Imprisoned journalists, Afghanistan Papers, trusted journalism, and new YouTube harassment policy

Our personal weekly selection about journalism and innovation.

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Edited by Marco Nurra


Watch all #ijf19 sessions on-demand: media.journalismfestival.com


For the fourth consecutive year, at least 250 journalists were behind bars worldwide. China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt are world’s worst jailers of journalists.

Afghanistan papers reveal US public were misled about unwinnable war. Hundreds of confidential interviews with key figures involved in prosecuting the 18-year US war in Afghanistan have revealed that the US public has been consistently misled about an unwinnable conflict. Transcripts of the interviews, published by the Washington Post after a three-year legal battle, were collected for a Lessons Learned project by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), a federal agency whose main task is eliminating corruption and inefficiency in the US war effort. The 2,000 pages of documents reveal the bleak and unvarnished views of many insiders in a war that has cost $1tn and killed more than 2,300 US servicemen and women, with more than 20,000 injured. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have died in the conflict. Here’s why the Washington Post’s Afghanistan investigation is such a big deal.

Strategies for truth-telling in a time of misinformation and polarization. Today’s media environment requires reporters and editors to be detectives of misinformation, and then be prepared to debunk falsehoods without amplifying them, says the American Press Institute.

A guide for how publishers can truly build trusted journalism. “The problem with lack of trust is not because of a single factor. Instead, it’s the cumulative effect of many different problems, that combined have lost us our trustworthy status. We can always point fingers at external factors, and yes, there are those too, but most of the problems are actually internal. It’s caused by things that we do, or fail to do, as publishers,” writes Thomas Baekdal in this 39-pages report.

Trusting the News Media in the Trump Era. There is a clear link between the public’s approval of Trump and their views of the news media, with those more supporting of Trump being much more critical of the news media overall than those less supporting, according to Pew Research Center.

Men and white people believe the news is less reliable now than it was in the past. Women and people of color think it’s gotten more reliable. Different groups of Americans perceive news very differently: It depends on your race, gender, age, education level, and political affiliation, according to a new RAND survey of 2,543 Americans ages 21 and older.

Politicians are embracing disinformation in the UK election. While voters despair at political misinformation, British politicians have seemingly treated such tactics as inspiration.

Truth has been the first casualty of Britain’s election. “But there is also a deeper force at work: the triumph of political tribalism. In the Blair-Cameron era, politics was primarily about policy. Today it is about tribalism as much as economics. The Tories are using Brexit to win over Labour voters, while Labour is reasserting its identity as the party of the working class.” […] “The combination of an epidemic of lies and a climate of mistrust is proving noxious. It distorts the selection process. The more voters assume all politicians are liars, the more likely they are to choose a liar to represent them. Mr Johnson is in many ways the ideal politician for a post-truth age, because nobody expects him to keep his word. He exists in a world of us-versus-them and of emotion rather than reason, a world in which cheering people up is more important than depressing them with facts.”

YouTube surprises creators with new harassment policy and the takedowns have already begun. They will ban videos that “maliciously insult” people based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Anti-vaxxers are adopting new tactics. Similar to how anti-abortion protesters will stake out women’s health clinics to heckle patients, some anti-vaxxers have started to confront parents outside of doctors’ offices.

Four ways Mother Jones became profitable in this turbulent industry: prioritizing investigative and long-form journalism; zeroing in on relationships with readers; restructuring its fundraising campaigns; betting on small experiments to build audiences.


The International Journalism Festival #ijf19 On-Demand


Every week, one recommendation from the extensive programme of the last edition of the International Journalism Festival.

Today we are inviting you to watch “Trust and bias: how often unconscious bias is eroding trust in news“. Trust in journalism is in dire straits. Why? In part because many people feel un-represented and that the mainstream media has a progressive, liberal bias which doesn’t reflect their reality. Many media companies say they are unbiased and report the facts but is it possible to be unbiased? What is bias anyway? And how does it affect audiences as well as newsrooms? We want to take this beyond a shouting match and provide a thought-provoking debate about how bias is part of human psychology and come up with solutions as to how to work with and within them to improve trust again. Reuters has “unbiased and reliable” as one of our Trust Principles so it is core to our thinking.

(Photo via New York Post)