EXTRA! EXTRA! Don’t Bother Reading All About It!
June 11, 2019
“News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising.” – William Randolph Hearst
“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” – Arthur Miller
EXTRA! EXTRA! DON’T BOTHER READING ALL ABOUT IT
A new study released Monday estimates that in 2018 Google made nearly as much money ($4.7 billion) as the entire US news industry made ($5.1 billion) from digital advertising on news content. The study says news is a significant part of Google’s business, and some 40 percent of the clicks on the platform’s trending queries are for news content that Google does not pay for. It claims Google has increasingly monetized news content as it works to keep consumers in its ecosystem, and that news searches help the internet giant gather data from its users in order to tailor its other products.
The study was sponsored by the News Media Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 newspapers across the country. Google and several media analysts disputed the methods and conclusions of the study. “These back of the envelope calculations are inaccurate as a number of experts are pointing out,” a Google spokesperson said.
In truth, middleman roles played by tech giants siphon off a huge portion of online ad revenue, which has cost legacy news outlets a crucial source of income and led many of them to shrink or disappear. Alliance president David Chavern says the journalists who create news content deserve a cut of that $4.7 billion.
The report is expected to be presented this week to a congressional hearing on antitrust abuses by Big Tech firms. Chavern said he hoped lawmakers will pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act now before Congress. The bill would give news publishers a four-year antitrust exemption, allowing them to collectively bargain with the owners of online platforms over revenue splitting.
- Journalists can’t repeat their Watergate-hero act. The reasons should make us grieve. (WaPo, $)
- Does Journalism Have a Future? In an era of social media and fake news, journalists who have survived the print plunge have new foes to face. (New Yorker, $)
- Anger at Big Tech Unites Noodle Pullers and Code Writers. Washington Is All Ears. (NYT, $)
- Paywalling Facts (Daily Pnut)
Chocolate: For Kids, By Kids
- About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa. The US Labor Department reported in 2015 that more than 2 million children were engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing regions.
- They arrive on the Ivory Coast by the busload, alone, from impoverished states like Burkina Fasoto. Some have been working since they were 10. The world’s biggest chocolate companies pledged almost 20 years ago to eradicate child labor being used in their cocoa supply chains. But deadlines were missed in 2005, 2008 and 2010.
- Today Mars, Nestlé and Hershey still cannot identify the farms where all their cocoa comes from, let alone whether child labor was used in producing it. So odds are high that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor. (WaPo)
Why’d You Have To Go And Make Things So Complicated?
- People over age 65 account for roughly 16 percent of the population, but 40 percent of the patients undergoing surgery. More elderly people are having surgical procedures considered too dangerous for their age just ten years ago.
- As imagined, complication rates among the oldest patients are high. The American College of Surgeons is now proposing standards for hospitals operating on the elderly. The college’s new geriatric surgery verification program will be unveiled next month at a conference in Washington DC after four years of planning and research. It sets 30 standards that hospitals should meet to improve results for older patients. (NYT) Additional read: The Business of Health Care Depends on Exploiting Doctors and Nurses: One resource seems infinite and free: the professionalism of caregivers. (NYT, $)
- The Business of Health Care Depends on Exploiting Doctors and Nurses: One resource seems infinite and free: the professionalism of caregivers. (NYT, $)
Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Escape The Diplomacy
- Carrie Lam, a Beijing-backed bureaucrat who has been Hong Kong’s chief executive since 2017, is standing by her legislative plan to allow extradition requests from authorities in mainland China, Taiwan and Macau for suspects accused of criminal wrongdoing such as murder and rape.
- Hong Kong has no extradition agreements with those countries, although it does have such agreements with 20 other countries including the US and the UK. Hundreds of thousands of people rallied on Sunday against the bill, which critics contend will allow China to target political opponents in the region. (BBC)
- Additional reads: Hong Kong’s Government May Cave In to China. Its People Will Not.: Judging by the crowds on Sunday, scorn for the government on the mainland has reached new heights. (NYT, $); and Chinese paper says ‘foreign forces’ using Hong Kong havoc to hurt China (Reuters)
Leakin’ At The Car Wash, Leakin’ At The Car Wash Yeah!
- A treasure trove of previously undisclosed documents dealing with a years-long investigation into political corruption in Brazil has been leaked to The Intercept. The secret archive reveals startling information about Car Wash, the sweeping probe that led to prosecutions of numerous leading political figures, oligarchs, and foreign leaders, including Brazil’s hugely popular former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, “Lulu.”
- Lulu was the leading candidate for a new presidential term until he was convicted and imprisoned by then-judge Sergio Moro. Lulu’s opponent Jair Bolsonaro became president instead in 2018. Bolsonaro then created a position for Moro, that of Justice Minister, with responsibility for a new agency with consolidated powers over law enforcement, surveillance and investigations. (Intercept)
- Breach of ethics: Exclusive: Leaked Chats Between Brazilian Judge and Prosecutor Who Imprisoned Lula Reveal Prohibited Collaboration and Doubts Over Evidence
- Hidden plot: Exclusive: Brazil’s Top Prosecutors Who Indicted Lula Schemed in Secret Messages to Prevent His Party From Winning 2018 Election (The Intercept)
Additional World News
- Tokyo’s tipping point: is the impenetrable city finally opening up?: As Japan’s capital welcomes immigrants and prepares to host the Olympics, 2019 could be the year the world’s largest megalopolis goes truly global (Guardian)
- Japan’s Extreme Recluses Already Faced Stigma. Now, After Knifings, They’re Feared. (NYT, $)
- China social media: WeChat and the Surveillance State (BBC)
- Tehran closes 547 restaurants for breaking ‘Islamic principles’: Iranian police close venues for crimes ranging from ‘playing illegal music’ to ‘debauchery’ (Guardian)
- Sweden Finds a Simple Way to Improve New Mothers’ Health. It Involves Fathers.: The flexibility to have an extra person at home, even for a few days, offers significant postpartum benefits, new research shows. (NYT, $)
- Want to Buy a Ticket to the Space Station? NASA Says Soon You Can: NASA plans to open the International Space Station to commercial business, including tourism. But the tickets won’t be cheap. (NYT, $)
The Convicted Church
- Church leaders can run, but hiding is no longer an option. For years Southern Baptists dismissed sexual abuse as a problem caused by “corrupt Hollywood” or “liberal theology.”
- Evangelical churches have long distanced themselves from the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. But a recent investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News showed nearly 400 Southern Baptist leaders, from youth pastors to top ministers, have pleaded guilty or were convicted of sex crimes against more than 700 victims since 1998. And after years of resisting reforms, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the US, finally promised this week at its annual gathering of thousands of pastors that it would address the problem. (NYT)
- A police officer who serves in Arizona told Daily Pnut that the majority of child sex abuse cases he investigates are committed by those who hold leadership positions at religious institutions.
- The Number of Americans with No Religious Affiliation Is Rising: The rise of the atheists (Scientific American)
Additional USA News
- Americans ‘need a wake-up call’ when it comes to their finances (Yahoo)
- People Are Trying to Figure Out William Barr. He’s Busy Stockpiling Power.: Is he the operator who spun the then-secret Mueller report? Or the straight shooter who later disclosed portions that were damaging to President Trump? (NYT, $)
- NRA money flowed to board members amid allegedly lavish spending by top officials and vendors. (WaPo, $)
- ‘Sober’ bars are cropping up in New York City, providing a dry nightlife option for people who are cutting back or cutting out alcohol, but still want to enjoy the Saturday night bar-hopping experience. They’re part of a larger trend. People in general are drinking less beer, and Millennials are drinking less overall.
- Silicon Valley is taking note, with tech companies reevaluating their alcohol policies and investors considering other ways to cater to non-drinkers. Startup investors and entrepreneurs are hoping to come up with new products for the sober and sober-curious, like low-or-no-alcoholic beverages, or who knows, maybe something laced with cannabis? (CNN)
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