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tv   Journalists Discuss Technology and the Media  CSPAN  November 25, 2016 8:53pm-10:23pm EST

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by america's cable television companies. and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> today, first lady michelle obama welcomed the arrival of the official white house christmas tree. a 19 foots tree is balsam for donated by the owners of a tree farm in wisconsin. ♪
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"oh,[instrumental masistmas tree, oh, christams tree"] ♪ mrs. obama: what do you think? >> it is great. mrs. obama: should we accept it? i think we are good.
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these are our replacement kids. [laughter] this is what happens when you have teenagers. one is asleep. these two are up. this is what we have now. good job guys. christmas begins. the holidays start. we are ready. our last one. we are excited about it. congratulations to our award winners here. thank you, guys. our work here is done. that is easy. the easiest part of the holiday season. ok, you guys -- happy holidays and happy thanksgiving. we will see you around.
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>> a conference on journalism and new media. panelists from the washington post, slate, google, and vice media talked about how new technologies are changing journalism. from the aspen institute in colorado, this is an hour and a half. >> welcome everybody. it is my pleasure as someone who has been a refugee from the world of journalism for 12 years to have a panel to find out what has been going on in the past 12 years. first, i want to thank bob
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hearst because this is a hearst lecture series. thank you, rob and solar dad soledad -- soledad. we are also doing it in conjunction with colorado mountain college. that is why we have a product placement deal with them. would you stand up? [applause] >> colorado mountain college as you all know has 11 campuses in a 12,000 square mile area. i will give you one important fact -- it is an open access college for everybody in this entire region, which means if you graduate from high school, you get a letter from the president that says you are in. then they have a president's funds thanks to a lot of people that gives $1000 for expenses. it makes it the most affordable college in america. thank you for what you are doing.
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[applause] the wonderful media panel, i will let them tell a little bit about what they do. i will start with marty baron, who bridges the world between old and new media. he was a great editor. we have seen him in the movies at the boston globe, and now at the washington post. >> thank you. i'm the executive editor of the washington post. i'm the old guy from the old media on a new media panel. apparently. i may be a little out of place. we have become very much a new media company, growing very fast. i have worked at the washington post for 3.5 years. before that, i was editor of the boston globe, and before that the editor of the miami herald. i've also worked at the l.a. times and new york times. >> you not -- you cannot keep a
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job but you are doing ok. >> i am highly transient. >> i am julia turner, the editor in chief of slate. i have been in that role for two years, but i have been at slate for 13 years. i came upon the culture side, and then was the deputy editor for a while. slate is an online magazine of opinion and commentary. we turned 20 years old this year. i'm also an old guy on the new media panel and a way. we are the gray lady of the internet, which puts us in an interesting position. that i am happy to talk more about later today. >> i am the founder of ryot news. it is an immersive media company specializing in virtual reality, 360 and augmented reality. we have recently joined forces with the huffington post and aol to start a new chapter. >> i oversee partnerships for the google news lab, which is google's effort to power -- to empower innovation at the
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intersection of technology and media and journalism. prior to that, i was youtube's news manager and oversaw a lot of efforts around news and information. >> i'm the head of growth at vice media. i am one of the born and bred vice employees. i started straight out of school as an intern and work my way up now, where i look after a lot of our global digital strategy, distribution, partnerships, and how we grow. >> marty, the movie "spotlight" -- who plays you? >> liev schreiber. >> you're better looking. >> well, he's four inches taller, a lot more fit and better looking. i don't mind if people hear my name and think of him. >> anyway, this is all the presidents men for our generation. it reminds us of what journalism
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is all about. tell us your experience with that movie. >> with the movie, i never expected to be made. it does not have superheroes, it doesn't have action scenes, it doesn't have special-effects. the sex that is in the movie is typical kind of sex you go to see. no sex scenes thankfully in the movie. it highlighted an investigation that the boston globe did that i launched on my first day at my first meeting at the boston globe in 2001. the first stories were published in we had about a year and a january 2002. half worth of coverage about a cover-up of a pattern of sexual abuse within the archdiocese of boston. it obviously went well beyond that to cover up throughout the country and actually throughout the world. i think that it highlights the central purpose of journalism.
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we have a lot of things that we are supposed to accomplish in journalism, but central to our mission is holding powerful individuals and institutions accountable. that is what we endeavored to do with that investigation. there was evidence of great wrongdoing on the part of the church and the cardinal himself, that the archdiocese was aware of serial child abuse by not just one priest, but many priests. it turned out to be about 200 priests over 40 years. they were essentially engaged in a cover-up. that is central to the purpose of journalism is to try to expose that wrongdoing, and that is what we endeavored to do and that is what we accomplished. >> you went to one of the survivors recently? >> they invited me -- there is a group referred to in the movie that is the survivors' network. it had been a small and ragtag group before the movie.
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since the movie and since our investigation at the globe, they have acquired a lot of new members, and i was invited to chicago to address with a keynote speech their annual convention. there were 300 abuse survivors at that convention. it was a remarkable thing, because it was gratifying. i kept getting stopped and people wanted to thank me for the work at the boston globe exposing this abuse. a lot of people were people who said that after the movie came out, prior to the movie they had never spoken about their abuse. they had not told their friends, they had not told their families. they had not done anything, they had kept it all secret. because of the movie they felt it was critical that they talk about it. it was the first time they had attended a convention of that organization and wanted to be active in ensuring that that kind of abuse did not continue
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in the church or any other institution. >> my last question to you -- that must have cost a lot of money to do a very long investigation like that with a whole lot of people in it, and it was not the type of story that aggregates eyeballs for clickbait for advertisers. it had to be done because you had the resources of a great paper. talk about the resources that you need, especially now that had -- has purchased the washington post and has launched strong investigative teams. >> i think the investigation highlights what takes to do investigative journalism and do it right. i hope that is one of the lessons that people brought from that movie is that it takes a lot of time and effort. it is not glamorous in any way. you're going to documents, knocking on people's doors. people are shunning those doors on your face. it is very hard work, particularly when it involves an
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institution that wants to keep this kind information secret. over the course of the first year, it probably cost the boston globe $1 million to do that work, given the legal work that was required. we went to court to unseal documents that had been kept confidential by the church that would help expose the truth. we had to do a sort of street-level reporting investigation as well. there were a lot of reporters ultimately involved in that investigation, well beyond the spotlight team teacher in the -- well beyond the spotlight team that is featured in the movie. it is probably $1 million in the first year. this requires a lot of work. since it is core to our mission, we want to continue to do that kind of work at the washington post. the post has always done that kind of work. fortunately with the new owner, we have a guy who has some financial capital as you may know, which has been very helpful. he has also brought intellectual
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capital, and i think both of those are very important to us. he has spoken quite passionately to us at the post about how he sees journalism shedding light in dark places. democracy dies in darkness, and the role of journalists and the role of the washington post is to make sure we bring wrongdoing to light, and to hold public officials and powerful institutions accountable. he himself can be viewed as a powerful individual and he has said we should feel free to cover him and his institution, amazon, the way we would cover any other business executive and any other business. >> julia, enlightened billionaire owners are one business model that may work, but that cannot work for everybody. when slate was founded by michael kinsley, it wavered from being something where you
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charged -- to try to get consumer revenue, there was a pay wall -- then he went off of that. and then you had a membership model to some extent. how do you see ways of doing good journalism and getting revenue? >> we were founded by michael kinsley under the auspices of microsoft. we had our own billionaire helping us out at the beginning. one thing that we have been thinking a lot about over the last few years is the relationship we have with our audience. people come to slate because they trust slate to interpret the world for them in a very smart, quick, funny, colloquial, conversational way. that voice that comes through from our writers and our writing creates trust. they read the paper in the morning, but then they read slate to figure out what to make
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of what is in the paper. that has been our role from the beginning. we have more competition in that business these days the papers themselves are starting to do more analysis along the reporting that they do. we still have a stronger core group of people that come to us and count on us for that. we launched 2.5 years ago a membership program which is distinct from the paywall we launched in the late 90's. successful pay walls tend to be for information that people need to make business decisions of a sort you want access to market news and information. so you can plan your financial portfolio. you want access to the micro trades within sports teams so you can control your fantasy team. those of the companies that have had success with pay walls. for us, because of what we are offering is ancillary and a second read, we provide people with extras, a better experience with deeper engagement.
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slate members pay $50 a year or $5 a month. they get bonus segments of the podcasts that we do, an extra 30%. they run weekly and are about an hour long. they get early access to some of our enterprise reporting. they get a special commenting space where they can chat with other commenters. they get discounts off of live events. they get these slate academies that we do. this is our version of an online course where we take a really deep dive into some topic that is may be connected to the news, but a little more evergreen, and that content is only available to our members. the first one we did was a history of slavery. it was a podcast series, interviews with all sorts of historians, covering the historiography of slavery and how it has changed over the years since you were taught it
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in school, if you weren't taught in school. that unleashed a whole set of fascinating and interesting context that our members could use to understand racial dynamics in america. and how they are evolving. we have had a lot of success. when we launched it, we knew there would be a lot of our readers would send over the first month or so, but what we weren't sure of was the longer-term growth trajectory. we are seeing growth year-over-year. >> you are part of a very distinguished line of editors, starting with michael kinsley. jack weissberg. david plots. and then your self. every one of them added to a voice that has become almost the internet voice, which is intimate, smart, a little bit sassy. in your case, and in the case of the people who do it right, also well reported, analytic, and trustworthy. how do you see the voice of the internet evolving? slate started it, is it getting out of control now where snarkiness and meanness have replaced the slate wit?
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>> i think our voice is less distinct than what it used to be. i think a lot of people have adopted the second person of address, the kind of casual nature, the use of slang as a way of connecting with readers. i think that makes it important with us to retain the immediacy of speaking a language that people use. that is my metaphor for slate is that it is like any mail from your really smart friend. it is like you're smart friends favorite website. the thing i emphasize to our journalists is that we are setting out to change minds. you can only do that if you are using rigor in your analysis, intellectual honesty, seeing the other side of the argument if you are making an argument.
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>> i went on ryot, which was truly amazing having been with some of the colorado mountain college new media people, and seeing immersive videos. 360 video. is that the wave of the future? explain how will you produce that type of news? >> thank you for having me here. it is a great honor to be on this panel. we have been exploring virtual reality and 360 degree for -- and 360 video for a long time. for those of you who don't know it, you film it with a camera that has multiple cameras all over. kind of like a soccer ball with lenses all over it. you stitch it together and show it and a headset so you feel at your standing in the middle of the stories. if you're looking on your phone you can move your phone around everywhere. >> let's make clear that people can go to your site and not put on goggles.
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until i got a little bit scared, i was diving off a cliff with olympic divers. you can go to it tonight. >> it is all on or you can follow us on facebook. we have recently launched capabilities in all editions of the huffington post, creating the largest virtual reality network. some of that is in partnership with google. i think when you ask about it as a wave of the future, we could debate that for a while. but what is not debatable is that the way you are able to consume video on your phone or on your computer changed in the last six months, because you are now able to look all around or move your phone. that to us is a significant moment. this video is kind of running the internet, and that means there should be serious investigations into what that means for journalism, for documentary, for news.
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for music video. across all of that, there is an opportunity to create new language, new storytelling techniques. certainly our journalists who are running all over the world shooting in this new tech -- and this new technology are very proud that they can be a part of the historic moment. >> when you imagine your user, and you imagine that person sitting at a desk on a computer or using a mobile device and smart phone? if the latter, how does that change journalism? >> i think now it is on the mobile phone. that is where we see most of our views, on youtube 360 or facebook 360. soon more headsets will be available as sony launches a headset. many have launches heading into christmas time. we will see more adoption. what has been interesting is that companies like oculus that was recently acquired by facebook have been surprised at how much video is being consumed. i think people thought this was
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going to be for video games, and 60% of the content that is watched on a headset is linear videos or 360 videos. we see it as a step toward immersive content. right now when you put on the headset, you kind of look around you. in a couple years, you will be able to walk around and environment. for instance, i'm wearing my headset in an empty room and see this panel, i can walk around the panel and be able to see and eventually interact with the environment. another step forward will be augmented reality, which we think will have major implications, or complete implications on a most everything. >> augmented reality meaning? >> overlays. some of you have seen pokemon go. it is like a consumer version. >> it is not a pretty sight watching all of our members
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wandering around doing pokemon go. >> it is a very crude version of augmented reality where it imposes a pokemon on the environment in front of you. what is coming with augmented reality will be major changes in your cell phone, television. if it goes in the trends that people are predicting, some say that the last television you bought will be the last television you will ever purchase because you will be able to impose all of those screens on your windshield, and be able to share with them. that technology is moving quickly, and 360 video is just the first step in that. >> some of us could never really figure out whether google was our best friend, or the worst danger we faced. google news labs was invented and launched by you and your colleagues. how do you address that question, and how do you see yourselves helping journalism?
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>> google news labs, we are about 1.5 years old. google news, which probably many of you are familiar with and have used, is a product that is part of google search, which aggregates news sources, articles from over 70,000 new sources from around the world, and clusters those around major new stories. google news is a product that many of you are familiar with. the news lab was created as a way to engage directly with journalists and newsrooms on the latest technologies. what he was talking about with 360 and the ark, around data, , around data, run all different types of technologies, but the news lab is trying to do is that we at google have a lot of expertise in emerging technologies. we are building new products, we have a bird's eye view of all these different areas, whether it is ai or vr.
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all of these emerging technologies that are changing industries. what we are interested in doing in the news lab is seeing how those can be applied to news and journalism. there are many teams that work with publishers. from a business side and a product side. we are unique in that we go into newsrooms and work directly with journalists and try to help them understand the latest technology at how that can be applied to the journalism they are doing every day. >> give us an example of some cool new product that will transform journalism. >> one -- since we're just talking about 360 -- that is an area that google is following as well as youtube. i just came back from the conventions in cleveland and philadelphia. we partnered with six different news organizations to give them access to the latest vr camera that google is producing. ryot has access as well.
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it is called a jump cam. it is 17 go pro cameras connected in a single rig with a special software that takes all the output from those cameras and puts it together and create an actual virtual reality experience. these are experimental. they have literally never been used. ryot is one of the first organizations to have access to this. we at google do not really even know what is possible, because we need the content creators, we need the journalists. >> all this to say we have two cameras now. we use them all over the world. this is a little tangential but our journalists use google translate everywhere and all of the world. i don't know of any guys have used the new google translate out yet, but you can literally speak english into it and it will speak any language you program it to so it has programmed the way we travel and is one of our most important tools.
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we have conversations with taxi drivers and fixers that are full conversations, no longer looking through a guidebook. >> google has a lot of interesting data about what people are searching for. all of, aggregated, but so we can say that around the election, what questions people have about hillary clinton's policies, or what our people in florida searching for related to immigration. we are able to surface these with a product called google trends, which is looking across the billion searches that are happening across the world and make that data available to journalists, who can then incorporated into their stories. >> one of the reasons i love vice is that it is the best of old media and the best of new media. it is a very sort of edgy, but still tells stories, and it is storytelling. it is narrative. it is well reported.
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how do you figure out that mission and the partners you are trying to pull together for that? >> it all -- vice is a media company that has come of age in the last let's just say decade. it has seen a real explosion and what we have called new media companies. a lot of those new media companies are technology first. in a lot of ways, content ends up being a tool they use to figure out the business model. that is just so not what vice has ever been or will be. we have been story first. as a result, we approach stories as we think about it. our lovely partners that we love and have loved forever, when we were first coming to the platform, had a set of best
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practices. they said the directly to the camera, make it short, maybe a little funny. put out a thing every day. even when we first came to youtube, we even tried a little bit of that. it just did not resonate, but it was not true to who we were and not true to the value of our ecosystem. as soon as we started putting up the library of documentaries that we had made in the six or seven years prior, everything exploded. it really took off and we became one of the fastest-growing channels on youtube. >> you became fast almost because you were old-fashioned. i remember looking at your refugee story and thinking that was something that don hewitt would've done on 60 minutes had he been 100 years younger. [laughter] >> you know, i think that speaks to the power of the media distribution environment that we have now. it really allowed us to do a few things. one, it allowed us to be able to
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create really incredible, high quality content on a basis that legacy organizations would not be able to. it allowed us to distribute it instantly to millions of people around the world. vice truly does have a global audience. the fact that they could all have access to those stories made that possible. additionally, just the fact that vice is a company that has been so driven and so self-directed, has been a really incredible reward in the sense that you have heard that this now patently disproven notion that young people did not care about the news. that has been thoroughly debunked at this point. we're just really happy that we have been able to make a part of that argument. >> i would argue that you guys
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came at similar principles but in your own way. the key for quality that made vice successful, but also made vloggers that were sitting in their bedroom speaking to the cameras and telling jokes successful was a sense of authenticity. you can't just take what you see on cable news and put it on youtube and expected to be successful. it does not translate. what you guys have done with vice -- and i think having the personalities of people like shane smith, there is an authenticity that i think is one of the reasons it was so successful. >> how is all of this changing what you do, marty? >> it is changing profoundly. we are in a different information era. the way this essentially led to a new medium in the same way that radio was different from newspapers, when radio came into existence. when television came into existence, it was different from radio and newspapers. a different way of communicating with your audience.
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the web came along and what it -- and what did newspapers do? they put newspaper stories on the web. that did not work very well. so then we said let's put them up faster. that didn't work so well either. the reality is we have a new media here, and people are connecting with us in a different way. we are developing i think a different way of telling stories. one that is more authentic, with the voice of the writer or videographer more evident. and where we use all of the tools that are available to us now. video is one. interactive graphics is another. annotations of original documents. there are a whole social media that we can display. a whole range of things. we use those as part of our storytelling these days. we are doing that in every way,
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every day. and we have shown a lot of growth as a result of that. we have shown year-to-year growth rates of up to 70%. for u.s. traffic, we have essentially the same amount of traffic, the same number of visitors every month to our work as the new york times does. >> however, i will walk into your wonderful news headquarters -- really an amazing newsroom, merging digital as well as a print newsroom -- but as you walk into that great lobby, there is a metric board that shows how many clicks each story is getting. is there a danger to that? >> we do have a giant metrics board. it tells us how we are performing, and it tells us what the most read stories are. it tells us how many people are going from one story to the next. there are more metrics than i
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can keep track up, i assure you. it is just part of the business these days. >> but they have started to feel clickbaity. >> we have never had a headline like that, i assure you. you will be searching forever. how i define clickbait is that you have a headline that is designed to lure somebody and then there is no substance behind that headline. we never have a story like that. we do have headlines that are well written to get people to read the story. that is the definition of a good headline -- it is faithful to what a story is about, but it is written in a way that gets someone's attention. we do not make apologies for that. we have tools now that allow us to provide multiple presentations on the website and serve multiple presentations to different users.
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then we see which one is working the best. we do not have humans determine which is working the best. a machine looks at which is capturing the most attention from our users, and very quickly, that is the approach that takes over. we do deploy technology on our behalf. we have asked newsrooms in this country what is happening in this digital environment. they're working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. they have to have news out instantaneously when it breaks. we are asking people to do video, participate in social media. they have to do a whole range of things that were never asked of them before.
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people are working incredibly hard. i think they working about as hard as they can. now we have to work smarter. working smarter means using technology on our behalf. we do have a very sophisticated engineering department at the post. they have developed a whole set of tools that we can use to amplify our work, and to get more people to read it. what do we want? we want people to read our work. >> the person doesn't best in the person who does that best in america to use digital tools is jeff bezos at amazon. what has he brought to the party, what advice has he given you? >> the first advice that he gave us was don't be boring. we tried to take that to heart. >> that is a very profound piece of advice. if you read the washington post today, you can see what that means. >> we try not to be boring. one of the things that is problematic now, or has been on the web -- let's say the
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washington post spends six months doing a story, and we invest a lot of money in it, we posted on the web. within 5 to 15 minutes, a lot of within five to 15 minutes, lots of websites have grabbed that story. they have disseminated it all over the web. there are coming in many instances, getting more traffic than we got without spending a dime. it is a problem for news organizations like ours who invest a lot of money in original reporting. what they are doing is called aggregating. wedo more aggregating than did before, being careful to rely only on trustworthy new sources. layer ourwe original reporting on top of it. if we had to be report in every detail every story that was out there, we would be publishing stories a week from now when everyone has already read it elsewhere.
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sort of like the -- well, you know. they are doing aggregating as well. you have to make sure these are reliable sources of information. the more sensitive the subject, the more the requirement that you do that yourself and check every last detail. we have moved more in that direction. i think the areas of investment for him have been our newsroom, editorial resources. we have grown by 150 people in our newsroom since we acquired it. he is invested in technology. we have to be at the forefront of technology. we want to do something different. we need to be able to do it ourselves. >> let me do a jump ball for the panel. if you invest a whole
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they talk reporting, aggregating, that is the main business model for journalism. who founded the publication i used to work for, -- is it abhorrent and economically self-defeating to continue to depend almost solely on advertising revenue? >> i think i fell in the economically self-defeating camp rather than the ethically
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abhorrent camp. i think they have a set of .ractices about how they do it the bigger challenges the economically self-defeating part. ,hat is put on by journalists our friends at google. revenue is going down. it is not just digital revenue, is the cost you can bring in getting less and less. the thing that i find heartening that a lot of shops are starting to think less about the mass aggregation as the primary model of what a digital outlet should do, in part because over the last few years with facebook and access to the kind of data you are talking about, it became
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fairly easy to publish instead of aggregated stuff, place a lot of bets on the roulette table of facebook, tell your advertisers you have 50 million, 60 million visitors every month. with everyone pushing the same levers online to attain that size, you have audiences that are not, in fact, real. i think that is part of what is causing the depression and the revenues. a lot of places are starting to think really different about that. sterling was talking about vice resisting the model to determine what it is that they do that is distinctive, what their audience values about what they do and to , build that core of users around the world. vice is my investigative brand.
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i think they send brave reporters into distant places that i domy language that journalists have strides for for years. with slate, the way i think about it is how we can tell a story different than what people can see somewhere else. how can we be distinctive, how can we be the place of our audience feel think they have to come to read to feel like they understand what is happening in the world today? >> i would add to that, or back up what marty was talking about. the moment we are in is this incredibly significant moment that is not just put a newspaper on a phone or on a computer. everyone of us in our pockets has a phone that has access to all of the world cost information. all of the newspapers and the entire world, we could read right now. and it has a camera on it that is mostly a four k camera. it is about the highest quality camera.
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not only can you access all of information, you can upload your own story and uploaded on these platforms. you have the opportunity for storytelling to be democratized. the opportunity and the challenge is that when you are just seeing content on your phone them up when you are reading a news article on your phone, you don't know the youngence if you are a person accessing news for the first time, there is no way to tell the difference between article from a blog for the washington post. once you dig in and you see the quality of journalism, of course you can tell. if somebody tweet something and you look at it, you used to be able to tell by holding a paper,l news seeing it with high-quality pictures were beautiful, it was , thick.
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if you're looking at it on your phone, you don't really have that way to tell. there is opportunity for smaller publishers. with newspapers, if you are the aspen, youaper in could never compete against the new york times because the new york times could get more newspapers into the local convenience store in aspen. never flyle could their airplanes to the bodega in new york. you have a chance to equalize that distribution online if you're smart about social media, if you get influential people to push those things. i think what it means is that it is more important than ever that journalism.reat there is an opportunity for great voices for those who never had an opportunity to be heard or read. that is an extraordinary thing when you look at people who will be getting online in the next
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few years. >> olivia, let me twist the question a little bit. journalism has never been more distrusted and more disliked in general. people just think journalists are in it for their own agendas, they're doing bad things. it seems to me one cause of that is we are not producing journalism that requires people to pay for it. in other words, if we were disciplined by having to have customers willing to buy our product, we would then have to produce a product that was more trustworthy. is there anyway way to get consumer revenue in this day and age and produce the type of journalism that people will pay for? or is that me being 20th century? >> i don't know if i'm the best person to speak to that. i think google's services are free to consumers. our model is very much people
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come to google for information -- >> let me push on you. google newsletter could if it wanted say that there is a coin purse on every google article and we will let people pay. this may not be in google's interest but if you decided to , embed a block chain model or any sort of coin model you wanted, a way to pay for poems are music that they are accessing, you could change journalism more than anybody else. >> i think it is an interesting idea, micro-payments and expectations.the we were chatting about how apple did that with music and itunes changed the expectation, or even the idea that something has value and that you pay for it. that was more or less successfully done in music, because it was a frictionless
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experience to just be able to logon to your itunes. $.99, not a big deal. i think that model is big experiment and with. >> you're going to let apple beat you to the punch? >> i can't say to the fact -- there has definitely been companies that are trying. there is one out of europe that has had success with micro-payments. not quite $.10, but the $.99. google is starting to experiment with a subscription model on whiche, with youtube red, is a monthly subscription. it is a little different from what you're talking about. you pay for this, it is an ad free experience and part of it goes to the content creators that are uploading the content to youtube. so far the results are good. kind of went to this wild, wild west model with the internet was blowing up and all the content
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was free. now we're sort of moving back into where, ok, there is a balance here. i think we agree that not everything should be behind a pay wall. there is stuff that takes a lot of work. two marty's point, it takes time and investment that really deserves to sort of be financially supported. >> i think it is a question of what is being sold fundamentally. i think that in a world where subscribers or people are actually paying to the content providers and they are saying there is some exchange of value, and then there is a more direct accountability. as opposed to an advertising model it is not the content that , is being sold, it is actually the audience that is being sold to the advertiser. vice does not have any direct to
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consumer product, but if you think about it, what device has been able to do very successfully is license its content to multiple different platforms around the world. the growth in mobile devices, the growth in video consumption, the growth in all the different areas in which the media landscape is evolving, once they build the platforms, the question is what will they build the platforms with? >> if you are licensing your content like that, do you see vice as being a brand, or will that distribution channels be the brand? sterling: there are several video producers, who are in search of scale, almost four its -- for its own sake, or developing more advertising to sell, almost give their content away for free.
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the cede a lot of the control of their brand, the way that their brand is prim -- positioned or promoted. vice has never scaled for its own sake. we have been thoughtful about our distribution. before we do any deal with the distributor, those deals are considered in a way that we are thoughtful about, our brand, maintenance of it, and the development of it. marty: it is not true that people will not pay. there are many people paying for journalism on the web. the wall street journal has long had a pay model. the new york times followed with a pay model. people said, early on, the pundits said it was a crazy idea. it turned out not to be. they have about 1.4 million subscribers.
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for certain services on espn -- walter: 10 articles per month? marty: ours was 5. we are a latecomer to the pay model and we have catching up to do but we are showing good late growth. we are happy with the progress we have made. we are not at the new york times level. i will not tell you the level we are at, we are not permitted to say so, but i think we're making good progress. one of the things that jeff did after he acquired us was to completely change the strategy for the washington post. we had become a news organization described as being for and about washington. with the recognition that we are and washington, we will cover government and politics and things like that. jeff said he did not think that was a model that would work, that we had an opportunity and an imperative to become a national and international news organization.
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we happen to have a brand that was known around the country, the people may not -- the knew of the washington post because of watergate, but they may not have experienced the washington post. people around the world talk about it. it aroundtalk about the world, they say washington. walter: let me push back on your subscription model, which is great. i subscribe to the three that you mentioned. the new york times, the wall street journal. kathy subscribes to the washington post and the use person action. i think that is legal. marty: it is legal. you may. walter: there are many times, maybe there is a good article in the houston chronicle. i don't want to subscribe -- or the f.t. does this to me. why not go to a model that we
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used to have? marty: there are models that are developing. this is not settled business. there are new models emerging. you might be able to acquire a subscription to a bundle. it could be a large bundle. it could give you access to hundreds of news organizations and you would pay a fee and the news organizations would be compensated based on whatever metrics apply. it could be the number of people reading, the amount of time that they spend. it could be other metrics for engagement. they would be compensated based on that. those things are in the works. people are contemplating that kind of approach. we don't know what the business model for media is going to be. we are all experimenting with
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new things and new ways. we are trying a lot of things. nobody can say today -- i don't think there is anyone who can say, "this is what the future of media will be. this is the model that is going to exist." there are going to be a wide variety of models depending on the kind of media institution you are. at any point, or someone comes up with a clearly sustainable economic model, the rest of us will copy that right away, and that has not happened yet. walter: let me open it up. many questions. i should have started earlier. you and then you. we will go in that order. >> i have a question for sterling. how do you respond to some of the critics? i called and the old boy networks, the cnn's, the cnbc's, who are critical or skeptical of the new age of media? is it because they are threatened or worried about revenue?
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they are critical but the new age of media. sterling: i think that is not necessarily evenly applied across everybody that may work for one of those companies. there may be those within those companies who have something to say. there is a universe where, from a revenue standpoint, dollars are finite. if you think about the fact that $.85 of every new dollar into digital is going into google or facebook. every independent media company is chasing that remaining $.15. attention is finite. as attention is shifting from tv to digital, desktop to mobile, and from publishers to platforms. it is an intense environment and there are a lot of opinions. our job is to make sure that we
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keep our head down and focus on what we do best. julia: can i say that the amount of scorn for journalism is way down than it was a few years ago. people are recognizing the brand-new shops, shops that have been around for decades, everybody is trying stuff. you see a quill work that you want to copy at all caps of shops everyday. you can see a failed experiment but you admire the idea behind it. you see bad ideas, and say something isn't going right. the sense that all of us feel the responsibility to experiment with how to do journalism on the web and make it economically sustainable because more likely to admire and root for each other than to sneer at newcomers. marty: cnn, as you mentioned --
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i have no interest in cnn one way or another -- cnn is a powerhouse on the internet. they are a huge factor. they have a very good site, they have a huge amount of traffic. they just built up a large political unit. they are doing very good work. i don't think that they disdain the internet. they are a major participator in the internet these days. walter: i will work my way back. we will try to get people in. >> this question may start with a piece of data that is dated, but i was told that the print media used to have to write to a seventh or eighth grader to be communicative. in other words, the audience's level of competition required a certain allocation of what it was that you could say, that could be interpreted.
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that may not be true anymore. marty: i have been in this business for 40 years. i have never been told to do that. it is evident from the stories that is not the case. there are many words i have to look up from time to time. i wish i did not have to. [laughter] that is really not the case. i certainly think we should write in a way that people understand, that large numbers of people understand, and not write as if we are writing a paper for a postgraduate thesis. nobody -- i am not aware of any requirement to write at a seventh or eighth grade level. >> that wasn't the question. was trying to establish a precedent. the print media, it seems to me in the way of communicating, is quite different than the new dimensions we are seeing on this stage. i'm wondering, if you think about the person receiving the information, whether it be a
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child, adolescent, or adult, are we going to be communicating in such a different way, in the relationship between the way they are taught, learn, or think, that this will change everything in relationship to more traditional print media? marty: yes. as i suggested, this is a different medium. it requires a different idiom and a different way of communicating. people are absorbing information in a completely different way than people of my generation and your generation. that is certainly true. it is more visual, which is why all of these folks have been able to create a growing business. it uses these tools, interactive graphics, documents, social media, and these other things which are not characteristic of the print media. organizations like ours which have a legacy print business, when we are on the web, we have to be like the web.
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we cannot just be print. >> i am wondering, with respect to the graduate schools of journalism, how much of the new media is being generated there, these of the those -- vis a vis, those of you who are actually practicing it? how much do you work back and forth with those schools to further refine the media that they might be generating and you might be generating? olivia: at google, my team, the new slab, has a big folk -- the news lab, we have a big focus on helping to develop curriculum around the latest technologies. journalism students are the future of the industry and are
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often times at the cutting edge of the new tools. we mentioned snapchat. some of these newer platforms that even i am not fluent in, a lot of times journalism students are the defining what these ones future trends will be. for us that google, we work a lot with journalism schools. walter: i will add one plug. when this is over, i want you to go see kerry, sitting there, because that colorado college is doing a whole school of new media. it is not supposed to just be journalistic elite, but whether it is marketing, advertising, for anything else, it is something that community colleges should be doing. >> given the scale, or the
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global nature of news, and the importance of global issues, how do you reveal -- view the role of the foreign correspondent in the foreign desk. in my view, may have been brutally cut back. how do you view the responsibility of getting people what they need to know versus what they want to know? walter: i will let sterling take that one because vice has more foreign correspondents. vice has the way that grown is we have established local offices who are completely self-sufficient. they are so endemic to their own communities that often, only recently have we scaled global awareness of the company. up until that point, a lot of people thought that vice was originally from each country. that came from smart hiring, from finding great people and 11 -- and allowing them to develop the business without giving them a mcdonald's franchise book and
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saying, follow these rules. walter: do you want to talk about ariana's plan for world emanation? -- world domination? [laughter] bryn: i think that what she did so well was to create a blogging network whereby people can publish their own stories. we are working on now, this is a larger discussion within journalism, what we have in working on is empowering journalists, activists, film makers all over the world with cell phones to shoot video on, and now 360 cameras. the tools that people have access to now is making it capable, whereby people can capture incredible footage that would have taken a camera crew and wolf blitzer to show up and tell that story in the past.
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marty: as far as the post is concerned, we have just added to our foreign staff. we added three additional people including two who are correspondence overseas. one is based in brussels, and the other is going to be based in istanbul, if he is accredited. they are there to cover conflicts and things like that. we have 24 correspondents overseas and we are very committed to it and we think it is critical that we be eyewitnesses to the events around the world which have an enormous impact on us. in addition to that we have created the washington post talent network which is a network of freelancers. many of them are journalists who have retired, some are journalists who were fired, but only for downsizing reasons, people who are underemployed. things like that. that is around the country and around the world.
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also doing video. we have over 200,000 people in that network now. they have all been vetted by our editors. they are available and are often deployed to do work for us. we have a network of people overseas. when there was the terror attack in nice, we had somebody who was an hour from nice to get there right away, a very good journalist to get there right away and start reporting that. our correspondent in paris was able to get their later. walter: yes, here and then -- >> thank you. my question is a national security question. don't be surprised. all of you know what people are looking for, where they are coming from and what they are asking. most inquiries are just benign inquiries, but we occasionally have people looking for bad -- bad people looking for information. how do you deal with the government agencies, the three
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letter agencies, who want to know where people are, what they are coming for, and what they are looking for? marty: i have never experienced that. there are not that many people who ask us for sensitive information, and secondly, i have not had a three letter agency or an agency with more letters ask us to provide that information. walter: has anybody ever felt the need? google does? olivia: not trying to dodge it. i cannot speak to that. it is not my area. somebody could answer that question but it is not me. sterling: i just retired from the government and i was in an environment where a lot of people were looking for information from our websites and the three letter agencies
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wanted to know that information and we would tell them, unless it was a critical issue like someone searching for mustard gas information, or the national stockpiles, we said you have to subpoena us. walter: standing in the back there. >> this question is for everybody but "the washington post," because they are easiest. i am impressed with the two lectures we have had, you guys here and one on podcasts for. here is a bunch of new people in the world with new ways to communicate. it is easy to value "the washington post." you look at how many people they have at the end of the year and who they consider readers. it is easy. at the end of the year, slate has to come at the end of the themselves, what have we accomplished?
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how do we make judgments to our success and business model? all of you must have that question at the end of the year. i would be interested to know how you respond. olivia: not going to speak to profitability, but i don't think that your assumptions are correct. we are trying to be a sustainable business. we are not trying to rake in -- the primary purpose of slate is not to make money, but it is important to me that we find a model that allows us to sustainably make enough money to do the work that we do covering the world. these new styles and models of journalism, podcasting, and the other tools --they are not just experiments in how to talk to young people, and the ages of those who consume these forms varies a lot, but there are ways
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to solve those problems. podcasting is a good example. we started a podcasting company last year. it is a very satisfying editorial experience. for the people who like it, it is an on-demand medium. the story i always say is i listen to podcasts in the shower. i put my iphone in the ziploc bag. it is a good hack. now if i take a shower without a ziploc bag or without podcasts, i am bereft. i don't listen to the whole thing, you take it to the sink and brush your teeth. the thing that a striking me is that you have this relationship with the hosts who have this informal demeanor. you get to trust them. you put the media experience into a chunk of time when there was not typically a media experience. when people talk about mobile, you are typically talking about waiting in line at
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starbucks and you're going somewhere and you have to cease the experience. but podcasting because it is , just in your ears, you can multitask. that means there is a new set of attention that can be monetized and we are having good luck selling ads against our podcast. walter: the woman there, and then i promise to go to the back. the two of you. >> thank you. thank you for being here. it is very interesting. in this new media world, how do you have the time and finances to fact check as old-school media was? marty: nobody seems to be rushing to answer that question. interesting. why would i step in? walter: is it as well fact checked as it was? marty: i think that we have really high quality reporters.
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they know that before they post something, they are supposed to make sure that it is right. there are greater risks today. there is the question about it. largely because of the demand for speed. why do we put up things so quickly? if we don't, somebody else will. they will get the audience, and we want. speed is measured in milliseconds. we have to put out an alert immediately that something has happened. people expect that now. if they are not there, they go somewhere else for the source. they go to cnn, "the new york times," or somewhere else. walter: the silver lining is that you can correct it more quickly. marty: we can but that is not the ideal thing. a couple of websites have recently announced the death of someone. it is not good to have a scoop that you have to retract the long those lines. there are greater risks.
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i worry about that all the time. the other risk that we have is the available resources within the newsroom, particularly for copy. editors. in the past, you would write a story, it would go to the copy desk. in a methodical way, they would go through it and ask a lot of questions. they might call the reporter at home, or the reporter would be there and they would go through it. they would spend time looking up the spelling and the various facts. they would go to actual books at the time, we used to use them. now, we have to post very quickly. i think that the error rate tends to be higher, but i'm not -- and i worry about that a lot. the reporters are doing a good job of checking things, but i worry about the risks we are undertaking every single day.
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it is a hugely competitive environment. walter: in the yellow. >> hello, this is for mr. baron. even though i am young and possibly an anomaly for my generation, i enjoy getting a print copy of the newspaper everyday, even on my way to school or at school. how do you find your way making the print paper with the overhead pressure of internet paper and internet news? how do you keep the tried and true business running? marty: first of all, thank you for reading the print newspaper. [applause] i hope cloning is developed to a higher state and we can take a sample and make more of you. [laughter] that is great.
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first of all, not just for reading the newspaper, but for being so heavily engaged with the news. we still have a large readership of the print newspaper. while that circulation is to climbing as it is for just about every newspaper in the united states, those are very loyal readers. they are willing to pay good money for that is paper and they want a physical newspaper. they will even tolerate price increases in recognition that we need their money to do that. it is very expensive to deliver a printed product to their home in the morning. we make sure that the printed newspaper has the highest quality possible. we do not give it short shrift by any means. we are called a legacy news organization, and we have this legacy of printed product. there is still a deep reservoir of affection for the printed
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product within the washington post. maybe too much. our risk is not that we have took a little affection, our risk is that we may have too much affection for the printed product. we make every effort to assure that the printed product is high quality. those loyal readers, we hope they continue to remain loyal readers. walter: way in the back. >> my question is related to media, and new media, thought to be a factor in the intense partisanship and division in society. people find media to agree with their position and it only makes them more convinced. what do you see as the responsibility, or what are you doing in terms of thinking about promoting civil conversations in society? walter: a very good question,
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sir. nobody is leaning forward to answer it. [laughter] yeah, go ahead. bryn: we started -- my background is as a humanitarian. i was in haiti, and i lived there for three years after the earthquake. i built ryot in my tent, behind the children's hospital i was volunteering at. i built it because i was frustrated at news not being actionable. when we built ryot, it was a news website so every story had an action, so if you read something you could do something about it. at the time it was controversial. people would say, is not right to tell people what they should do after reading an article. our readers were coming to ryot because they did not want to be
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depressed by what was happening in the world, and instead they wanted an opportunity to partake in the world. if they were able to integrate social media and cell phones, they wanted that from the news too. we have always tried to be on the right side of history and compassionate in supporting peace and understanding, respect and justice and all of those things. i don't think we have tried to paint both sides of the picture. we didn't want to isolate anybody. we are a little shop, so we want to make sure it is not what our beliefs are. it is a fragile time we are in. walter: is technology vulcanizing the media in such a way that we have become more polarized? marty: for sure. it is a huge problem. it is represented appear that there are a lot of ways for people to get information. we have responsible players up
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here from the media field. people are gravitating toward sites and cable outlets that affirm their pre-existing point of view. that is an issue, but there is an even deeper issue. there are internet sites that are propagating information, so-called information, that is absolutely false. these are absolute fabrications. you have a large number of people in the country who believe that the president was not born in the united states, that he was born in kenya. a large portion of the population who believes that he is muslim, when he is christian. in large portion of the population that now believe there were 3000 muslims cheering
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the collapse of the world trade center tower, when there is no evidence that actually occurred. there is a guy who runs an internet site out of austin called, and also has a prominent radio show, who contends that many of these mass killings we have seen, too many, were hoaxes, choreographed by the administration to increase support for gun control and gun confiscation. it is not a small portion of the population that believes this, it is a large portion of the population that believes these various conspiracy theories. it is corrosive to our democracy. senator daniel patrick moynihan, the late senator, used to say, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own facts. they have their own set of facts. we have a situation where we do not just argue about the
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analysis of the situation or the prescription for solving the problem. we disagree on the core facts. how do you have a civil society? it is one we face in our industry. there is no greater challenge than what many people are calling a virtual reality. people can live in it that is divorced from actual reality. [applause] >> i completely agree it is the most pressing problem. there are studies that show that does not have to do with the right effects. the opposite of the version of the truth that you believe.
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we have seen this particularly in reporting about science and vaccines on the web. there are a whole tonic conspiracy theories. i was reading a crazy posting my one friend posted about zika and genetically modified mosquitoes. they crop up all over the place. the temptation of the media is to go into science bully mode. another stupid person said a stupid thing about vaccines and you flex the big muscles of science and you can get a lot of traffic going, ra, ra, big science. that's not help persuade people on the borderline and who were trying to stir up the truth. the question of what the right journalistic posture is, if it is not just reporting the truth -- walter: who has a great last
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question? it has to be big, broad, and wonderful. >> how can you ensure you are not politically biased one way or another, like some? walter: i am going to let every one of the panelists talk about it. how do you make sure you are not politically biased, or is it ok to say i am coming at it from a viewpoint? >> i think the most important thing at any media institution is about transparency and disclosure. with that, we are able to establish common and confident ground from which the conversation can take place. there has been a dramatic rise of first-person reporting,
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storytelling of any kind. whether it be someone behind a set of keys or someone holding a song in the middle of a protest. i do believe the collective desire for information around that, and first-person perspective, is only increasing. as marty mentioned, that simultaneously allows for active disinformation to spread. the job of some media institutions, whether they be publicly funded or otherwise, is very broad. -- it is very important. the best that can happen is for other journalistic institutions do the best they can establishing trust with
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their audience. >> from google's perspective, we are not a news organization. google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally acceptable and useful, which is not dissimilar from many news organizations. because many people around the world come to google for information, we absolutely cannot have any type of bias whatsoever. what you see on google search, google news, is algorithmically generated and is meant to show whatever news articles -- real quick. >> can algorithms have biases? >> right, there is a human being creating those algorithms. that is something that has been a healthy topic of discussion and a valid one. every algorithm is a series of choices. there are literally hundreds of
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signals going into google search results. it is not a simple matter by any means. it changesmplex every week. we can't describe all the factors that go into it. it is many it is important when . you come to google, you are able to get information across many different perspectives, different news organizations with different political leanings or a first person perspective, if you go on youtube. we are meant to be a portal for the world's information and that can mean a lot of different things. >> transparency for us is the most important part. people who come and read articles or watch films know we have a political bias. we are not the associated press. we are not reuters. we don't want to be. as long as we are transparent about it, people know what we are coming to get, and our partners, "the huffington post,"
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who are very open with their political beliefs we are proud , of that. >> i think there is a difference between being biased and the way you practiced journalism. and having opinions and viewpoints. the slate position has always been we strive to be fair. as fair as we possibly can. but that we differently come from a perspective. that perspective will be evident to our readers. our supreme court correspondent weighs in on what justices say. she writes about what she believes. it is no surprise to people when she critiques alito. and makes no bones about it. we have been in the habit of publishing a list of who is voting for whom before election day on the theory you should know where we are coming from. >> i don't think we will ever escape allegations we suffer from political bias because that is the nature of the environment
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at the moment. we do have layers of editing where people act as eternal checks on others. if they detect a bias, we endeavored to guide against it. that is part of our code of ethics. our mission, we need to be honest, honorable, and fair. fairness involves being involved to what people are saying. listening to them. giving them a hearing. a fair hearing. ultimately, we do the reporting. we have an obligation to tell people in a straightforward way when we have found. with the evidence shows. not to pussyfoot around it. show them what the evidence shows and tell them straight.
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when we talk about fairness, my view is, let's be fair to the public, too. that is telling them in a straightforward way what the results of our reporting were. what we found. i believe that is central to our mission. i don't think we should shy from that. i don't think we should shy from it because someone as a result they accuse us a political bias. walter: thank you all very much. [applause] walter: those who want to know more about colorado mountain college, you can even walk with us and come to a fundraiser. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> an interview with nixon
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administration secretary of state henry kissinger. then, a discussion about journalism and new media. on saturday's "washington journal," eugene valero on president-elect trump's infrastructure proposal. law professor william e ohman -- william yeomans on hate crime laws in the united states. >> here is some of our featured programs coming up this weekend on c-span. saturday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the state of the black world conference, discussing the impact of the 2016 elections.


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