Monday 25th March: War correspondent Jane Ferguson on how tech is evolving conflict reporting

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On this week's episode we hear from Jane Ferguson, an award-winning journalist with a huge amount of experience covering wars and conflicts the world over. She tells us about how wars often bring the issues around modern journalism – mistrust, disinformation, lack of resources – into the starkest focus, and how the democratisation of tech is making the job of journalists covering war both easier and more difficult.

She says that younger audiences in particular are better at recognising that there is no such thing as an ‘unbiased’ news organisation, and at choosing to consumer news from individuals who are as transparent about their point of view as they are about their reporting practices:

“We're all starting to have more honest conversations about ‘where do we come from? What are we bringing to these stories?' Is it good or bad or inevitable that we all have opinions — which is different from an axe to grind, which is different from weaponizing your voice?’ So, it's a very complicated conversation, and I don't have a lot of the answers, but it's certainly one that young people are way more attuned to.”

On this week’s episode (see first story) we spoke at length about the news that French authorities found that news publishers’ data was used for training Gemini without their knowledge. We also spoke about the idea that Google provides many tools that publishers find to be indispensible. And as if by magic — here comes this story that illustrates that almost perfectly.

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As it happens I’ve just added some detail on the above tool to the ongoing thread we have on our community forum. Come chat with us about AI for journalists — the good, the bad, and the weird.

This is a seriously depressing read, albeit one that probably won’t surprise anyone who’s been keeping track of the state of news businesses over the past four years. Speaking of the upcoming US election cycle Robert Thompson at Syracuse University says, “the very industry that should be girding up for this is in a total state of crisis”.

In this very newsletter slot on Friday Peter linked out to a story about Fortune, and its plans for expansion. In a neat little display of serendipity published this interview with Fortune’s new executive editor Alex Wood Morton in which, among other things, he discusses the tendancy for British media to report negatively on businesses.

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