calcinations (calcinations) wrote,

On the ongoing death of journalism

There's an American company called Tribune that produces newspapers, such as the Chicago tribune and the LA times.
It seems to be in a bit of trouble, so it's owners/ managers have decided to rebrand and move into online stuff in a big way.

The new name is Tronc, short for Tribune Content Online.

I'm sure most of you are starting to have flashbacks to various 1980's films.

The Guardian, which is way ahead of Tronc in online stuff, reports here:

In a press release, the company said that tronc Inc would be “a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels”.

The name, according to the release, is a shortening of Tribune Online Content.

“tronc pools the company’s leading media brands and leverages innovative technology to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to its 60m monthly users,” the release continued, using the lower-case t despite the word coming at the beginning of the sentence.

The release also announced the launch of “troncX”, an “online curation and monetization engine” which utilizes artificial intelligence technology “to accelerate digital growth”.

Note how management speak is probably content rich within the highly constrained levels of upper management, but ridiculous outside them.
Anyway, the point I'm heading towards, is best summed up by a commenter here, whose user name also suggests they are a child of the 80's:


There’s no version of using machine learning in journalism that still qualifies as journalism. If you are tailoring your news to each individual user based on what you think they already want to see, you’re effectively engaging in self-censorship. Hey, this user never clicks on links about police brutality? Might as well not tell them about it anymore. That user has never read an article about misogyny or transphobia? Let’s not risk showing it to them. A happy user = reliable CPMs! Happy users mean happy tronc!

Seriously. This is what happens when you stop thinking of what you do as telling the news, and start thinking of it as "generating content".

You know those dystopias in 80's films? They are here, right now.
Tags: politics
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