Note to subscribers

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
A little housecleaning behind the scenes at the Meyerson blog. If you’ve been getting these dispatches by email for a while, you may notice a change: You’re now getting them via MailChimp instead of Google’s reliable (but kinda creaky) FeedBurner service. Please email me if this causes any trouble (duplicate emails, for instance). And thank you for subscribing. Your thoughts are always welcome here.

But, hey, because you clicked or tapped to read this, here are a few things you might also find worth some attention:

As I tweeted Wednesday — and was retweeted by, among others, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark — “At the heart of the #fakenews problem: Lazy advertisers. #kfcivichall” (a hashtag referring to livestreamed discussion at the Knight Foundation-Civic Hall Symposium on Tech, Politics and the Media).

Through the twitterstream that followed, I learned of a crowdsourced campaign to alert advertisers to their laziness — something often a consequence of automated, or “programmatic,” ad buys: The Sleeping Giants project (@slpng_giants on Twitter, on Facebook).

It provides simple guidance to help consumers enlighten companies inadvertently supporting “racist websites” with their ad dollars.

If you’re an advertiser, Sleeping Giants also offers step-by-step advice for being more selective in your own ad placement.

And another cool thing spotlighted at the #kfcivichall forum:

Upworthy CEO and veteran Eli Pariser‘s harnessing the power of the internet to address the fake news* problem, using one of the most boring possible tools you can imagine. A Google Doc.

He explained its evolution from a personal page of notes he drafted — just a few thoughts of his own — into what Forbes has called “a hive of collaborative activity.”

When he ran out of ideas, he invited, well, everyone in the world to read it and edit it. You can join in (or just delight in what happens when crowdsourcing works) here, on a page known — for now, because anyone can change it at any moment — as “Media ReDesign: The New Realities.”

If, like so many journalists at the conference and citizens everywhere, you find yourself regretting media’s “moment of great failure,” you could do worse than check out these two projects.

*As I’ve noted elsewhere, I don’t like the phrase “fake news.” If it’s fake, it’s not news. I much prefer “lies“ or “propaganda.” But that’s the phrase people are using to describe the problem, so it works as shorthand.

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