Ars Technica: Researchers discover “Fishwrap” influence campaign recycling old terror news. “Researchers at Recorded Future have uncovered what appears to be a new, growing social media-based influence operation involving more than 215 social media accounts. While relatively small in comparison to influence and disinformation operations run by the Russia-affiliated Internet Research Agency (IRA), the campaign is notable because of its systematic method of recycling images and reports from past terrorist attacks and other events and presenting them as breaking news—an approach that prompted researchers to call the campaign ‘Fishwrap.'”
TechCrunch: Spotify launches ‘Your Daily Drive,’ a personalized playlist that combines music and podcasts. “Recently, Spotify was spotted testing a new personalized playlist called ‘Your Daily Drive,’ which included both music and podcasts. Today, the company is officially launching this playlist in the U.S. in an effort to better cater to commuters who spend 70 billion collective hours behind the wheel, the company says. The playlist includes the music you already like along with other recommended tracks — the latter similar to its flagship playlist Discover Weekly — as well as podcast news updates from The Wall Street Journal, NPR and PRI (Public Radio International.)” I am super excited about this. Unfortunately it hasn’t turned up in my Spotify yet.
NiemanLab: The New York Times has a course to teach its reporters data skills, and now they’ve open-sourced it. “It’s unlikely a city hall reporter will ever have occasion to build an iPhone app in Swift, or construct a machine learning model on deadline. But there is definitely a more basic and straightforward set of technical skills — around data analysis — that can be of use to nearly anyone in a newsroom. It ain’t coding, but it’s also not a skillset every reporter has. The New York Times wants more of its journalists to have those basic data skills, and now it’s releasing the curriculum they’ve built in-house out into the world, where it can be of use to reporters, newsrooms, and lots of other people too.”
New York Intelligencer: Five Signs a Viral Story Is Fake. “The benefit to stories like these popping up so frequently is that they become easier to spot. Once you know the formula, it’s hard to read past a tweet or two before checking out, knowing full well what you’re reading is just fiction. And not particularly nuanced fiction at that. Here’s a checklist for what you should be keeping an eye out for.”
Tow Center for Digital Journalism: A Guide to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). “Every time we go online, we give up part of our identity. Sometimes, it comes in the form of an email used to make a Twitter account. Other times, it’s a phone number for two-factor authentication, or days’ and weeks’ worth of timestamps suggesting when a user is awake and asleep. Journalists can piece together clues like this and use them to tell stories which are of interest to the public. The following guide is written to provide a basic foundation not only for doing that work, but also for verifying the information, archiving findings, and interacting with hostile communities online.” If this dive was any deeper it’d be coming to you from the Mariana Trench. So much to explore here.
First Draft: Boolean basics: How to write a search query for newsgathering that works. “When searching for newsworthy content online, you’ve got to know exactly what you’re looking for and have the skills to find it. This is where Boolean search queries help. These strings of words allow you to cut through the usual social media chatter by upgrading a default search to a multifaceted, specific search to find more precise snippets of information.” The librarians out there — I see you, Mary Ellen and Joyce and Martha and all the rest of you! — might sneer at this article, but it seems to me like Boolean is being talked about less and less, and it’s still important. Good article covering the basics.
Poynter: How a fact-checker went from zero to 84,000 Instagram followers in 8 months. “Teyit’s Instagram presence looks like Vox and The Guardian had a baby. It’s beautiful. And that’s the point.”