homeaboutarchives + tagsshopmembership!
aboutarchivesshopmembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

Apple on the “radical” use of humans to edit the news

posted by Chrysanthe Tenentes   Oct 25, 2018

This is an interesting look at how Apple News approaches curating their product, which reaches 90 million people. Unlike other algorithm-focused Silicon Valley giants, Apple uses human editors to surface news stories. They layer those hand-picked stories, some of which will get a million views each, with trending and topic-based stories via algorithm.

Apple (surprisingly) gave access to their News editor in chief, Lauren Kern, who weighs accuracy above speed.

Ms. Kern criticized the argument that algorithms are the sole way to avoid prejudice because bias can be baked into the algorithm’s code, such as whether it labels news organizations liberal or conservative. She argued that humans — with all their biases — are the only way to avoid bias.

“We’re so much more subtly following the news cycle and what’s important,” she said. “That’s really the only legitimate way to do it at this point.”

To further her point:

When Apple in June unveiled a special section on the midterm elections, it highlighted Fox News and Vox as partners. Apple said there are as many people reading traditionally left-leaning publications as traditionally right-leaning publications on Apple News.

The piece goes further into the business side and raises the question of whether Apple News can, as it aims, help save journalism. While newsrooms are seeing a bump in traffic from Apple News, significant now that Facebook has changed how their algorithm surfaces publishers, the question remains of whether such a closed platform will grow media revenues enough to make a difference.

There are hints of what is to come:

There are ambitious plans for the product. Apple lets publishers run ads in its app and it helps some sign up new subscribers, taking a 30 percent cut of the revenue. Soon, the company aims to bundle access to dozens of magazines in its app for a flat monthly fee, sort of like Netflix for news, according to people familiar with the plans, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Apple also hopes to package access to a few daily-news publications, like The Times, The Post and The Wall Street Journal, into the app, the people said.

Perhaps this is all related to the press event Apple is hosting in Brooklyn next week?