My Opinion

In Institutions We Trust: What Is Quality Journalism?

Back in the day, it was all about pornography. “I know it when I see it”, United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward argued in the ground-breaking verdict Jacobellis vs. Ohio in 1964, a ruling that settled much about what was legal and what was not in matters of show and tell. “I know it …

Connected but not equal

One common assumption about the internet goes like this: because everybody can access information, news, and knowledge freely, the web is making society more democratic. So much for the fiction; the fact is that the opposite might be true. At least this is what a recently published study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of …

We Can Use Robots But We Still Need Journalists

The Panama Papers investigation was a momentous task. The multi-award-winning international collaboration led by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung was mainly about manpower. Reporters spent an entire year sifting through data, looking for anomalies and following up on sources. But did it really need to be so laborious? Some journalists who are hopeful about the advancement …

Can political Tinder save democracy?

How can we protect democracy if we only speak to Siri or Alexa but not each other? Democracy is based on the premise that everyone can express themselves, but it also implies other people are listening. Maybe it’s time for a real-life conversation. In the language of journalists, you might call this a scoop: getting the German President to preside over a …

Learning to read all over again

It used to take quite an effort to manipulate people. Considerable amounts of skill, knowledge, engagement and financial means were needed to sway public opinion, influence elections, create a popular uprising or sell low-value products at high cost. Not any longer. And now social media can do it for everybody. Creating divisive content, lies, fake …

Journalism’s Comeback

After years of bad news for the news business, recent data suggest that consumer confidence is slowly returning. To sustain this trend, journalists must continue producing quality content, and governments should explore new ways to support those who cannot pay. OXFORD – After years of ill health, the news industry is finally showing signs of …

Democracy Doesn’t Come For Free

In a fast-paced world  attacked by rampant capitalism from one side and authoritarianism from the other, the institutions of democracy must be nourished. Public service media is one way to do it. Imagine if there was a war and there were no pictures of it. This is the thought that comes to mind when visiting the …

Melania’s Jacket or What’s Wrong With Media Dynamics

Don’t worry, this won’t be another think-piece interpreting Melania Trump’s choice of wardrobe, this will be about media. A very unhealthy part of current media dynamics, that is. For those of you who don’t live on this news planet and missed it, I am referring to Melania Trump’s visit to one of the infamous migrant children’s …

Get the Data and Get it Done: How to Tackle Gender Imbalance in Newsrooms

A comparative study by the European Journalism Observatory (EJO) revealed what has been obvious all along, but now it has some tough numbers to back it up. 41% of all stories published in eleven countries’ major newspapers were written by men and only 23% by women. This is not just another report about gender inequality, …

A Crisis Playbook for Big Tech

There are many similarities between the trust deficit that still plagues the financial sector and the one that is beginning to undermine technology companies. Firms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google should study five lessons that most banks never learned after the 2008 crisis. OXFORD – The predictions were wrong: the global economy didn’t collapse after …

Our Digital Futures: Where Europe Could Come In

The loss of freedom in the digital age seemed inevitable even before the Cambridge Analytica scandal with its massive breach of data privacy. Citizens appear destined to live in one of these two worlds: Number one is the world of monopoly capitalism, where they are primarily regarded as customers. These customers’ sole purpose is it …

Free Speech in the Filter Age

In a democracy, the rights of the many cannot come at the expense of the rights of the few. In the age of algorithms, government must, more than ever, ensure the protection of vulnerable voices, even erring on victims’ side at times. OXFORD – Germany’s Network Enforcement Act – according to which social-media platforms like …

Making Journalism Great Again

OXFORD – In the debate over the future of journalism, “fake news” has taken center stage, with storylines featuring a ranting American president, Russian communication “bots,” and betrayal and subterfuge competing for public attention. But in an era of diminishing profits and shrinking audiences, is fake news really the biggest threat that traditional media face? …

A Brief Guide to Newsroom Innovation

With business models under pressure and competition for audience and advertising dollars increasing, media organisations inevitably search for innovative new ways to attract audiences, tell stories or earn revenue. Yet newsrooms often rush into innovation projects, expecting journalists to participate, or even to lead them, without explaining why, what the project is for, or how …

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