewed by Journal, when a head of Facebook’s integrity department proposed a solution to the company’s business department – that is, to Zuckerberg – he refused to implement it. He doesn’t want to sacrifice user interaction.

In response to stories like this, Facebook pointed out that his investments of safety and interior management in recent years. This week in a press release it was announced that “40,000 people work in safety and security, up from 35,000 in 2019 and a quadruple increase from 10,000 in 2016.” (That’s one employee for every 71,000 users, by the way.) But, as of Journal and etc. reports repeatedly shown, at crucial moments, that those teams are preferred because decisions about safety, content management, and enforcement are made by executives who oversee the growth and lobbying of the company. . That is, Facebook needs its own version of the journalism firewall.

In fact, the lesson that social media companies need to take away from traditional media is much broader. The most interesting thing about the separation of church and state journalism is that it is self -imposed. There is no federal law that says a newspaper must continue its advertising operations without being walled off from coverage decisions. This was an amount that crystallized in the 1920s, when American journalists embraced a commitment to unintentional reporting. As historian Michael Schudson explains in his book News Discovery: A Social History of American Newspapers, it was an important opportunity to develop journalism professionalism, as journalists and editors “accepted what it meant to be independent from the state and the market.” In theory, nothing can stop Jeff Bezos from interfering in how the Washington Post, which he owns, consists of Amazon, which he founded. In practice, he risks a wave of resignations and a major spike in the amount of Postbrand No self -respect reporter wants readers to think they made the sponsor’s bid. (By all accounts, Bezos swiftly handed over from buying the paper in 2013.)

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