Emily Bell: Social networks and journalists need to work together


As we’ve described here a number of times, one of the biggest disruptions in the media industry has been on the distribution end — the actual creation of journalism and other content has also changed, but even more important is the shift from media outlets controlling the channel (newspaper, magazine, TV network) to relying on outside platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google for distribution and attention.

That has brought with it a host of challenges, including ethical ones around how free speech and freedom of the press are handled by social networks that have no journalistic motivations or constraints whatsoever.

This is the landscape that Emily Bell, the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, recently tried to outline in a speech to journalists in Britain given in honor of Hugh Cudlipp, former chairman of the Daily Mirror newspaper group. In a nutshell, Bell —…

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