Posts tagged with "press"

Laura Basset is the co-founder of the Save Journalism Project

Laura Bassett QxA

Laura Bassett is co-founder of the Save Journalism Project. She was formerly a senior culture and politics reporter at HuffPost before being laid off in 2019. She currently writes for GQ Magazine, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, the Daily Beast, and other publications. Along with John Stanton, she began the Save Journalism project after losing her job, when she became interested in why so many great news publishers were beginning to go under and having to lay off staff.

  1. How did you first get interested in journalism and politics and have these always been passions of yours?

I’ve always had a passion for writing, but wasn’t sure what direction it would take. I was in a graduate program for English Literature in 2008, thinking I wanted to go on and do a Ph.D. when Obama first ran for president. I became kind of obsessed with the election and started blogging on the side, and then I realized I enjoyed doing my politics blog a lot more than I enjoyed sitting in a library writing research papers that only one or two people would read. So I applied for a reporting internship at HuffPost, and the rest is history!

  1. Which are some of the biggest issues with modern journalism and how have they coincided with your career so far?

I think there are three big ones: Lack of diversity in newsrooms, the question of what objectivity in political journalism means in the age of Trump, and the financial/existential crisis facing the industry as a result of the digital age and big tech’s monopoly on ad revenue. The last one affected me the most directly, as I was laid off in 2019 after ten years at HuffPost. The site just wasn’t generating enough profits, having to compete with tech giants like Google and Facebook for ad money, and I lost my job along with scores of other journalists. I never expected to be freelancing for the first time, involuntarily, in the middle of my career, but it has proven to be a great exercise for my writing.

  1. What have been the most valuable skills/pieces of knowledge that you have learned from working at HuffPost?

I never went to journalism school, so most of what I know about reporting I learned at HuffPost. I learned how to write a compelling lede and nut graf, how to draw interesting things out people in interviews, how to show both sides of an issue without necessarily drawing a moral equivalence between them. I learned how to build source relationships and hustle for scoops. And I developed a deeper knowledge of politics and my particular beat, which for a long time was women’s rights issues. I learned how to own up to mistakes immediately and correct them in a transparent way, how to accept constructive criticism, and how to tune out the internet trolls and harassment. All the basics!

  1. What motivated you to co-found the Save Journalism Project and what made it special as an initial idea?

John Stanton, formerly of BuzzFeed, and I were laid off the same week in January of 2019. It was very unexpected for both of us: He was the Washington Bureau chief at the time, and I was a senior politics reporter. There seemed to be very little rhyme or reason to who was laid off that year; news outlets were forced to cut hundreds of staffers and had to make some really tough decisions. At the same time, local newspapers like the New Orleans Times-Picayune were going under entirely. We could see that our whole industry was facing a potentially fatal financial crisis, and we felt like if we didn’t fight for it ourselves, we didn’t know who would. So this project was born.

  1. How can you and your teamwork with or against big tech companies to improve the integrity of news?

Big tech companies are the financial competitors to news publishers, and it isn’t a fair fight right now. They gobble up about two-thirds of the digital ad market, leaving very little money for the actual content creators and publishers from which they also profit. Right now, we are looking to Congress and federal and state antitrust regulators to conduct antitrust investigations into the big four– Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon–and hoping that when they see the devastating impact those companies are having on newspapers, they will break them up and/or regulate them and create a more even playing field.

  1. In the era of fake news and heavy media bias, how can technology be used for the greater good in terms of addressing populations?

“Fake news” is a term the president has thrown at real news outlets because he doesn’t like their coverage of him. By and large, the news stories he calls “fake” are true and factual. But the internet does have an actual fake news problem, which is the disinformation that fringe activists and bad actors spread online, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. I think social media platforms have a massive responsibility to closely monitor and regulate the false propaganda raging through their sites, especially close to election time.

  1. In your opinion, how do you see the future of journalism and how can the Save Journalism Project be a part of this future?

I don’t know what I see for the future of journalism because, especially since COVID, we are on an extremely troubling trajectory. What I hope to see in the future of journalism is a sustainable business model– one in which people are happy to pay for news, and one in which news publishers and magazines don’t have to compete with Google in a David and Goliath-type situation for ad money to survive. And ideally, newsrooms can stop firing and start re-hiring again, because so much talent has been lost in the past few years.

  1. Why is it so important that our country defends the freedom of the press and how can this freedom lead to a more functional democracy?

We’re at the nexus of several historic national crises at the moment, including a deadly pandemic, so journalism–especially local journalism–has never been more important to get life-saving information across to the people and to hold powerful people and institutions to account. At the same time, we have a president attacking the press and encouraging violence against us, along with these devastating financial issues. Without a robust and thriving free press, no one is there to uncover corruption and expose the lies of politicians and inform the electorate and just, basically, keep people aware of what’s happening in their communities and the world at large. That in itself is a massive threat to democracy.

  1. What kinds of opportunities do you have for people who may want to get more involved with the Save Journalism Project?

Please contact us! We’re looking for help raising money, we’re funding freelance stories on local news deserts, and we can always use the voices of other journalists who would like to fight with us to save this industry.

  1. Do you have any clear goals or visions for expanding this Project’s influence, and if so, what are they?

Our primary focus and objective are on policymakers. We aim to get U.S. lawmakers and regulators to address the exploitation of the online marketplace by Google and Facebook which gives them an unfair advantage in the competition for digital advertising revenue. Antitrust regulators in Australia and the U.K. have begun to take these kinds of steps that are necessary and we are encouraged that their American counterparts appear to be on the verge of similar actions.

It is only after the distortions of the marketplace have been addressed that we can rebuild a sustainable business model for journalism in the digital age, particularly local news. Given our focus on policymakers, we are more supporters rather than drivers of changes in the industry. We do not favor any specific model for what kind of journalism industry emerges from these multiple ongoing crises, only that we believe it must include a viable method for news outlets to monetize their content through advertising.

360 Magazine, Muller

Mae Muller – Video

MAE MULLER RELEASES “I DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY” (ACOUSTIC) AND ACCOMPANYING VIDEO TODAY WATCH/LISTEN HERE COMBINED GLOBAL STREAMS OF MULLER’S SONGS SURPASS 67 MILLION 

“Unapologetic, self-assured and fiercely independent, Mae Muller is the next big British sensation.” – PAPER

Today Mae Muller shares ‘I Don’t Want Your Money (Acoustic)’ and its accompanying video. Self-shot in isolation, the dreamlike visual plays out the lyrics to the track displayed as Mae’s thoughts, while Jimmy Napes accompanies her on the guitar. Watch the video, which premiered today on YouTube, HERE. The original single, co-written by Muller and produced by Jimmy Napes, (Sam Smith, Khalid, Alicia Keys) showcases Muller’s stripped back vocals, sharply juxtaposed with her fierce lyrics- a distinct reminder of her status as an independent young woman.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the track she explains, “I wrote ‘I Don’t Want Your Money’ just under 2 years ago now, and I’m so happy it’s finally out! I just wanted to show that there are other ways to be treated, rather than just materialistically, especially if you make your own money! I’m financially independent so you have to find other ways to impress me, I don’t need anything else apart from love and affection. Treat me with respect and we’re GOOD.” Hailed as “a clear pop sensation in the making” by Wonderland and the “new queen” by NYLON, Muller’s music pairs self-assured lyrics with strong narratives and entwined soulful pop melodies – a style that is quickly cementing the young London-based artist as a spokeswoman of her generation.

“I know what I want to say, and I know what the message is that I want to get across,” says Muller. “I want women and young girls going through hard shit to put on my songs and feel better. We’re going through this together.” Released last month, the official “I Don’t Want Your Money” video was self-shot by Muller on her iPhone at home and directed remotely by Sophie Muller (No Doubt, Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Beyoncé). Watch it HERE. Combined global streams of Muller’s song are approaching 70 million.

“I Don’t Want Your Money” comes on the heels of her early 2020 single, “Therapist,” which landed on over 45 Spotify playlists as well as Apple Music’s A-List Pop, In My Room, Future Hits and more.

WHAT THE PRESS HAS TO SAY ABOUT MAE MULLER… 

“London singer Mae Muller rules.” – The FADER

“Mae Muller’s witty and brutally honest lyrics set her apart from her peers…” – GQ   

“Sound the horns because a new queen is here.” – NYLON

“A clear pop sensation in the making…” – Wonderland

“Expect an abundance of attitude…” – TheGuardian

Photo Credit: Rosaline Shahnavaz 

Download hi-res photo HERE 

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coffee, mug, plate, cocoa, green, white, brown, 360 Magazine, illustration

Tech x Press Freedom

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee urged a federal court on Friday to deny the Trump administration’s request for an emergency order that would block the publication and distribution of a highly anticipated memoir written by former National Security Adviser John Bolton. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Reporters Committee argued that the requested injunction amounts to an unconstitutional prior restraint. “Such an extraordinarily broad injunction would be a clear prior restraint that violates long-settled constitutional law,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “The court must reject this effort to censor the free flow of information to the public about government activities.”

In addition to Trump’s response to Bolton’s published memoir, several journalists were targeted in a large-scale hacking operation. After a journalist contacted The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto in 2017 about a suspicious phishing attempt, researchers recently uncovered a huge hack-for-hire operation, dubbed “Dark Basin,” that targeted thousands of people in journalism, business, banking, law, and especially the nonprofit sector.

Researchers linked Dark Basin to BellTroX InfoTech Services, an Indian tech firm owned by Sumit Gupta. Gupta, who in 2015 was indicted on federal hacking charges in California, denied the allegations in an interview with Reuters.

Dark Basin targeted a range of organizations and, in several cases, the journalists connected to them. For example, hackers attempted to infiltrate American environmental advocacy groups, including the Rockefeller Family Fund, Greenpeace, and 350.org, as well as “multiple major US media outlets” who covered the groups’ work on the #ExxonKnew climate change campaign. The hackers also targeted Free Press and Fight for the Future, organizations that advocate for open internet policies.

Despite the danger, a recent report by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism found that many journalists are not particularly careful with their digital security. In newsrooms short on time and money, digital security may seem like an unnecessary burden, and some journalists believe as long as they are not covering “sensitive” topics they will not be targeted. Often newsrooms that adopt security protocols do so informally, with some journalists becoming trainers for others.

Week in Tech + Press Freedom

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 115 media and press freedom organizations sent a letter last week to officials in Minnesota, demanding that law enforcement officers immediately stop attacks against credentialed, clearly identifiable journalists covering nationwide protests in response to a white Minneapolis police officer killing George Floyd, a Black man, on May 25. The Reporters Committee also sent a letter to officials in New York, and will be contacting officials in other states in the coming days.

The Reporters Committee is also tracking curfew orders imposed by cities, counties and states in response to the protests — and whether they include exemptions for members of the news media.

Here’s what the staff of the Technology and Press Freedom Project at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is tracking this week.

Two developments this week point to the potential use of technology to automate how government documents are processed internally and in response to public records requests. As access to government records are a mainstay of a journalist’s toolbox, how these advances play out will be critical to the profession.

At the federal level, the Public Interest Declassification Board issued recommendations largely focused around transitioning the classification system from the “analog age” to digital. The report was decidedly pro-transparency; it opens by acknowledging the “bipartisan recognition that the Government classifies too much information for too long.” Specific goals include implementing “Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Cloud storage and retrieval” to automate classification and declassification decisions and potentially streamlining the classification categories by adopting a two-tiered system.

A California Supreme Court judge, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, commented on similar technological improvements in the context of public records requests. The case, National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward, involved a public records request that included police body camera footage with audio and visual material exempt from disclosure.

The court ruled that the requesters would not have to pay a fee for redactions from electronic records under the California public records law. (The Reporters Committee filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the NLG, which had submitted the public records request.) Cuéllar wrote separately from the majority, noting that implementation of artificial intelligence or other advanced software to collect and redact records en masse will “merit nuanced application of statutory provisions.” He suggested that because a better, more efficient records system might be more expensive, it would at times be “prudent” to interpret the law such that certain requests will fall under the fee-bearing provisions.

Enhanced technology in records systems has the potential to unlock far more records, permitting journalists, in particular, to obtain and disseminate that information to the public. And as technological advances are applied to the management of government records, courts and legislators should be wary of undermining government transparency by overburdening the individuals and organizations — particularly in media — who function as critical watchdogs.

The Center for Democracy and Technology on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against President Trump in his official capacity, arguing that the recently signed “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” violates the First Amendment. The organization notes that the order is “plainly retaliatory” against Twitter, and that it “seeks to curtail and chill the constitutionally protected speech of all online platforms and individuals — by demonstrating the willingness to use government authority to retaliate against those who criticize the government.” On May 28, the Reporters Committee issued a statement raising constitutional concerns about the executive order.

On Tuesday, the Reporters Committee joined a friend-of-the-court brief, drafted by the Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic, in Everytown for Gun Safety v. ATF. The Second Circuit case arose out of a Freedom of Information Act request Everytown made for records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regarding firearms recovered from the scenes of suicides. ATF denied the request, claiming that retrieval of aggregate data from a database requires the creation of a new record. The amicus brief argues that there is no legal distinction between searching data in a database and retrieving aggregate data. Privacy and civil liberties advocates are raising concerns about government efforts to conduct surveillance on protesters using facial recognition software, license plate readers, body cameras, drones, and other tools. Additionally, BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday that the Justice Department signed off on new authority for the Drug Enforcement Administration to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on protesters, which some note could require the use of “stingray” devices that simulate cell sites.

On Monday, the FBI announced on Twitter that it is soliciting information, photos, and videos that show violent encounters during demonstrations. In a press release, the FBI stated that it was collecting this information as part of what it dubbed a commitment “to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests.”

Tech’s Impact on Journalism

In the epicenter of big tech, Representative Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) joined Audrey Cooper, the Executive Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, CEO of CalMatters and the former Executive Editor of Bay Area News Group Neil Chase, and Save Journalism Project co-founders Laura Bassett, a laid-off HuffPost reporter, and John Stanton, laid-off former D.C. bureau chief of BuzzFeed, to shine a light on the plight of local news and a key culprit: big tech.   

n the first quarter of 2019, the media has shed more than 2,400 jobs – including East Bay Express staffers – and, over the past 10 years, newsrooms have declined in size by 45%. The plight of the journalism industry has generated bipartisan congressional action, a rather unique occurrence in this polarized political climate. And while the journalism industry faces many challenges, the focus of Congress’ current action is to halt big tech’s negative impact on the economic sustainability of the free press. Wednesday’s speakers will address this unusual bipartisan action and the widespread consequences of the loss of local news.

According to Representative Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), “Not that long ago, the Bay Area was home to over 1,500 journalists, but now there are less than 300 serving roughly 7 million people. This problem is not unique to our community—it is happening in every corner of the country, and we need to act. During a time when fact and accountability are under constant attack, today’s conversation about ways to preserve and protect local news and high-quality journalism is critical to the health of our democracy.”

According to Neil Chase, CEO of CalMatters and the former Executive Editor of Bay Area News Group, “I’m glad we had such a deep, meaningful conversation about the challenges facing journalism today, right here in downtown San Francisco. If we can’t solve it here, we can’t hope to help the places across America that don’t have the technology and financial resources that are available in a place like this.”

According to Laura Bassett, laid-off HuffPost senior politics reporter and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, “As our country grapples with natural disasters, political turmoil, violence, and everyday life, Americans rely on journalists and the news industry to explain and break through the chaos. But, for that process to survive, we need well-staffed newsrooms and a blossoming industry. Instead, big tech is decimating journalism. Facebook, Google, and big tech have consumed the digital landscape and continue to threaten local and national journalism. We need our elected officials to weigh in, to reign in big tech, and to save the journalism industry, before this goes any further.”

And, according to John Stanton, laid-off former D.C. bureau chief of BuzzFeed and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, “The irony of all ironies, we live streamed today’s event on Facebook to ensure it reached the largest audience. The mere fact that we had to rely on the conglomerate proves our point: Facebook and Google have too much power. Together, they control the landscape, the audience, and the content. I saw this first hand at BuzzFeed, when Facebook, without notice, changed its algorithm, resulting in huge viewership and financial losses for the company. As more and more local and national news outlets feel the death grip of big tech, we need Congress to step in and save journalism.”

 

Journalism in America is facing an existential threat from the monopolistic control of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Big tech’s dominance over the digital advertising market and their unrivaled capacity to monetize its platforms are having drastic effects on journalism as a whole.

John Stanton Statement Regarding Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald and ReWire News Layoffs and Buyouts

American newsrooms continue to be decimated by big tech with the news that buyouts and layoffs are coming to Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald and ReWire News publications.

In a move that surprised its staffers, executives from Newsday announced to its team Thursday that they would be offering voluntary buyouts. Additionally, the Vallejo Times-Herald’s news reporter, John Glidden tweeted the newspaper would be eliminating a news reporter position, leaving just him to cover a city of 120,000 people. And, according to a ReWire News union statement, ReWire News, once at the forefront of reproductive health and justice, just fired its remaining reporters. The journalists, who produced groundbreaking coverage on crisis pregnancy centers and Trump’s immigration policies, are now considered to not be vital to the publication or “mission critical.” As of now, these journalists are left without severance and are fighting for compensation for their work.

All this comes as newspapers large and small, far and wide have been forced to condense their staff, in a futile attempt to fight an unbalanced war against their biggest competitor: big tech.

John Stanton, former DC bureau chief for Buzzfeed who was laid off in January and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, stated: 

I stand with my colleagues at Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald and ReWire News and all those facing the consequences of lay-offs, buy-outs, and closures – a tale all too familiar for many in our world. The journalism industry and our country faced a huge loss this past week.

The free press is essential to our democracy, and, when big tech stifles this access, our democracy is diminished. But tech companies won’t stop here. Their thirst for money will only continue to drive newspapers like Newsday, Vallejo Times-Herald, and ReWire News to extinction.

Journalism in America is facing an existential threat from the monopolistic control of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Big tech’s dominance over the digital advertising market and their unrivaled capacity to monetize its platforms are having drastic effects on journalism as a whole.

How Big Tech Is Destroying Our Press

Ahead of today’s House Judiciary Hearing, the Save Journalism Project held a press call with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11); journalists Laura Bassett, laid off by HuffPost; and John Stanton, laid off by BuzzFeed; and Neil Chase, CEO of CalMatters and former executive editor of The Mercury News and East Bay Times.

The monopolistic power of big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple is destroying the economic model of the entire journalism industry, whether its traditional circulation newspapers or digital news outlet.

 This week’s hearing on how digital platforms affect news organizations marks the much-needed return of congressional antitrust scrutiny to big tech companies, which have gained a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content. 

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) said, “I don’t think there’s anything more important right now than this issue. Being from the Bay Area, I have been to every big tech company. After meeting with them, I think it’s time to make it easier for licensing like the music and movie industries have done. We are members of Congress, you are journalists, and we have to keep an appropriate Constitutional distance, but there are policy proposals in our legislation that protect the freedom of the press and are necessary to keep the industry alive. When I was first elected to the Concord City Council there was a reporter who was consistently in the front row keeping officials accountable. His presence made local government work, and it is vital that we protect the journalism industry to make sure leaders are kept accountable and communities are informed.”

Laura Bassett, a reporter who was laid off by HuffPost, commented, “In the first few months of 2019, I was one of about 2,400 journalists and media staffers who lost our jobs. Even though I was aware the cuts were coming, it was still shocking to be laid off after nearly a decade in my newsroom. The reason for the mass layoffs, I found out, was that Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook are dominating the digital ad market, swallowing about 60 percent of all revenue and making it difficult for journalism to survive. News publishers are being forced to give a cut of their ad revenue to these companies- revenue that would otherwise go to hiring journalists. Because a well-funded news media is vital to a healthy democracy, the public needs to be aware of Big Tech’s death grip on publishers. At the House Judiciary Hearing today, lawmakers in Congress need to address this bipartisan issue and find legislative solutions that regulate tech giants and restore fairness to the digital ad market. Journalists are taught not to be the story, but as Big Tech’s digital ad monopoly benefits off of our revenue streams, it’s incumbent upon us to fight for the future of our industry. One or two companies should not have the power to cripple the free press.”

“After 20 years of covering Congress and the White House for BuzzFeed, I found out layoffs were coming in a tweet from the Wall Street Journal,” said John Stanton, former Buzzfeed Washington Bureau Chief before being laid off. “Despite the great work my colleagues and I were doing for the publication, there simply wasn’t enough money. Because stories that lead to changes in state and federal law, jailing of criminals and exposing wrongdoing — cost money. Money that is increasingly gobbled up by Google and Facebook. To try to survive, slashes had to be made. To entire desks. The reason advertising revenue has fallen so steeply is that Google and Facebook dominate the digital ad market, consuming more than 60 percent of all revenue. And their share is growing, because they devour nine out of every ten new dollars that are spent on digital advertising. Big Tech’s monopoly has a death grip on publishers. Congress needs to be discussing how to regulate this imbalance and restore competitive fairness in the digital market.”

Neil Chase, CEO of CalMatters and former executive editor of The Mercury News and East Bay Times, added, “We all believe journalism is central to democracy. Newspapers have experienced a decline not in the past five years, not in the past ten or fifteen years, but in the past seventy-five years. Newspapers have been declining since World War II. The problem is that we are essentially sitting on a 200 year-old product, but are trying to compete with new and changing technologies. Newspapers have maintained a monopoly for over 200 years. This is how people historically gained all their information; how they found where to buy clothing, where to buy their groceries, and where they got their news. With the change in how society works, all we have is the news. In order to solve this problem, we need a multi-pronged approach. We need to engage in philanthropy, which my company is already focused on this aspect. We need newspapers with benevolent leaders, not the leaders that we have at some major news organizations now. We need support from legislators. And, we need people paying for the news. We need a lot of support from a lot of different places in order to make this work.”

Save Journalism Project Launches To Protect Our Press From Big Tech

BuzzFeed Reports on Recently Laid Off Journalists Serving  As Spox For New Campaign To Save Journalism From Monopolistic Power of Big Tech Companies

Today, BuzzFeed reports on the Save Journalism Project that’s launching to raise awareness and engagement about the critical need to save journalism as it faces an existential threat—the monopolistic power of big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple destroying the economic model of the entire journalism industry, whether its traditional circulation newspapers or digital news outlets. At the same time, Google and Facebook have made acquisition after acquisition, gaining a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content. Just now are Facebook, Google, and other tech giants facing federal government and Congressional antitrust scrutiny.

Two recently laid off reporters will serve as spokespeople for the Save Journalism Project, Laura Bassett  and John StantonLearn More and Join the Fight at SaveJournalism.org and@SaveTheNews.

BuzzFeed: These Reporters Lost Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back Against Big Tech.

“John Stanton and Laura Bassett are warning about what they believe the tech industry is doing to journalism, as thousands have lost their jobs this year alone.

By Rosie Gray”

Two prominent reporters who were recently laid off from digital media outlets are forming a new advocacy group formed to raise awareness about big tech’s impact on the journalism industry.

John Stanton, a longtime congressional correspondent and former BuzzFeed News Washington bureau chief, and Laura Bassett, a former culture and political reporter for nearly 10 years at the Huffington Post, have teamed up to launch a new initiative called the Save Journalism Project. The two have first-hand experience with the troubled state of the news industry: Stanton was laid off from BuzzFeed News during a round of layoffs that affected 200 people company-wide this winter and spurred a unionization drive among the news staff. Bassett lost her job in similar fashion in January after Huffington Post laid off 20 employees as part of larger cuts at its parent company, Verizon Media.

This year has been one of the worst in recent memory for journalism jobs. Across the industry, thousands have lost their jobs: from BuzzFeed News, Vice, CNN, and others across the country at local publications. Media organizations have been imperiled by crashing advertising revenues as Facebook and Google vacuum up available ad dollars.

Their new project will be set up as a nonprofit, according to Eddie Vale, a Democratic consultant whose firm is providing the man-power to launch the effort. Vale pitched Bassett on the idea, and the two of them brought in Stanton. Vale said initial funding had been secured from “someone who doesn’t want to be public so Google and Facebook don’t go after them,” and the group plans to continue to fundraise. So far, the pair have co-authored testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighting the tech giants’ impact on the news industry — “since being laid off, we’ve made it our mission to understand how the digital marketplace works and how Big Tech is killing the journalism industry,” they wrote — flown a plane above Google’s I/O conference, and authored op-eds.

A key part of their goal is to get journalists, who aren’t known for showing a keen interest in the business side of their publications or for engaging in advocacy themselves, to take an active role in defending the future of their jobs. In an interview, Stanton said they were “trying to educate the public and members of Congress and also start encouraging our colleagues to speak up.”

“Reporters are not generally super interested in speaking about their own problems and about things that affect them directly because they feel like it becomes a conflict of interest, and in certain ways that’s true,” Stanton said. “But when the future of the free press is being pretty seriously endangered by something, I think it’s incumbent upon us to stand up for ourselves.”

Like many reporters, Bassett said she had “never really had to pay attention to the financial side of journalism.”

But “after getting laid off, I started to become really interested in why all of these amazing news publishers were sort of going under, having to lay off staff, why we were losing local newspapers. It’s a tragedy, it’s really bad for democracy.”

Their effort comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the tech industry on the part of the federal government as well as Congress as public concern mounts over repeated privacy scandals, technology companies’ role in spreading misinformation, and their dominance over certain industries. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission reportedly made a deal to divide potential antitrust investigations between them; Apple and Google will fall under the purview of the DOJ, while the FTC took Facebook and Amazon. The House Judiciary Committee announced it would “conduct a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms.”

The Save Journalism Project’s founders are hoping to steer the public conversation around the negative effects of Big Tech towards its impact on journalism.

Stanton, who lives in New Orleans, mentioned examples like that city’s local paper, the Times-Picayune, which laid off its entire staff last month. Around the country, Stanton said, “local reporters are so overtaxed. They’re doing as good a job as they can but there’s not enough of them.”

At the moment, Stanton and Bassett are more focused on warning the public and the industry about the issue than on proposing solutions.

“I do think that everyone is starting to see a need to break up and regulate these companies or something along those lines,” Bassett said. “And with regards to how they’re going to make journalism viable again, I don’t frankly know…I think right now we’re starting with just getting this conversation out into the public and making people aware of exactly what’s going on. I do hope at some point we graduate into saying, ‘here’s a list of policy proposals, here’s exactly what needs to happen.'”

Stanton and Bassett plan to interview elected officials, candidates and colleagues in the media about the industry’s crisis, and started with conducting on-camera interviews with Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Ruben Gallego. They plan to circulate a letter with which media companies can sign on to their cause. And their first official event will be at the annual Congressional Baseball Game, where they plan to distribute a physical newspaper laying out the problems on their agenda.

“The DC press corps is a really powerful constituency within our industry,” Stanton said. “If we can get our colleagues [there] to start talking about this it will help more broadly.”

Kamala Harris, Here’s A Taste of Your Own Medicine

By M. Marie Brown

Another snake slithers out of the swamp. If you wanted an antidote to Mr. Trump, this creature is not it. Please, someone over the age of 35 with ethics, step up!

In the meantime, in the interest of determining fitness for the job and as you say, “the American public deserves to know the character of someone who will serve” in an important federal office. We will follow the lead of your heraldedblunt” style that includes proudly publically reeling off George Carlin’s Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” with the favorite being mother*****.

Let the questions begin!

1. Are you aware of the perception in certain communities that you got ahead by having sex with a married man twice your age?

It was a wide open secret that you were corrupt San Francisco politician Willie Brown’s “new steady” despite the fact that state assembly “Speaker for Life,” the “Ayatollah of the Assembly” was married, 60 (to your 29 years). What kind of person comes out publicly as his date at his 60th birthday party, despite his wife of 36 years being in attendance? Do you believe having your paramour’s wife discuss your affair with her husband would “offer a clearer picture into who you really are”? “Listen, she [Harris] may have him at the moment, but come inauguration day and he’s up there on the platform being sworn in, I’ll be the b***h holding the Bible.”

Just for the record, Brown appointed Harris—a young deputy district attorney in Alameda County—to high-profile, lucrative patronage positions on the state’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (at $97,088 annually for two meetings a month) and the California Medical Assistance Commission netting her more than $400,000 between 1994 and 1999. And a shiny new BMW!

2. Are you aware of the perception by many political observers that your narrow win in the race for California Attorney General was, shall we say, questionable? Despite registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans statewide by thirteen percent, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley (endorsed by the Sacramento Bee, the state capitol’s newspaper) led you by 34,000 votes after more than 7 million were counted. Some observers believe there is “reliable information” that you spoke with someone in Sacramento and magically enough provisional ballot votes for you to eke out at 0.2 percent win appeared? Wait. “I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us.” “Be sure about your answer, ma’am.”

3. Are you aware of the perception by some that you were either a poor manager of the San Francisco DA’s office or amazingly willfully ignorant? We can take the word of a judge’s 26-page ruling that found that while San Francisco DA you violated defendants’ rights by hiding damaging information about a police drug lab technician suspected of stealing portions of cocaine samples that later led the San Francisco police to shut down an entire section of the lab.

One wonders about your honesty when asked about your knowledge of a top aide of yours for 14 years made a $400,000 gender harassment settlement: “I did not.” “Nope.” You never answered whether you believe the accuser since you had “not talked to her directly.” Her name was not Christine Ford, thus not to be believed unconditionally.

4. In a “search for the truth” would it be beneficial to hear the testimony of former San Francisco DA and State Justice Department employees who are undoubtedly credible and honest because they have nothing to gain? These deputies attorney general don’t see you as particularly committed to the work of the office. You were rarely sighted in Sacramento, where much of the Department of Justice is located. You spent much of your time in Los Angeles and San Francisco running for higher office.

5. If you are “For the people”, why would consumer advocates say, “She has no presence.” “She has no involvement. She has no leadership. You have no sense of her being out there on the front saying we’re charging forward to do what’s right.” Or those who think you are soft on public corruption because it might cause “friction” with fellow Democratic politicians or that you avoided privacy issues for fear of losing Silicon Valley support.

6. Were you aware that some people have the perception that you are a partisan tyrant who does not follow the will of the people? Like when without explanation, you did not enforce a citizen initiative passed by 70 percent of voters barring paroled sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and parks. And by assigning “egregiously unfair” descriptions to voter-sponsored citizen-driven initiatives that cast them in a bad light when they run counter to certain Democratic special interests. Propositions from pension reform to limiting tax increases that the people will never see because the sponsors withdrew them after you deceptively entitled them. Or that you demanded that conservative-leaning nonprofits file with your office unredacted donor lists—confidential information typically submitted only to the Internal Revenue Service—exposing supporters of such groups to the risk of disclosure and retaliation. Remember, as the ACLU said, the first target is rarely the last.

7. Surely, being fearless, you wouldn’t avoid the press. We know giving a straight answer regarding sanctuary cities is tough: “To be honest with you, San Francisco’s policy has changed in the last few years; I haven’t looked at the details, so I can’t comment on it. On the infamous illegal immigrant killer of Kate Steinle: “My reluctance to answer these questions [about Kate Steinle’s infamous killer]…is that I don’t actually know what happened…you’re talking about important details…and I don’t have any knowledge about what actually occurred.”

8. Were you aware that some people in the blogosphere have this perception about you? No dignity. No self-respect. Just naked ambition. She is vulgar, unprofessional, deceitful, two-faced, ambitious to the extreme. I pray to God that I never stoop to this level to either: A.) keep a man or B.) get power/money.

It was good of you to leave the posh Los Angeles Brentwood neighborhood where the median price of a home is $3,136,500 and has a black population of 1.7 percent and pose as an Obama wannabe by giving your big speech your “birthplace” Oakland although most of your youth was spent in Canada.

So we have a potty-mouthed incompetent phony who learned tricks at the knee of a California politician who is famous for being corrupt. If she were a white male she would be vilified. Sadly, in today’s world of check the right identity politics box, her greatest attribute is that she is an ethnic female.

But to this ethnic female, she is a total disgrace – not what our young women should aspire to.

*The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s.

Roseanne Cancelled

The ABC hit comedy “Roseanne” was cancelled this afternoon after the star, Roseanne Barr, tweeted out a racist comment. The network decided that there was no way to have the main character on the show after the tweet hit the media, but the show wouldn’t be “Roseanne” without Roseanne Barr herself. To read more on the Roseanne scandal click CNN Roseanne.