This former hedge fund guy is a one-man nonprofit investigating some of America’s shadiest companies

Earlier this year, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) launched an investigation into the role of America’s drug makers in fueling the country’s opioid crisis. Her first report, “Fueling an Epidemic: Insys Therapeutics and the Systemic Manipulation of Prior Authorization,” was released on September 6 and detailed how Insys “repeatedly employed aggressive and likely illegal techniques…

The future of news is humans talking to machines

This year, the iPhone turned 10. Its launch heralded a new era in audience behavior that fundamentally changed how news organizations would think about how their work is discovered, distributed and consumed. This summer, as a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard, I’ve been looking at another technology I think could lead to a similar…

“Alt-weeklies helped make people locals” — what will fill the gap left by their closures in the digital era?

It’s a turbulent time for America’s alt-weeklies. The storied Village Voice’s announcement on Tuesday that it was ending its print edition spurred many eulogies and analyses and oral histories, but the Village Voice’s change comes after a spate of other alt-weekly closures: Just last month, Baltimore City Paper and Tennessee’s Knoxville Mercury (itself a replacement…

Here’s what happened the last time audio producers got better data

Podcasting is about to become more like radio. Nothing will change with the actual mechanics of podcasts — how they’re produced, how they’re distributed, or who listens. The change will come in what producers know about who listens, and when they stop listening. This fall, Apple will release new analytics for podcasts that will show…

Fake news bots are so economical, you can use them over and over

Changing your mind, but not your vote. People may change their minds after seeing fact checks, but in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign it didn’t change who they voted for — that’s the main finding from a new paper, “Taking corrections literally but not seriously? The effects of information on factual beliefs and candidate favorability,”…

“We reached the boundaries of automation faster than expected”

A new report out Wednesday from Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism looks at how automated journalism worked during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report is written by Andreas Graefe, who also spearheaded the Tow Center’s Guide to Automated Journalism in 2016. The project aimed to study the creation of automated news for forecasts…