Every week it seems there is news to remind us how codependent journalism is becoming on the new social platforms and channels for distribution. This week, the news that traffic referrals from Facebook have dropped precipitously for some major publishers this year—more than 30 percent since January—provoked predictable alarm. Last week, it was Twitter’s turn to shock journalists by changing the starred favorite to the more expressive heart.
Today, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University is hosting a day of discussion about the new relationship between journalism and Silicon Valley.
At today’s program, we will be hearing from Mark Thompson, the chief operating officer of The New York Times Company, which has committed itself to doubling its digital revenues over the next four years in a bid to transform from a robust legacy business into a fully digital organization. We will also be hearing from Michael Reckhow, the product manager for Facebook Instant Articles, potentially the most powerful new vector for social traffic for newsroom.
We have discussions of finance models with Neil Barsky of The Marshall Project and Shane Snow of Contently, and a discussion about how we cover and critique technology featuring Jay Rosen, Sara Watson, and John Herrman, whose article “Tech is Eating Media. Now What?” has pushed the debate further this week. We will also be taking a look at the key ethical issues raised by the use of new platforms and technologies to report and disseminate the news.