• Lab
  • AndroidForMobile Foundation at
    HOME
              
    LATEST STORY
    Notifications every 2 minutes: This in-depth look at how people really use WhatsApp shows why fighting fake news there is so hard
    ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
    Nov. 3, 2017, 1:24 p.m.
    Business Models

    The risk of billionaire-funded media, the importance of archiving, and other takeaways from the demise of DNAInfo and Gothamist

    Signs that the sites’ owner Joe Ricketts didn’t hold journalistic independence sacrosanct came soon after DNAinfo acquired Gothamist LLC, which promptly deleted at least five stories since 2010 about its new owner.

    What billionaires giveth, billionaires can taketh away.

    DNAinfo and Gothamist, two popular local news networks,, just a week after employees of companies voted to unionize. Billionaire Joe Ricketts, who launched DNAInfo in 2009 and , that while the two sites had accomplished much over the years (9 million unique visits a day) “that progress hasn’t been sufficient to support the tremendous effort and expense needed to produce the type of journalism on which the company was founded.” Of course the timing of the news lent itself to a different conclusion: , Ricketts () decided to shut them down. Adding insult to injury, the dozens DNAinfo and Gothamist employees (which included both writers and salespeople) were themselves blindsided by the news, which many learned of via the message that all the sites’ links redirected to.

    Here are some early takeaways.

    Perhaps billionaires aren’t the ideal benefactors for news. The success of Jeff Bezos-backed Washington Post and Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media have been encouraging signs that, news organizations can thrive and do good work under a billionaire aligned with their efforts. Joe Ricketts offers a counterargument. Signs that Ricketts didn’t hold journalistic independence sacrosanct came soon after DNAinfo acquired Gothamist LLC, which promptly .

    Archive, archive, archive. While The Times has confirmed that there are efforts underway at DNAinfo to archive the sites, there are already multiple external underway as well. Developers @xn9q8h and @turtlekiosk wrote , which Gothamist and DNAinfo writers can use to recover their clips from the Google AMP caches of the two sites. Paul Ford that links to over 50,000 deleted articles, though it only works with Gothamist.com at the moment. And then there’s the , which has also been a valuable resource for writers. has the most complete collection of the archiving efforts.

    Another black eye for local news. While the early reaction to the news has rightfully focused on how it will affect the dozens of people who find themselves suddenly unemployed, it’s worth remembering that many people in local communities (and, yes, big media rich cities like New York and San Francisco) relied on the sites for local news. It’s been a rough 24 hours for them as well.

    POSTED     Nov. 3, 2017, 1:24 p.m.
    SEE MORE ON Business Models
    SHARE THIS STORY
       
    Show comments  
    Show tags
     
    Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
    Notifications every 2 minutes: This in-depth look at how people really use WhatsApp shows why fighting fake news there is so hard
    “In India, citizens actively seem to be privileging breadth of information over depth…Indians at this moment are not themselves articulating any kind of anxiety about dealing with the flood of information in their phones.”
    Facebook probably didn’t want to be denying it paid people to create fake news this week, but here we are
    Plus: WhatsApp pays for misinformation research and a look at fake midterm-related accounts (“heavy on memes, light on language”).
    How The Wall Street Journal is preparing its journalists to detect deepfakes
    “We have seen this rapid rise in deep learning technology and the question is: Is that going to keep going, or is it plateauing? What’s going to happen next?”