tv Quartz Editor Kevin Delaney at UC Berkeley CSPAN April 24, 2019 6:51pm-8:02pm EDT
indiscernible ] and its significance. >> this is one of the words that students struggle with. it is a concept of the vote trading. the idea is if you try to get a big bill passed, it does help to have quid pro quo, this for that. if you have this writer, or project, sometimes you had earmarks, and if you add that in your market, you will get more supportive votes. >> watch washington generals cram for the exam on saturday, may 4 at 9:00 a.m. eastern on the span. the founding editor of courts, kevin delaney discusses the future of digital journalism, including the decline of
facebook, and google's dominance. we spoke recently with students at the university of california in berkeley. this is about one hour. good evening everyone. my name is nicholas, i am director
at the berkeley center for new media. it is my great pleasure to welcome kevin delaney to the art, technology, and lecture series. since its founding in 1997, by my colleague, ken goldberg, the culture series, and expansion as part of the berkeley center for new media in 2005. this is for thinkers and practitioners at the intersection of the arts, culture, technology, and design. since 2016, we have been proud to participate in this evening's framing
and organizing series, the arts and design, monday series organized by the ss city vice chancellor. we are very grateful to shannon
and the a+ d office for covering the rent here at the berkeley art museum and archive. it helps us all speak to you in such a wonderful venue. [ applause ] the lecture tonight, cohosted with journalism is the second in the annual series inaugurated with last year's conversation with frank and nick thompson, examining the future of the media, and its role in shaping the future. i think it is particularly appropriate that we share tonight's conversation with the cameras of c-span, an important instrument of technology and media in public service. it is very in line with the larger mission of this great public university. i can think of very few people more qualified to think about these questions then kevin delaney. kevin cofounded the influential business news website in 2012.
at the time, the news media, as a whole has been profoundly challenged by shifts in the global economy, and the evolution of social media driven information economies. kevin's grounding for the remarkable success of courts, lies in his previous experience. not only is the managing editor of the wall street journal's website, or he successfully led them in leadership with award- winning dedicated digital features, and in his previous experience covering technology as a correspondent for the journal in the bay area and europe. the international strategy, including the remarkable focus on india and africa, to undercover legions of the globe with thriving and gracious audiences for good journalism. that's part of the many marketable strengths, reflected in his current membership of the council on foreign relations. if we are to truly ground kevin's current achievements and past advice, i would tell a
slightly more embarrassing story . i did not know kevin well as an undergraduate, even though we overlapped at yale for my first 2 years and his last. thankfully, we rectify the situation quickly, after we both graduated. i got to know him in paris while i lived in london after college. even while 2 years behind in school, i knew him by reputation. at the time, journalism at yale, bit like journalism everywhere the time was a club affair. even though we were discovering the internet in underground, fluorescently lit computer labs, where cigarette smoking was allowed, but windows were not, but ground, there was only one, well-established news source, the oldest college daily with the clubhouse like woodpaneled building and blue-chip rolodex. they yell building, at the time
was not available to all. rather the assumption, or presumption was that each yale undergraduate would pay for a subscription for a little rolled up piece of paper that would be inserted in your po box on campus. it wasn't even where you lived. even for a resolutely middle- class undergraduate like myself , the idea of spending money that i desperately needed for things like pizza and shoes on journalism was laughable. by the time i arrived on campus , the yale daily news was so out of news with leadership that subscription was declining, not to mention, exhibiting the institution was so allied with the traditional way of doing things, that rarely took power to task. into the gap. enabled by technology, in this case mack top publishing. it came in as the most available
media presence on campus supported by advertising, accessible to all, and raised possible only to its readership. not only that, but unlike the rituals at the daily news, where you ascended from floor to floor over your years of graduation, kevin created manifestly, and environment that was truly an alternative culture. it was approachable, it was participative and fun. it was one of the first examples i had in my career the fact that all those qualities were not just the opposite of excellence and work, but were in fact essential to them. over the next year, the yale news came in and started to distribute itself for free. abroad media a college began to thrive. as i discussed with kevin, he faced what seemed like a very difficult choice as an undergraduate.
he could dedicate himself to a career in journalism, every piece of advice was to join the rolodex, juggernaut of traditional media authority. instead, he decided to focus on readers, and on the news itself. the best way to serve changing audience in an ethnic and culturally diverse undergraduate population. kevin, as i think about it, probably did not get what he wanted, but what we all actually needed. the beginning of a lifetime of optimism and innovation admit the transforming media landscape. not only did it all turn out okay for him, it has a great chance to turn out great for all of us as a result. to continue to have kevin's patients, intelligence, creating supportive communities of journalists, to help support the rest of us that we only journalism can. on behalf of myself, and the dean of the journalism school, please join me in welcoming
kevin delaney to berkeley. [ applause ] >> that was an amazing introduction. people go so far back as the college newspaper, nicholas did mention one of the great secrets as we covered intramurals warts in the yale daily news, and they could not be brought to cover intramural sports. i was the secret, circa 1993. thank you for coming here tonight. i want to start by thinking nicholas, who is a dear friend, for bringing me back here to speak tonight. also, bring me back to berkeley where my family lived very happily for 5 years. when i think about what interdisciplinary thinking means , i think about nicholas. i think my appreciation of interdisciplinary thinking owes a lot to him.
he is a social entrepreneur. nicholas, somehow has managed to collaborate with both of us, despite lisa and i being very separate fields. he's one of the smartest people i know, and a real bridge. thank you, thank you for having me here. i want to start by telling you about two people, who in some ways are heroes of mine in the news industry. the first one is maria russell. some of you may know her. she is the founder of a site called wrapper in the philippines. she has written about the president, and the civil rights abuses there. in return, she finds herself finding five criminal charges, that can lead up to 10 years in jail. when i spoke to her recently, she had to get permission from two separate judges in the philippines to travel outside of the country. for all of that, maria said she
was optimistic. a few other journalists, including jamal khashoggi, who was murdered by the saudi government, she is named one of times people of the year. you can see the cover here. she felt that her raised profile would help keep her safe. she had been speaking with facebook, she was optimistic that they hired smart people, and were serious about getting the abuses off of the platform, and getting them under control. i said, after all of that, after all of the abuses, after everything, after the mobilization to the thugs, the propaganda that happen on facebook, was she really sure that she was optimistic about the future? yes, she said she was. around the same time, i was in touch with the founder of scroll in india, the five-year publications modeled on the atlantic. someone predicted lee, he fell afoul of the government and is
affiliated. he is optimistic as well. as a wave of media layouts, we'll talk about that, was announced in the united states recently. he texted me and said, all of this investment helped everyone climb a learning curve. while no individual company has made everything work, the components are clear, what is also clear is that quality is the only defensible, editorial strategy. that means it has to be based on context. original journalism is a key element. this is a surprise, positive lesson. he does believe the media is wringing its hands too much, and not seen the opportunities it has uncovered. this is a thought experiment. if buzz feed gets the same money, half $1 billion, it raised earlier, with all the collective learning until today, they would kick . if
anyone here is looking for a good way to support civil society in the face of strong man, these two are very worthy places for you to channel your investment. i'm naturally focused on opportunities as well. as nicholas said, i cofounded courts with david bradley, you and me atlantic, small band of us from places like the economist, blooper, near times, simple to create a new type of news organization, focused on delivery to mobile devices and open to the social web. we were building on the quality journalism and global worldview that the places we come from exhibited in their best moments. the last decade has been tough on important parts of the news landscape, particularly in local news. with the devastating loss of newsroom jobs and public accountability that the journalists used to bring.
in other areas, it is a remarkable age of journalism. this is one example at hand. our website at one point reach 25 million readers in a month. that's not that far off from the wall street journal, it is several times the size of the economist audience. half of the readers come from outside of the u.s., including readers from india, and many readers a month from africa. these are two places we have targeted. we are on five continents, apple selected our app is one of the top 10 apps of the year. quartz was all the summer at 5 years old to a japanese media company at an evaluation of $100 million. that is in excess of the investment created. this is one possibility open up by the free web, the global distribution like facebook and other civil succeeded.
in the enthusiasm of advertisers, they are backing new media. before i turned where i see news of the future, i feel like i need to acknowledge the context of today. if anyone had fantasies that the digital news thing was especially easy, or lucrative, they were probably shattered in recent weeks, or they should've been. the u.s. media organizations had 2000 jobs cut since the beginning of the year, with digital pathfinders, buzz feed, huffington post, among those hiring journalists. writing in the guardian, they concluded, the digital free market for journalism does not work. the near times that the same thing, with a more tortured metaphor. he said, working in digital media is like trying to build a fort out of marshmallows on a foundation made of marbles, in a country ruled by capricious and tyrannical, warring robots.
[ laughter ]emily at the washington post were succeeding things to their suspension models. they did argue that few others are terrific replicate their grant. thomas jefferson wrote in 1787, were a lot to me whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, i should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. he wrote that in 1787. for those of us that feel similarly, the current climate for media business can be discouraging. that is even before discussing a president who has called the press the enemy of the people. before discussing concerns that his acolytes might heed that whistle and do it one does two enemies, attack them, kill them, and hold them captive. before getting into how trump has not fully condemned the saudi government's role in the killing of jamal khashoggi. as
nicholas previewed before, i've known that i wanted to be a journalist since i was a teenager. this is the newsroom of the yale herald and circa 1993. i decided early on that i wanted to spend my life contributing to the better understanding of the world, and each other. i want to know it's really going on as best we can. i want to hold the powerful accountable, and help humanity's better instincts toward solutions. i am motivated by the pursuit of truth. i've lived and worked in three different countries and married a citizen of a fourth. i'm highly bias toward the free change of ideas and experiences. i view journalism as an important public service, one that is vital and where they, even if there is not a great business model. even if political leaders attack it, or the public professes not to trust journalists. we can endeavor to
do better, and make things better, and be trustworthy. i come to the question of the future of news from that perspective. the future of news is likely to be hard. it's not optional. the pragmatic optimism, and bravery of 1019, angers me his return from the fog of today and look ahead. for starters, one thing we can say with certainty the digital platform, facebook and google, it will decrease. part of this is by choice. in their effort to curtail manipulation of the platform by propaganda and disinformation, facebook has also dramatically reduced the amount of news that people see on it. in march 2017, readers came via facebook and registered 13 million [ indiscernible ] in courts. later that was 4
million. that was a 70% decline in the ability to reach readers via facebook. i should note that readers reach us other ways, so thankfully, quartz's audience has remained able throughout this period. part of this is that facebook's various scandals and shortcomings seem to mean that americans use at last. adults in america spend about 12% of their online time on facebook. that is one fifth less than 2 years ago, according to pivotal research. there is a certainty that facebook and google will be regulated by governments. in europe, and likely here as well that will be the case. roger mcnamee, in his new book, lays out the directions that this could take from blocking facebook from acquiring more companies, to using antitrust laws to rake facebook into pieces. facebook will experience the hobbling of its business swagger
that microsoft experience 20 years ago. i do understand that people, some people are embarrassed to work there. it will be harder to retain talent. this will create opportunities for new things to enter in. we have the opportunity today, through our choices to select and shave the news platforms of tomorrow. there is apple news, and aggregation service that reaches 90 million readers every month. clipboard tugs along. it has 145 million readers per month. read it has 300 users -- 300 million users. interestingly, in the case of reddit , each one is moderated by volunteer users. that is better than ai at finding and curating news. it is not perfect. we do know this. the human hand and curating is an important signal.
it appoints the power of humans in creating our information comments. there is also netflix and spotify. spotify's acquisition of podcast for $200 million is an explicit signal that spotify is moving beyond music and towards news. quartz launches on platform for news. it is an app for android and ios where you can comment and share on the news. it was a very deliberate choice about how it is structured. journalists curate the home screen and select the stories you see. the comments are moderated. you can only comment once per article. you cannot shout out other people in the comments in all caps like some people like to do. all of this is good. it's a powerful signal that
people want news, and not just a filtered bubble that facebook's algorithms but them in the middle of. on top of that, the chances that a foreign governments manipulation of the collective psyche to swain election decrease when the news universes more diverse, structure to avoid manipulation , and includes human judgment as to what is actually true. i am guessing that this will be a best seller on telegraph avenue, if it is not already. one enormous area that needs addressing is how the platforms share revenue with the creators of news. local news, especially, has suffered. ad revenue has been siphoned off by the digital platforms. facebook and google have committed to spending, together, a total of $600 million over the next 3 years to support journalism. this is the sort of philanthropy and capitalism that others have criticized more broadly.
facebook and google have used surveillance capitalism to grab all the new advertising dollars . that's $600 million over 3 years represents the smallest fraction of their spoils. it is 1% of their net income last year. they profited $22 billion in 2018. google is worth about $31 billion. the shareholder maximizing needs tempering. one question is, whether the news platforms willing gauge in the serious reset on this front, rather than just charity aiming at impeding the government and would be critics of the media. facebook said, they will not solve the news media's problems. that is true. they have trusted and chosen not to face these problems with how professionals are paid to produce the news. we are where we are. okay. looking forward, i predict that the news of the future will break free from the constraints
of newspaper manufacturing from the earlier century, as it has over the last decade. until shockingly recently, articles were by default, the range of 700 words long. this was the standard unit of production. the news organizations, and of this, if you lay out a printed news for, it's easier to fit 700 word articles together. charge and photos sat in boxes, because the content management systems could not process those things as part of the flow of the text. reporters did not write their own headlines, because only person laying metal type in the manufacturing part of the news process new how many character spaces they were for the headlines to fit, as this gentleman is doing right here. when i was a reporter, we did not write headlines, even though this guy had retired, years, or decades before.
we have broken free of that. today, it's common to see an article that has a series of charts, photos, and gifs. quartz is an african chat with someone about the news like you would in text messages. we have journalists that write the scripts for that. this is an apt the apples that was one of the top 10 best apps of the year. we have a very loyal user base for it. these organizations increasingly use the stories format that snapchat developed. we can text and have videos and graphics. i love a 2000 word feature article. i do think it's positive the news is being delivered in idioms, that technology allows. this is where a user is accustomed to. we are free from the manufacturer manufacturing process.
there are more interesting forms of journalism that we have yet to see due to the limitations of previous platforms in our preconceptions on what news looks like. part of the reason that it is important that digital news organizations thrive is that these are the places where it's most common to do the reinvention of news, and how users experience it. they tell the team, the biggest and possible only advantage against larger news organizations is that we are not sentimental about the form of news, or how it has always been produced. apart from our app you can chat about the news, one of my favorite, simple examples is in an article from a few years ago. you can see it on the right. this was about quartz , and gap inc. is quarterly earnings. other places are boring headlines. we listen to the company
earnings conference call and wrote a 250 word article with a chart in a headline that you see. banana republic made a blazer with armholes too small for the average woman to get into. it told the story of their quality control problems distinctly and officially. the chart was sewn into the narrative. another example of moving beyond traditional media production and limitations is an email we produced daily called the quartz obsession. it goes deeply into a topic. what is interesting in this context, this feels like a webpage. you can watch short videos, you can take surveys, you can take quizzes. it is the length of the feature article that is deconstructed and put back together for a rich, efficient experience on your phone. there's a lot more to do as we go forward. we have 5g wireless services launching this year. the importance is, it gives you a high-bandwidth, zero latency data transfer. marble mobile internet
connection is not a constraint to the users phones. the phones have been demonstrated. they have folding screens, as you can expand what you are reading. we have tv sets, for as long as i can remember, being promised to be something more than just places where you watch television shows, have yet to move beyond that. that is another area of promise. there is also voice. the news organizations have done great podcasts. the potential for voice interaction around news and journalism, goes very far beyond that. that is coming as well. whether it is new or different media brands is exceed in these areas, should there be? yes. looking to the news of the future, it's hard not to get stuck on the question of what people actually want. news like democracy can be thought of as a conversation. if the readers and consumers, users, and citizens don't want news, don't trust it, don't value it, there is only so much that ernest journalists can do.
there has been a clouding of truth. we have alternative facts, truth is not truth. this is the hardest part to get our heads around. women's, biologically like propaganda. it's just like we like fat and sugar. for our survival, we need to overcome information obesity. we give people more information like the calorie count in restaurants and nutrition labels on prepared foods are one approach. brands used to be a seal of informational health. brands like news organizations like the new york times, or san francisco chronicle. the internet undermined the importance of the news brand as people see individual articles in similar facebook format. that seems to be changing. the new york times success was suggest there is a startup called news guard. they are providing, literally an informational, nutritional label for news organizations. this is a signal that feeds into
the distribution. they listed the daily mail as unreliable until recently. many people heralded that as an amazing, gutsy achievement. they did backtrack on that. there needs to be an active comeback against the manipulation of the news. for years, most of us were too idealistic about the internet. it brought people together. there are supersmart bloggers. there was this thing called wikipedia, which created this rigid knowledge and ideas. we did not acknowledge the hacking and manipulation, and misinformation, and surveillance that we all biologically are wired for. the internet platforms were steadily enabling. other platforms need to do everything they can do to structure themselves to avoid those problems and resist the easy product design that manipulates our brains.
this requires active effort by the people in the industry, and those that consume the news. i am happy that the media has been stripped of some of its arrogance. there was a structural sexual harassment and poor treatment of women in television at cbs is a fox news. it was symptomatic. the role of the media both perpetuating, and exposing the perpetrators of sexual harassment is one of the most vexing and inspiring things about #metoo. respect and equality are very important. lack of arrogance is important. 60% of quartz's newsroom is female. we are engaged in a multiyear, journalism project called how we will win. it's about the role we all play in getting to fair, equitable society and work laces. for what it's worth, i'm not
totally surprised by the failure of mike.com, both feet, and elsewhere, puffing to imposed, the hype over the years did not match the basic business realities. they had trouble reaching a large advertising base with the general and generous offering. they bet the future on facebook, well after it was clear that that was not a wise thing to do. vice is a tv studio and buzz feed is cutting to reach profitability, which they hope to do. quartz was profitable in the fourth year. after a few years of investments has a plan to turn back to profitability. other digital media excerpts have operated profitably over the last few years. it's not coincidental that all of the ones that i mentioned have some connection to
business news. professionals and investors are willing to pay for that. advertisers are willing to pay premiums to appear next to them. business news has an audience that is tied to truth, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable. some of the best journalism has been places like the wall street journal, financial times, and bloomberg for business readers. some of the best journalism has been business journalism. the docket reporting on corruption amidst threats, which he chronicled and bad blood. business journalism has a great role to play in the current media environment and its evolution. i argue that it does, because the problems that it tackles are ones of public policy, accountability, and relevance to all of us. it is vital that we understand the future of work, healthcare, finance, technology, cities, taxation, and related topics that business news organizations are covering.
this is a great business model for business news, anchored by subscriptions and lucrative advertising be applied to local news? i don't know the answer. i think it has some promise, especially if there is a niche market to serve. that way people are willing to pay. there are other nonbusiness examples of news organizations driving like the athletic, and the sports journalistic email, the daily email news letter targeting millennial women, the podcasting studios, and berkeley side, nonprofits like vp digger. these are valuable models as well. i think the people proclaiming the end of the digital news business have too short of a time frame, or a failure of imagination. it is not easy, but the surprise positive lesson is that quality is the only defensible editorial strategy.
original journalism is a key element. quartz had an important experience after it launched in 2012, they had hundreds of thousands of readers coming per month. that was a lot for us. they featured headlines, and people would click through to come to quartz. all of a sudden, the number dropped to close to zero. you can see it on the chart here. linkedin launched something called influencers. they asked people like richard branson to write a post on linkedin itself. from one day to the next, linkedin stopped sending places to quartz and harvard review and started sending them to their own site. if we had over optimized our content to work on linkedin, this would've been existential. we were young, we rolled with it, we focused another places like facebook, having learned
important lessons. the quality of the content, the journalism, the creativity, the ideas were all you could really control over the long-term. you had to be pragmatic about the cycle of the products and platforms, and consumer habits. it is possible to be realistic about things like that, and remain engaged and anchored in optimism. the components of what can worker clear. editorial quality is an anchor for that. i was not kidding earlier when i said, maria and sameer could use your report. we can play a role in this by purchasing quality journalism, or a subscription to quality websites, or sending money to someone like maria. the news of the future can get better. we have to wanted to. thank you. [ applause ]
because i forgot to do so earlier, i will explain what will happen now. kevin will join me here on stage . some of you have put questions on index cards. you will continue to do so. we will have ushers bringing them up to the front of the house. we will look forward to sharing a conversation with you over the next half hour. while we are waiting for the first questions to come up, i thought i would bring the conversation back to one we had at the berkeley center for new media last year on the 53rd anniversary of the berkeley free speech movement. it was one week after the vast hacking of the university, and it's appearance in the public press to make global media events out of 14 people
assembling for 10 minutes. this is the question of the dynamics of attention versus content, as we were discussing earlier, how the media landscape of today, fundamentally changes things like speech and freeze each. i want to get your thoughts on that, and how it affected the business of journalism as well. >> this is an interesting question. the basic assumption about free speech are not well equipped to handle it. the first amendment was the assumption around the first amendment was around protecting speech from government suppression. as nicholas was saying, what we are seeing now is another tactic that is increasingly common. we see this a lot on facebook, twitter, and his platforms, is not that you are actually suppressing the speech, you are
flooding people's attention with other competing things that may or may not be true. they are in opposition to this. you all know this. this is misinformation and propaganda. people throw up their arms and say, i really don't know what to believe. the fact is very similar, to if you unplug the computer, or take with a printing press, the original speech cannot survive her breakthrough on the platforms that are optimized for the spread of this other type of speech. the implications for what we should want to see in the future of journalism and news is that there needs to be humans. there needs to be a human curator that can break through this flood of information in some cases. interestingly, this is a direction that facebook was
going in. they had the trending topics on facebook that had humans, who from the city of speech were pulling out things that they thought were true and interesting, and relevant for the people who came to facebook's homepage. in the face of flooding of information coming, facebook fired the humans that were part of that, pulling the items that were true and worthy of our attention. >> i'm going to lead to the next question, i will say, if you feel a question coming of you, raise your hand, if you don't already have an index card, we'll get you one. if you are holding up an index card, we will take it from you. the next question, i will expand on this a little bit, the questioner asks, does quartz use ai tools or automated tasks?
can you expand on the impact and potential impact of machine intelligence on journalism? i know bloomberg has ai writing articles, as far back as 10 years ago. >> the answer to the question, there are news organizations that are using ai to basically write articles. there doing simple things like financial earnings releases, translating into articles, basic sports things, if you read a box court, you can transport it into a template. we got a grant. i'm excited. we just announce nai studio at quartz based on a grant from the knight foundation. the project is to use ai in the pursuit of journalism. it's not like taking data and
having machines write articles that could pass for a human written article, gives journalists superpowers in the reporting, to go through big data sets and find patterns, and facts they are compiling. the answer the question is, is not the capability that we have now, but we just hired some journalists and programmers to start working on this. we think it is super interesting, and we should put the ai superpowers to work in the pursuit of truth. >> here's a question that we have also discussed that is very relevant here in the bay area. this has to do with the global questions, but the effect of technology to do the total collapse of local journalism.
i'm adding my hometown newspaper, keeping an eye on local politicians, and nobody does that now. >> this is a big issue, it's one of the great civic tragedies of your day, what happened in local news and accountability. this is an area where facebook and google are adding financial support. it will not be the answer to what we need here. i don't know the answer, i should start by saying that. i'm not super qualified to tell you how local news will be saved. there are some really interesting examples of ways in which people are pursuing this. i did mention berkeley side and digger that are very interesting endeavors to figure this out. berkeley side is a b corp. this is a nonprofit where journalism got laid off from
the newspaper in vermont and a newsroom, they found corporate sponsorship, and foundation funding, and membership, and they have one and half million dollars in their budget. they can do a lot of the accountability journalism that local papers did very valuably. we're still trying to figure this out. people need to care. communities cannot expect this to happen without citizens providing support in one way or another. there are models out there that are showing the way, often with nonprofit foundations and support to make this work. >> this is going directly to another question, journalism struggles for profitability, how you feel about billionaires getting into media or news
business? is this for good or ill? >> at our moment in history, it is hard to say that this is a bad thing. billionaires deploying the money to pay for professional journalists. there are questions that you could pose about this, one of the billionaires control the news? is that a good thing? what did they bring to the coverage over time, whether explicit or implicit signals to the people who are running the organization, that they employ? i think we have to be honest about the questions that are involved. in general, i am enthusiastic about billionaires deploying their money to employ
journalists, as long as journalists do real reporting that we all read. the atlantic hired something like 100 staff over the last year, thanks to the new ownership. that is a good thing. again, there are caveats, over time, we need to hold them accountable to good stewardship of these organizations. in the moment, it's hard to complain about how they deploy their money. >> i would step into that, make a direct connection to the university, and the public university, we are increasingly dependent on philanthropy and donations. that does bring with it the need for continued vigilance and accountability. it's not something that we could do without. >> journalists are pretty cranky comments he through a lot of
things. if you know any journalists, you could probably say that. i'm sure that mark is not getting super cozy treatment from the rank and file in the newsroom at the times. >> this is another question about money. do you worry that the shift to subscriptions excludes those that cannot afford a and leads a class of people in the dark? >> yes i do. that is a big issue. that is on parallel with local news. if all news of quality requires you to pay for its, people who cannot pay for it are left out of having access to that. that is a really big issue. our own approach at quartz has been that we took the bulk of the content, and we made it free. we did add membership is something additional.
these are deeper dives on businesses and areas of disruption in the economy. it's very important for us that including places like india and africa, where we have a mission to serve readers, that you are able to access quartz without paying for it. >> this is a tough follow-up question from one of the audience members. local media across united states is suffering. that is well documented. with millions of african readers, what you think of the power of the balance of digital media as a goes across national borders. hello hello paid reporter compete with a quartz journalist covering the same topic? >> good question. one thing i would say to start is, it's been important for us to have journalists who come from a place covering this place. our model is not to have people from brooklyn, and put them in
lagos. or put them in india. this is not exactly the question, but in terms of the neocolonial intrusion of larger, global media power on the information ecosystem of a country like malawi, our approach is coherence with recognizing the talents, and values of the individual place. i think our audiences are not the same. our audience, interestingly, for content and africa and india , mixes in with the global content. one super interesting thing, we analyzed the people in africa and readers were reading. they were reading the african coverage. they were reading united states
coverage. most of it was technology coverage. there were reading coverage about india. that was not something that i expected to see. that the readers in africa were the most voracious consumers of the news that we were producing in india. there is a logic to it. there are some similar economic developments there is an indian diaspora in africa. i don't think we are competing directly with the local news organizations in africa. i do respect that and i think it's a good question. >> one last thing, one thing we tried to do is bring the tools of quartz to local newsrooms in africa. i should not forget this . we
had an initiative 2 years ago, that we called alice for africa. we have a charting platform called atlas. it's a tool that journalists can use to make charts. it is free. we got a grant, and we went into a bunch of newsrooms across africa, and shared the tool with the newsrooms, talk with them how they could use it in their work. this is a good segue to the next question about new tools and journalism, and new medium phenomenons, in how we consume information. as the two separate questions. i'll put them together. one is the prominence of self- publishing aggregators, represented by medium the questioner says, they seem to be trying to do a rollup of long journalism as a place for that type of extended content. the second question is, your thoughts on the user comments
themselves in terms of what the daily discourses. he talked about how you have tried to get them to improve versus demean it. i would be interested in thinking about those together, not related to that part. this is the ability of the digital platforms to give us fundamentally new containers for information. >> one of the things that we said in the initial letter when we launched quartz to the readers, we said we believe that collectively, the readers knew much more than we ever would. as a journalist, or news organization, that has to be the starting point. you don't own the truth. there are people outside. we have tried over the years to find ways to try to bring the readers into the content. at one point, we allowed people
to annotate quartz's articles. the idea was, you could respond to a specific section of the article, and ideally you would say, here's a link to this amazing data source on the point, or you got this wrong, here is how you could fix it. turns out, there are not many people that want to spend their day doing that. we did discover that. it is a premise that we remain committed to. as i mentioned, we launch this platform, which is an apt that does have commenting on the news. it is pretty constructive. we have done a few things that are key, structural reasons for it to work. the first thing we have done, we did recruit a bunch of people to comment regularly. this is people like roger mcnamee who has a book about
face book, and sue desmond, who is the head of the gates foundation. we have that chinese, ai expert and investor. they are commenting, in a very interesting way, and signaling the type of specific conversation that we are looking for. anyone can comment, felt important to have people who could model the type of conversation. the second thing is, as mentioned, it is structured as you can only comment once. you cannot shout back and forth at other people. it turns out that that makes a huge difference. if you cannot go back and forth with someone about trump or obama, or whoever you want to shout about, it leads to a more civil conversation. the last thing is, we have journalists moderating the conversation. when people are not behaving
civilly, we can push their comments down so people don't see them. there is a great thing called shadow banning. that means that the person who left the profane or angry comment, still sees the comments themselves, but nobody else sees it.[ laughter ]that means they don't get mad at us, because they think that we have taken it down. there are many techniques. later this year, will try to bring this back to the articles on quartz , try to get commenting correct for once. the first part of the question was the medium. >> i was trying to synthesize the questions, the relationship between platforms like medium, and there intrusion on the regular news business, or their relationship to it. you can tell from my remarks earlier, i think it's better to
have more platforms with earnest people trying to create places where people go and read longform journalism. that's a very good thing. the truth, if you saw our readership from facebook, it went like this. the readership from linkedin went like this, then like this. as you can see, individual platforms can greatly affect whether the users find the content on that platform. the truth is, people want to read stuff. despite all of these things happening, we still have tens of millions of readers every month, who come to quartz , despite the scary points that i showed you.
>> what do you think of the question that referred or made the implication that in a previous age, someone like jeff baeza's would've had to collaborate. instead, he put it out there himself. you think that makes the world a better place? is that just the nature of news in her time? it would've been a very complicated journalistic assignment to get that call from him, and translate that into a family-friendly article. so, it is a fact, he wrote a very bold and funny post on medium. if there's no journalist as an intermediary, and earlier ages,
he could have written it as a press release and put on the press wire. that doesn't bother me. >> this is a question at the heart of a lot of our hopes and fears about news. that is, what if? do you think there is a chance that business news, for the financial elite is the only business news that survives? you think that the prospect we face? i don't think so. i think it is because there are other examples of categories of people. you may not find this anymore reassuring. journalism for sports enthusiasts has a bright future. journalism for millennial women apparently has a bright future. you can go down the categories.
podcasting, actually, we heard examples with anchor being acquired by spotify. it has a bright future. i don't know that the categories of journalism that are financially viable, independent of the board from members, or philanthropists, foundations, etc. , and good souls, i don't know how infinite that category of journalism is. it is definitely bigger than just business journalism. >> we will finish with the last two questions. this is more inside the business of journalism. how has quartz managed to avoid
the curse ? factor into your long or medium game. there are journalists who are looking, working on video shows that happen to be distributed on facebook where we weakly do field reporting. and we have done a bunch in china, africa, the latest one was in lisbon and talking to people about how the rise of air b&b and people wanting to act like locals when they are tourist has basically destroyed lisbon for a lot of people who live there. so there is some great original terminals going on there. we did not get into video and stake our entire future on it. we see it more as one of the ways in which we are journalists and one of the forms in which we try, which our journalism takes. i wish that video was a lot easier. it's pretty expensive from a
business standpoint. and the idea that there is a kind of magical model for how you finance it is clearly not true. and it has been painfully demonstrated. there is a, for distribution, television channels, netflix, google, amazon, paying for video content. that is among the things that we think about. we have had one of our stories is being auctioned for a tv series another one is being shopped as a documentary for someplace. those are ways in which you can kind of creatively finance further investment into journalism. the last question i think is a wonderful one to end on in a very sincere question from
our most cherished community which is our students. what kind of student or student of journalism do you deem to be well prepared for whatever the future news is to bring. both how can we both leaders and co-conspirators in our nation. that's a great question. i think the thing that basically it all goes to, of course what we are looking for and journalists which are, may be one way to answer it. like we look at our journalist, can they write basic things. do they have some relevant experience to what we would be looking to do. and then the fundamental thing for me upon interviewing journalists who are coming to work at courts, the fundamental thing i look for is this a curious person. it is more than training in a
specific video production technique or cms or whatever the specific tactic you can learn, if you are not a fundamentally curious person, you are going to struggle to excel in this profession. when i talk to people journalism this topic i'll try to get them talking about stories and see if this person is just curious about things. one of the most memorable times with speaking with and quito the design reporter, she came in and told me about a trip where she had gone to manila. and she said i want to manila in the philippines to do some reporting for this freelance magazine. and she said yeah, while i was there, i went to the neighborhood in manila where there are forgers you can hire forager to forge a passport or driver's license. and so she
got a pulitzer prize for certificates forged with her name. it was pretty cool. and she said you know, there really like these really archaic forms of calligraphy that are practicing force in the philippines because they are used on diplomas. so this form of calligraphy that is used so there are these philippine forgery artist who were preserving these forms. i thought wow this is super interesting. and were gonna hire you and you're going to write both of these stories. and then she said and i was there and i had thai food and it was really interesting because i was taken the car to the airport and all of the road to the airport is lined with billboards on your standard billboards.
and the billboards themselves have actually been removed because they were afraid that they would basically take flight in the typhoon and endanger people. they said it was super fascinating visually because there were these exoskeletons of a billboards that were there, these resting steel skeletons and she said it's as if the skeleton of our commercial society was right there and she had taken a bunch of photos on instagram. and i was like you have to write that story. after we hire you. the long way of answering the questions, the answer is you have to be a good writer and reading as i think for any young person especially journalists, it is the number one thing you can do. for self-improvement. reading books. reading longform journalism.
but beyond that, to gaining any experiences you can and actually testing yourself on just how curious you are is another key thing to do if you aspire to be a successful journalist. that is a great note to end on. i would like to ask you all to join me in thinking kevin delaney very much for joining us. thank you very much. [ applause ].
saturday at 2:30 pm eastern look tv has live coverage to the museum from kenneth ackerman and darrell stewart talking about c-span's new book the presidents noticed variance rank america's best and worst chief executive saturday at 2:30 pm eastern on c-span two from the museum. saturday night, president donald trump is holding a campaign rally in green bay wisconsin. skipping the annual white house correspondents dinner. tuesday he instructed his administration to boycott the dinner. watch live coverage of the presidents rally saturday at eight eastern on c-span. following the rally, watch live coverage at 9:30 pm eastern of the white house correspondents dinner with featured speaker author and historian ron trenelle.
before we move on to the supreme court, can i say the 10 topics of what you really need to know and here we go. write them down. foundations, filler is him, public opinion, public participation, political parties, interest groups, campaigns and elections, congress, president, and quarts. those of the big ten. the entire test covers those 10 topics. are you a student preparing for the advanced placement united states government and politics exam ?, suggest to be part of washington journals annual cram for the exam program. saturday, may 4 at 9 am eastern for live discussion with heiskell government teachers andrew cunneen and daniel larson from adelaide east to listen, stevenson high school in illinois. speak in our question is about long going, log going and significant . >> our students struggle with this also. it is a contract of, the idea is that if you're trying to get a big bill passed, a lot of times it helps to have some
quid pro quo quit pro quo this for that. if you have this writer this project sometimes recall the earmarks, if you add that earmark, you will get more supportive votes. watch washington journals annual cram for the exam saturday, may 4 at 9 am eastern on c-span. this is a special edition of american history tv. a sample of the compelling history programs that area every week and on american history tv like lectures and history, american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and a special event coverage about our nations history. enjoy american history tv now and every weekend on c-span three. , c-span3. coming up next on c-span3, lectures and history , college
students and inmates are part of a college class on the history of being arrested in the u.s. from the 1850s to the present day. and then the investigation into the bombing of the uss cole. later, a tour of philadelphia's eastern state penitentiary that opened in 1829 and was the world's first penitentiary. attorney general william barr will testify before the house and senate judiciary committees on the miller report. live wednesday and thursday, may 1 and second c-span, on c- span3, c-span.org and you can listen to it on the free c- span.radio app. next on c-span3's american history tv, kent state university professor elaine frantz talks about what it was like being arrested in the second half of the 19th century compared with the current prison system. this class