Nieman Lab: The Daily Digest

Spotify is gaining a podcast audience quickly. But it is an audience that isn’t as interested in news?

Data from Germany finds that Apple Podcasts users devote about 23 percent of their podcast listening to news shows — versus just 8 percent for Spotify users. By Joshua Benton.

Feeling panicked about coronavirus? Media coverage of new epidemics often stokes unnecessary fear

For journalists, it’s worth remaining alert to the dangers of spreading fear — a highly contagious emotion — in the face of uncertainty. By Karin Wahl-Jorgensen.
What We’re Reading
Thinknum / Joshua Fruhlinger
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential run has already scored Bloomberg News 70,000 new Facebook followers →
“This is the largest jump in followers the Bloomberg News page has seen in such a short time.”
The Markup
After last year’s turmoil, The Markup is set to launch February 25 →
“Staffed with an unparalleled staff of quantitative journalists and programmers…distinguished by its rigorous methods, fact-checking and transparency.”
These are the winners of the new Sigma Awards, honoring the best data journalism →
Best news application: “HOT DISINFO FROM RUSSIA,” from Other winners include The New York Times, the AP, the Netherlands’ Pointer (KRO-NCRV), France’s DISCLOSE, Mexico’s El Universal and PODER, Peru’s OjoPúblico, and the global collaboration behind The Troika Laundromat.
Axios / Sara Fischer
The news industry wants to open tech companies (but not itself!) up to huge legal liability →
The News Media Alliance says “policymakers should limit the safe harbor exemption within the law that protects tech platforms from being sued for the content that other people post on its site.” That law, CDA 230, also protects news sites from being sued for nefarious behavior in their comments sections. But ah, you see, the feds “should start by limiting the exemption for just the very largest companies who…have the greatest capacities to take legal responsibility for their commercial decisions.”
Vice / Laura Wagner
Did Twitter help Vox Media steal a Clippers Twitter account from a sports blogger? →
“On Friday, Feb. 14, a senior executive from Vox Media managed to break into a sports blogger’s Twitter account and change the login credentials, effectively stealing it — and its nearly 10,000 followers — from the 23-year-old sports blogger who created the account and was primarily responsible for growing its following.”
The Guardian / Victor Pickard
“Maintaining public media infrastructure should be non-negotiable for a democratic society” →
“Little evidence suggests that any new market-driven model can rescue newspapers or sustain the journalism that democracy requires. For many areas across the US, there’s simply no commercial option. The market has failed us. With market failure, journalism’s survival requires public options.”
The Hill
The Hill’s review of John Solomon’s stories on Ukraine is up →
“Solomon did not report to a specific management official in the newsroom, which was an unusual personnel situation at The Hill…In certain columns, Solomon failed to identify important details about key Ukrainian sources, including the fact that they had been indicted or were under investigation. In other cases, the sources were his own attorneys.”
Vox Media
John Legend now has a VEGOT: Vox Media board member, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony →
“He brings a unique and important perspective to our company, at a time when Vox Media is expanding in many new directions.”
The New York Times / Alexandra Stevenson
China’s pressure on foreign news media intensifies as three Wall Street Journal reporters are expelled over a headline →
“At a daily news briefing on Wednesday, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the reporters’ credentials would be revoked in retaliation for a headline on an essay that ran in The Journal’s editorial pages earlier this month. The headline read, ‘China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia.'”
Harvard Gazette
Marty Baron will be the main speaker at Harvard’s commencement →
“His distinguished career bespeaks a deep commitment to the pursuit of truth and to the vital role of a free press in a democratic society. We look forward to welcoming him here on Commencement Day.”
WSJ / Lukas I. Alpert and Tarini Parti
Michael Bloomberg says he’ll sell Bloomberg LP if elected president →
Analysts say the financial data and media company could sell for as much as $60 billion if Mr. Bloomberg were elected.
Palm Beach News Guild
The newsrooms of the Palm Beach Post and Daily News are unionizing →
The papers were owned by Cox for decades, but were sold to GateHouse in 2018 (which became Gannett in 2019). “We understand Palm Beach County better than the out-of-state corporate owners, however well-intentioned, who bought our newspapers two years ago. “