By BEN LYONS / Social media have helped us cocoon ourselves into comfortable ignorance of “the other side” — so goes the prevailing notion of the last few years, since Facebook has been king. A team of researchers at Facebook published an article Thursday that claimed to detail how much the site contributes to political echo chambers or filter-bubbles. Published in the journal Science, their report claimed Facebook’s blackbox newsfeed algorithm weeded out some disagreeable content from readers’ feeds, but not as much as did their personal behavior. A flurry of criticism came from other social scientists, with one, University of Michigan’s Christian Sandvig, calling it Facebook’s “it’s not our fault” study.
By GEORGE SALAMON / The headline on p. A1 of the June 16 New York Times read: “Population Shifts Turning All Politics National.” The story by Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin drew that conclusion from the results of two elections, the one in Virginia that cost Eric Cantor his position as majority leader in the House and one in Mississippi that could unseat another Republican leader, Senator Thad Cochran. The story proposed that “the axiom that ‘all politics is local’ is increasingly anachronistic.” But it’s just this axiom that inspired Dave Carr’s column on the same day.
It now is evident that Ukraine has been noted on the world’s map by a vast majority of Americans. From “somewhere near Russia,” it has moved to “between Russia and the European Union” – and this awareness happened thanks to coverage in all renowned national and local media in the United States and beyond. Since December, Ukraine’s political crisis has shown how some media play with information and how journalism is dependent on geopolitics.
A state senator has barred television coverage of his committee’s consideration of legislation criminalizing the enforcement of federal gun laws in Missouri.
If Joseph Pulitzer could return to Missouri’s state capital, he’d probably recognize a recent development that was familiar during his time: politicians publishing newspapers. At the beginning of this legislative session, Rod Jetton, a former House speaker, launched a startup weekly, the Missouri Times. The newspaper and its website promotion promised “a different kind of media outlet” that would become “Missouri’s newspaper of politics and culture.” The journal’s arrival represented a new phase in the evolution of Missouri government coverage.
Aaron S. Veenstra, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University, adds his perspective to a story written by William H. Freivogel titled “Election results show super PACs can’t buy Republican victories.”
True confession: Gateway Journalism Review’s staff is made up of political junkies with long traditions of monitoring election-evening results. Our own political media monitoring likely mirrors that of much of the American population. So, at the risk of being too introspective, here is how GJR staffers spent Tuesday evening.
In 2013 the women elected to office this week start their new terms. The year also will bring speculation on the fate of women and the Republican Party, as well as who might make a presidential run in 2016. Does the name Hillary Clinton sound familiar? In light of this, GJR is preparing an in-depth look at media coverage of women and politics for the Winter 2013 issue.